Thursday, July 24, 2008

Licking your Wounds

(George the 4th)

Some people are repulsed by blood. Others, like me, lick their wounds instinctively.

Now Dutch researchers have come to the conclusion that there's a protein in human saliva that can help heal wounds faster.

Rat spit contains growth hormones that sparks skin cell growth around wounds in rodents. So licking definitely works for rats.

But people don't have enough of those growth hormones to work on their wounds.

The Dutch scientists found instead that a different protein, "histatin," has a similar effect on human skin cells. It was known as a mild antibiotic (antifungal) before.

They're conducting further tests, but the great question of "To Lick or Not To Lick" is probably going to go unanswered for the time being...


As my hero Cecil B. Adams points out, there's the significant problem of possibly infecting the wound with bacteria from the mouth.

Here's the actual abstract, with big words, from the "FASEB Journal" where it was published this week.

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