Electric Band-Aids For Speedy Recovery

Electric Band-Aids

Omni, Unknown date (1983-1986 range, probably)

Electricity speeds up the rate at which broken bones knit. But what would

happen if you electrified a skin wound? That’s the question biochemist Oscar

M. Alvarez and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School asked

themselves recently. The answer: a 30 percent reduction in healing time.

The new procedure involves dipping a nylon cloth in silver, which acts as an

electrical conductant. The cloth is then connected to a battery, energized

with a tiny electric current, and placed on the wound.

The Pittsburgh group treated minor surface abrasions on the skin of several

domestic pigs, and the results whoed that the electrified wounds healed in an

average of 2.9 days. This compared with 4.1 days for wounds treated with the

silver cloth but without electricity, and 4.6 days for those wounds left open

to the air.

According to Alvarez, tests indicate that both silver AND the electricity are

responsible for the rapid healing. “It is fairly apparent,” he explains, “that

the electrical-silver complex stimulates cells from surrounding tissue to

aggregate at the wound site, increasing protein production and enhancing the

healing process.”

Manufactured by the Sybron Corporation, the silver-coated bandage has recently

been classified as a drug (of course.. has as much to do with drugs as, say,

vitamins..). Approval by the Food and Drug Administration should follow on the

heels of human tests, now being conducted by Dr. James Albright, chief of

orthopedic surgery for the St. Louis Medical Center, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

If all goes well, you’ll find the bandages on your pharmacy shelf in a few

years. (Damn, I can’t find them, and its been a few years…) -Rick Boling