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Revolutionary biodegradable pellet targets glue ear infection

Ear examination of children

Ear examination of children

A revolutionary biodegradable pellet which slowly releases antibiotics into the middle ear could transform the lives of thousands of children who suffer from glue ear.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham, including Professor Kevin Shakesheff, have developed the tiny controlled-release antibiotic pellet which can be implanted in the middle ear during surgery to fit grommets, or small ventilation tubes. Over a period of three weeks it will release effective quantities of antibiotics to target any infection which can, in up to 20 per cent of cases, result in children having to return for a second and sometimes a third operation.

The team has been led by John Birchall, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology, and Roger Bayston, Associate Professor of Surgical Infection, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Professor Birchall said: “Glue ear is one of the commonest complaints that we see in children in the ENT clinic. The condition causes hearing loss, problems with speech or schooling, and often it is accompanied by repeated ear infections. We are particularly concerned about children that have glue ear that comes back despite grommet surgery — with risks of permanent damage to the ear drum or the middle ear. This exciting new research to try to reduce the need for repeated grommet insertion involves ENT surgeons, microbiologists and pharmacists. Having such a multidisciplinary team on board means that we can take advantage of all the expertise available to help these children.”

For the full story, follow this link to the main university news item.

Posted on Thursday 21st July 2011

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