Documentary Illuminates Biofilm’s Role in Creating Persistent Disease for Millions of Americans

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Patients suffering with chronic bacterial conditions benefit from new insights and treatment options presented in “Why Am I Still Sick?” film

Richard Longland is the founder of the Arthroplasty Patient Foundation

What do hospital infections, sinusitis, periodontal disease, middle ear infections, tonsillitis, COPD, diabetic foot wounds, osteomyelitis and cystic fibrosis have in common?

What do hospital infections, sinusitis, periodontal disease, middle ear infections, tonsillitis, COPD, diabetic foot wounds, osteomyelitis and cystic fibrosis have in common? The answer is deceptively simple: the persistence of these chronic conditions originates from slimy bacterial biofilms that encase bacteria of all types, protect them from the immune system and resist antibiotic treatment.

While the existence of bacterial biofilm was first documented in 1683 and rediscovered in the late 1970s, molecular diagnostics have demonstrated the omnipresence of biofilms in medical conditions affecting more than 17,000,000 people annually. The documentary in production, Why Am I Still Sick, identifies the multifaceted roles of biofilms in causing persistent disease and offers startling revelations through interviews with medical experts and patients:

  •     How bacterial biofilms form sequestered communities within all parts of the human body;
  • The way in which biofilms help microbes “talk” among themselves, with other species, and exchange genetic programs specific to antibiotic resistance;
  • The startling numbers of patients ping-ponged within a medical system of outdated diagnostics;
  • Critical linkages between oral hygiene and systemic health.

While the film produced by The Arthroplasty Patient Foundation paints a grim picture of the diagnostics infrastructure within the American medical system, it presents a number of available solutions for patients suffering with biofilm infections, especially in the dental, wound and ENT areas.

“Patients who have chronic recurrent sinusitis that have failed medical and surgical treatment are known to have the sinusitis caused by biofilms, which makes them resistant to standard treatment, stated Merrill Biel, M.D., PhD of otolaryngology at Ear, Nose & Throat SpecialtyCare of Minnesota. “In the past ten years we have made considerable progress in our laboratory successfully treating chronic sinusitis biofilm and we are presently bringing that new and exciting therapy to clinical practice.”

The foundation’s companion site biofilmcommunity.org hosts high definition video interviews with biofilm researchers and physicians. Wound treatment expert Dr. Randy Wolcott explains how “chronic wounds are the window into all other biofilm diseases” and that “eight to ten million people have chronic wounds at any given time.” Other interviewees for the film draw connections between wounds and dental diseases.

“Cavities and gum disease are both biofilm-related conditions that can be controlled or eliminated with the proper understanding of how oral bacteria affect overall health. We design dental benefit plans to take advantage of the most current knowledge on prevention, a program that we call “Preventistry,” stated Doyle Williams, D.D.S. and Chief Dental Officer at DentaQuest in Boston.

The film’s producer, Richard Longland, has published portions of interview footage with experts to help the public grasp the scale and complexity of biofilm-related diseases. The film is scheduled to be released later in 2011 on DVD and video-on demand services.

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Richard Longland
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