The Shock Bandage
Engineers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison have developed a new low-cost wound dressing that could speed up the healing of a wound dramatically.
This new dressing is made up of small electrodes that are linked to a band holding energy-harvesting units dubbed nanogenerators, which are looped around the user’s torso. The movement of the user’s ribcage while breathing powers these nanogenerators, which deliver low-intensity electric pulses.
With this dressing, the researchers determined that the low-power pulses boosted viability for a certain type of skin cell called fibroblasts, and its exposure to the nanogenerator’s pulses encouraged this type of cell to line up and produce more biochemical substances that promote tissue growth. Also, the materials used in creating this dressing is relatively common, making it very simple and convenient to fabricate.
“The impressive results in this study represent an exciting new spin on electrical stimulation for many different wound types, given the simplicity of the design,” says Angela Gibson, professor of surgery at UW–Madison and a burn surgeon and director of wound healing services at UW Health. The bandage itself is still a work in progress, but if the team is successful, this could help solve a major problem in modern medicine.
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