Sometimes wounds don’t heal – a particular risk for people with diabetes – risking infection, scarring, and protracted pain.
Physicians have been using electric currents to speed the knitting of broken bones and the closing of wounds, but the required gear has been bulky and sometimes forced patients to be hospitalized to use it.
But now a collaboration of scientists from China and Wisconsin have created a self-powering bandage that can achieve the same results unobtrusively.
The team stacked sheets of Teflon, copper, and a thermal plastic to make a tiny generator that converts movements of the skin into a weak electric current. The bandage also contains two little electrodes; one is placed on either side of the wound so the current flows through the injury. The current accelerates the production of skin and other cells that close the wound.
In a test on rats, the bandages closed injuries within three days, compared to 12 days needed to achieve the same results on rats with unelectrified bandages.
The use of various forms of energy, including electricity, light, and sound as healers is just now beginning to be explored in earnest by medical researchers. Over the next few years, expect to see significant scientific advances that accelerate this high-tech self-healing trend.