Over 6.7 million people in the U.S. have chronic wounds that are slow to heal or continually inflamed. These wounds require specialized treatment, costing approximately $25 billion a year.
A new device might help heal chronic wounds faster by continuously monitoring the wound’s status and dispensing treatment automatically. Reported in the journal Science Advances, the new device is a stretchable bandage imbued with sensors that can detect changes to the skin temperature and pH and automatically dispense medications in response. The device also includes electrodes to gently electrically stimulate the wound in order to promote tissue regeneration.
“If we apply sensors to the area to do analyses in real time about the state of the wound, that can be very helpful to personalize the treatment,” says Wei Gao, an assistant professor of medical engineering at the California Institute of Technology.
The device acts as a bandage, keeping the wound protected and moist, but integrates several layers of sensors and electronics to make the device both protective and “smart.” The first component consists of a sensor array on a thermoplastic elastomer substrate. These sensors can provide continuous measurements of glucose, lactate, ammonium, and uric acid, all indicators of inflammation and bacterial activity that might indicate infection, as well as pH and temperature....
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