Biofilm: An aggregate of microbes with a distinct architecture. A biofilm is like a tiny city in which microbial cells, each only a micrometer or two long, form towers that can be hundreds of micrometers high. The “streets” between the towers are really fluid-filled channels that bring in nutrients, oxygen and other necessities for live biofilm communities.
Biofilms form on the surface of catheter lines and contact lenses. They grow on pacemakers, heart valve replacements, artificial joints and other surgical implants. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimate that over 65% of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections are caused by biofilms.
Bacteria growing in a biofilm are highly resistant to antibiotics, up to 1,000 times more resistant than the same bacteria not growing in a biofilm. Standard antibiotic therapy is often useless and the only recourse may be to remove the contaminated implant.
Fungal biofilms also frequently contaminate medical devices. They cause chronic vaginal infections and lead to life-threatening systemic infections in people with hobbled immune systems.
Biofilms are involved in numerous diseases. For instance, cystic fibrosis patients have Pseudomonas infections that often result in antibiotic resistant biofilms.
Biofluid: A biological fluid. Biofluids can be excreted (such as urine or sweat), secreted (such as breast milk or bile), obtained with a needle (such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid), or develop as a result of a pathological process (such as (such as blister or cyst fluid). The term biofluid is employed as both a […]
- Bioidentical hormone therapy
Bioidentical hormone therapy: Treatment with hormone medications that contain hormones that have the same chemical formula as those made naturally in the body, referred to by many as “bioidentical” hormones. Bioidentical hormones are created in a laboratory by altering compounds derived from naturally-occurring plant products and are typically taken in the form of creams or […]
Bioinformatics: The sum of the computational approaches to analyze, manage, and store biological data. Bioinformatics involves the analysis of biological information using computers and statistical techniques, the science of developing and utilizing computer databases and algorithms to accelerate and enhance biological research. Bioinformatics is used in analyzing genomes, proteomes (protein sequences), three-dimensional modeling of biomolecules […]
- Biologic evolution
Biologic evolution: Biologic evolution was contrasted with cultural (social) evolution in 1968 by A.G. Motulsky who pointed out that biologic evolution is mediated by genes, shows a slow rate of change, employs random variation (mutations) and selection as agents of change, new variants are often harmful, these new variants are transmitted from parents to offspring, […]
- Biological response modifiers
Biological response modifiers: Substances that stimulate the body’s response to infection and disease. The body naturally produces small amounts of these substances. Scientists can produce some of them in the laboratory in large amounts for use in treating cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases. BMRs used in biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, interferon, interleukin-2 (IL-2), […]