Geek Trivia: In 2004 The FDA Approved What Ancient Medical Technique? | Dramel Notes

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Answer: Maggot Therapy

It’s not a particularly appetizing thing to think about, but for thousands of years doctors have been aware of the medical value of applying fly larva, or maggots, to wounds in order to help clean and heal them. The first documented active use of maggots as a medical tool (as opposed to natural introduction of maggots that were observed to help the patient) comes to us courtesy of Dr. J.F. Zacharias, a Confederate medical officer in the American Civil War, who wrote:

Maggots … in a single day would clean a wound much better than any agents we had at our command … I am sure I saved many lives by their use.

Despite the evidence compiled over the centuries that certain kinds of fly maggots would aggressively eat up any necrotic tissue in open wounds and protect the body from the harmful effects of the decomposing flesh, maggot therapy, like all medical procedures, devices, and medicines, had to pass muster with the FDA before getting an official stamp of approval.

In 2004 the FDA did just that, and after reviewing sufficient studies and evidence it approved the use of maggot therapy for use in treatment of non-healing necrotic skin and soft tissue wounds, non-healing traumatic and post-surgical wounds, and for the treatment of several kinds of skin ulcers including pressure ulcers and neuropathic foot ulcers.


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