Scientists have been able to develop bandages that can heal wounds up to five times faster than conventional dressings.
A revolutionary product. US and Chinese researchers have succeeded in developing self-powered electric bandages that can heal wounds up to five times faster than conventional dressings, according to a study published in the journal ACS Nano.
The device was developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and tested on mice. It consists of several small electrodes that transmit electricity in contact with the skin. The latter are powered by a nano-generator to be placed around the torso to convert the respiratory movements of the ribcage into low intensity electricity. This is then diffused at the level of the wound.
"The nature of these electrical impulses is similar to how the body generates an internal electric field," note the researchers, according to which these weak electrical impulses would in no way harm the body's healthy tissues, contrary to stronger impulses. pressure.
"Even more effective than we were looking for"
In detail, electricity would activate skin fibroblasts, cells involved in skin elasticity and regeneration. These would have the ability to align more quickly, which would promote healing of the skin. Result of the races: thanks to this super dressing, the mice healed in three days against two weeks in normal time.
"We were surprised how fast healing was," says Xudong Wang, professor of engineering at UW-Madison. "We knew our bandages would work but it was even more effective than we expected," he says.
"The impressive results of this study represent an exciting discovery in terms of electrical stimulation for various types of wounds because of the simplicity of the design of the device," adds Angela Gibson, Professor of Surgery at UW-Madison who participated in the project .
A simple and inexpensive product to manufacture
"We believe that our device could be the most effective electrical stimulation approach in many therapies - I do not think it costs more than a conventional dressing - the device itself is very simple and convenient to make. "Wang said he now wants to test pigs before trying his product on humans.
In their next tests, scientists will try to discover the mechanical process that makes low electrical frequencies help healing. If their research proves successful, the product should be available in hospitals within a few years.
If this is the first time that electronic bandages are as ready to market, scientists have known for a long time that electricity helps to speed up wound healing. In 2015, researchers from the University of Manchester (UK) had already tested this technique on patients. According to their study published in the journal Plos Onethe wounds of participants who had been treated with electric currents had decreased much more than those who had been allowed to heal naturally.