A lot of laboratories and university researchers around the world have started to study our wounds and sores to incorporate technology into our band-aids.
Indeed, the mismanagement of a wound, whether minor or more serious, has become a major issue. Tens of millions of people around the world have to suffer the sometimes serious consequences of a poorly treated wound due to a lack of adequate follow-up. Their consequences are unimaginable, such as amputation or septic shock that can lead to death. Chronic wounds affect 25 million people a year in the United States and 2 million in France.
The specifications were quite simple: how to monitor the healing process by being warned of its evolution and how to release the treatment at the right time.
The development framework for this technology was favourable, in connection with technological changes essentially linked to the miniaturisation of sensors as well as in connection with Big Data and artificial intelligence.
A French company, SPINALI DESIGN, a specialist in Textile Data associated with Inserm in Strasbourg, has created a connected bandage that should be quickly put on the market.
This dressing contains an agent that will emit a tiny light signal only in the presence of pathogenic bacteria. A sensor will detect this signal and transmit it to the patient or medical staff via a smartphone application. Once this initial infection is detected, the dressing will release an antimicrobial agent anchored to the textile.
For the time being the development of the dressing is focused on a limited number of pathogens, and will be generalized to other strains in subsequent studies.
Another project that has taken a different path has seen the light of day in the Grenoble-based start-up company Grapheal – Advanced Wound Care. It, too, seeks to treat wounds using new-generation dressings.
In addition to containing bio-sensors capable of sending information about the healing process to an application, the researchers based themselves on the properties of graphene, and thus developed a new, intelligent material that has been validated as non-toxic. Integrated into dressings, it accelerates the healing of a chronic wound by electrostimulation.
In the United States, Tuft University in Massachusetts has presented its prototype of a connected dressing capable of delivering regular treatment.
It was high time for researchers to take an interest in dressings as they have changed little since the beginning of medicine and will find many applications in the daily lives of healthcare workers.
We are at the beginning of major changes in medicine, driven by the ongoing digital revolution.
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