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
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