Researchers at Harvard and McGill universities have now created a mechanotherapy bandage that actually works to close the wound, keeps it protected from microbes, and speeds up healing much faster that existing products. The researchers have dubbed their approach as “active adhesive dressings” (AADs), and they believe that soon these may be coming to a pharmacy near you.
The new bandages are possible thanks to heat-responsive hydrogels that are strong and, when heated, contract and pull anything they’re attached to. Since they’re also adhesive by nature, they stick extremely well to the skin. The amount of force the material applies to the skin can be programmed during the manufacture of the material by tinkering with the concentrations of its components, allowing it to be used in a variety of clinical applications beyond simple cuts and scrapes.
The researchers used PNIPAm, a heat-responsive polymer that starts to contract at around 90° Fahrenheit (32° C). It is water repellent and because silver nanoparticles are mixed into it during production, it also keeps the microbes away.
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