Smart Bandages Monitor Wounds Deliver Drug Treatments

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first_img An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But so could this smart bandage, developed by engineers at Tufts University.The prototype is designed to remotely monitor chronic wounds and deliver drug treatments.Still in its early stages, the research—published in the journal Small—describes the importance of flexible electronics in the team’s effort to transform bandaging from a passive to active treatment to “address a persistent and difficult medical challenge,” according to a Tufts press release.Chronic skin wounds caused by burns, diabetes, and other conditions can restrict natural regeneration, often leading to infection or amputation.Nearly 15 percent of Medicare beneficiaries require treatment for at least one type of chronic wound or infection, the University reported, citing research published in Value in Health. Add that up, and taxpayers are footing an estimated $28 billion annual bill.These new lab-tested bandages—which deliver treatments in response to embedded sensors—are ideal for patients with limited mobility.(via Tufts University)“We’ve been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics,” co-study author Sameer Sonkusale, a professor at Tufts University’s School of Engineering, said in a statement.“In fact, flexible electronics have made many wearable medical devices possible, but bandages have changed little since the beginnings of medicine,” he continued. “We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in the hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem.”This isn’t exactly the first attempt at a so-called “smart bandage”: Scientists have been tinkering with the technology for nearly a decade, testing color-changing plasters, 3D-printed dressings, fish-skin covering, and a bandage that rips bacteria right out of your wound, like one of those nose strips.In 2015, researchers at the University of Bath created a Band-Aid that uses gel-like material to help detect infection; last year, Swansea University’s Institute of Life Sciences designed a 5G-powered compress that detects how a wound is healing—and communicates with doctors.Tufts University’s smart bandage was created with pH and temperature sensors and antibiotic drug delivery.“[It’s] really a prototype for a wide range of possibilities,” Sonkusale said. “One can imagine embedding other sensing components, drugs, and growth factors that treat different conditions in response to different healing markers.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Bioinspired Bandage Reacts to Body Heat, Accelerates HealingLight-Sensitive Adhesive Tech Could Revolutionize Band-Aids Stay on targetlast_img

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