Did you know that researchers have demonstrated that bandages infused with electricity can help heal wounds faster than typical bandages or antibiotics! “Electroceutical bandages have been used to treat wounds since at least 2013. A study by a team at The Ohio State University is offering new clues about the science behind those bandages, and researchers say the findings could help lead to better wound treatment.
The bandages belong to a class of therapies called electroceuticals, which are devices that use electrical impulses to treat medical issues such as wounds.
The study, published online recently in the journal Scientific Reports by a research team at The Ohio State University, is the first of its kind to look at the ways electroceutical bandages kill bacteria around a wound, allowing wounds to heal faster. “The goal is to heal nonhealing or chronic wounds, and, if infection is present, to remove infection,” said Shaurya Prakash, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and co- author of the study. “And what we wanted to understand was the mechanism behind why these electroceutical treatments work to kill bacteria.”
Biofilms are small communities of microorganisms — including bacteria — that can live on the surface of the skin or a wound. The communities are held together by something called extracellular polymeric substances — EPS for short. The substances are generally made up of fats and proteins, and can create a protective barrier that keeps bacteria safe from traditional clinical treatment options, including antibiotics. That means that even with traditional antibiotic treatments, some skin infections can linger and prevent wounds from healing. Electroceutical bandages made of the right materials can break through that barrier, Ohio State’s research shows, destroying bacteria and allowing wounds to heal faster. The team developed a new model to study soft-tissue infections to learn more about how the bandages work.
The Ohio State study used haboti silk, a common Japanese weave, in the bandages. They silk-screened silver lines onto the silk, and attached a small device to deliver electricity to the biofilm. When they applied the electrified bandage to bacteria-laden biofilm in the lab, the bacteria were destroyed. The research team used electron microscopes to monitor the bacteria.
They saw that the electric current disrupted the biofilm enough to begin destroying bacteria. They also saw that bacteria continued to die off two days after the electric current was turned off. Their theory, based on these experiments, is that the bandage and electric current produce a potent antimicrobial chemical — hypochlorous acid — that takes over and kills bacteria without harming the healthy skin nearby.
You can read more about the study published here:
Source: Ohio State University. “Electrifying wound care: Better bandages to destroy bacteria: New study offers fundamental clues about electroceutical wound care.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190306110645.htm>.