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article imageElectric bandages help to fight infection

By Tim Sandle     Nov 12, 2017 in Science
Medical technologists have created electric bandages that have a mechanism that helps to fight infection. These bandages have recently been put to a practical test and they have successfully challenged biofilms.
The development comes from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Central to the technology is the generation of weak electric fields that can disrupt bacterial biofilm infections. Biofilms are communities of bacteria that have an added protection in the form of a ‘slime like’ layer. The slime also aids the adhesion of the microbial structure to a surface.
The researchers have shown how the generation of the electric field can help to stop infections from forming at the site of a burn wound and also help to combat the development of antimicrobial resistance.
The bandage works when bodily fluids are produced (such as a weep from a wound). This contact with liquid triggers the dressing to become electrically active; something which happens without the need for any exernal power source. The bandage is under the working name “wireless electroceutical dressing.”
To demonstrate effectiveness the researchers applied the bandage within two hours of wound infection, using pigs. This was to test the capability of the dressing to prevent biofilm formation. Further studies use the dressing on wounds after seven days of infection to see if this disrupted established biofilms. The results, verified by scanning electron microscopes, showed significant reductions in the bacterial communities.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Chandan Sen, who led the research, said: “Drug resistance in bacteria is a major threat, and antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections are estimated to account for at least seventy-five percent of bacterial infections in the United States.”
The researcher adds: “This is the first pre-clinical long-term porcine study to recognize the potential of ‘electroceuticals’ as an effective platform technology to combat wound biofilm infection.”
The next stage will be to test out the properties of the bandage using human subjects. The research findings have been published in the journal Annals of Surgery. The research paper is titled “Electric Field Based Dressing Disrupts Mixed-Species Bacterial Biofilm Infection and Restores Functional Wound Healing.”
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