Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I've Got the Healing Touch

I recently read an article in May edition of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin.   The article, titled "Cotton candy that heals?", discussed a new advancement with many life saving implication.  Patients that are elderly or diabetic often have long recover times when healing from cuts in the lower body.  As long as these wounds are open the chance of infection is always present.  However a new ceramic material called borate glass nanofibers is simultaneously disinfecting and speeding up the healing rate.

Borate glass nanofibers look and feel like cotton candy.  Developed in 2010 by Steve Jung and Ted Day at Mo-Sci Corp. borate glass nanofiber have a similar structure to blood clot that form naturally in the body.  When blood clots form in the body they release a signal to the body to begin the healing process.  The nanofibers give the body a dynamic support system to grow and mimic the effect of blood clots to jump start the healing process.

The nanofibers have been shown to stop infection.  In the body lithium borate glass releases lithium alkali into the area of the cut.  Lithium then kills harmful bacteria like e. coli, salmonella and staph.  The release is of lithium is caused by the glass reacting to body fluids.

Borate glass nanofibers have many more advantages over traditional bandages.  Bandages do nothing to help regenerate tissue.  They are only meant to stop blood loss.  To this end they often have to replace daily so the wound can be cleaned to stop infection.  This constant redressing has been show to damage the fibrous and delicate healing operation.  Borate glass can go as long a week without changing.

In the clinical studies done 8 out of the 12 participants wounds healed with minimal scaring.  The wounds were shown to close at rates between 0.3mm to 0.8mm per day.  Wound don't normally close that fast unless put into a VAC system.  This is device a patient must carry with them at all times and cost $1000 to operate a week.

For a more information check out this link.  In it the inventors discuss in more detail boron glass nanofibers and the nurse who worked the clinical trials discusses what she saw.