Health Beat

Health Beat: Electrical bandage zaps wounds

MADISON, Wis. - We have electric cars and razors, and now, an electric bandage? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed an electrode-dressed bandage to help the body heal itself. Electrical currents are created when the body moves.

"We use that body-generated electricity to help the wound recovery," said Xudong Wang, and engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

"So you just apply some pressure to the device and it could generate electricity," explained Jun Li, an engineering student.

Those pulses of electricity stimulate cell regeneration and speed up the healing process at the wounded area. When the device was tested on rats, Wang was shocked with the results.

"Usually, this wound will recover in two weeks, and our device helped the wounded recover in three days with minimal formation of scars," Wang said.

The idea to use electricity to heal wounds is not exactly new. There are large devices that treat patients with chronic wounds, but patients can only get them at the hospital. Wang believes his technology can have big implications.

"We can make it a treatment, a daily normal treatment just like using a bandage from the grocery store, so people can handle that all by themselves," Wang explained.

The researcher's next step is to test the device on larger animals, like pigs and then human skin. Right now, the device can only treat acute, fresh wounds, but Wang is looking to work on hard-to-treat wounds, such as chronic wounds and burn wounds.

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