Smart Plaster – Researchers Have Created Smart Plaster That Tracks The Status Of Infections In Wounds

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The University of Rhode Island in the United States has developed a bandage [plaster] that can identify infections.

The device will primarily be used for diagnostic purposes, with the hope that by detecting infections early on, less antibiotics will be needed and drastic measures, like limb amputation, will not be necessary.

According to the researchers, they think people with diabetes, where treating chronic wounds is common practice, will find the plaster to be especially helpful.

The plaster, which has nanosensors built into the bandage fibres, is intended to be a continuous, non-invasive method of identifying and keeping track of an infection developing inside a wound.

The study, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, states that the new ‘smart bandage’ detects and might even prevent wound infections.

It states that rather than making haphazard attempts to stop the spread of infections in wounds, bandages [plasters] embedded with carbon nanotubes can inform incoming medical professionals about the condition of their patient-to-be, saving crucial time in treatment before conventional medical care begins.

According to one of the three study authors, Assistant Professor Daniel Roxbury of the University of Rhode Island, “Single-walled carbon nanotubes within the bandage will be able to identify an infection in the wound by detecting concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

Up until this point, immobilizing nanotubes in a biocompatible manner so they retain their sensitivity to their surrounding environment has been a challenge for using them in applications like these, Roxbury added.

Both of these tasks are carried out by the microfibers that enclose the carbon nanotubes, according to Roxbury, who also assured that the nanotubes don’t leach from the material but continue to be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide inside the wounds.

A wearable miniature device that is included with the smart plaster will monitor it and wirelessly (via an optical link) detect signals from the carbon nanotubes embedded in the bandage.

According to the study, this signal can then be transmitted to a device resembling a smartphone that can automatically alert patients or healthcare professionals.

Roxbury states that the device will only be used for diagnostic purposes, but adds that it is hoped that detecting infections at an early stage, it will reduce the need for antibiotics and avert drastic measures like limb amputation.

According to him, people with diabetes frequently need to manage chronic wounds, which could be especially helpful.

The researchers say that tests on the smart plasters will be conducted in the coming months.

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