Inspired by the comic book character Wolverine, scientists created a new material that can heal on its own in under 24 hours.
While some people might think comic books are a fun distraction, they’ve made a difference in the real world. Case in point: Several noteworthy characters have inspired exciting new developments in the wound care industry. In spring 2016, a team of scientists from the UK used the web-shooter of the iconic Spider-Man as the basis for a gun that can create customizable dressings.
Now, a group of researchers from the University of California, Riverside have found similar inspiration in Wolverine, a mutant hero with claws and powers of regeneration. It’s the latter ability that most interested the team, and as they detail in a new study in the journal Advanced Materials, they’ve created a self-healing material that has multiple purposes.
The material in question is described as an ionic conductor, and is effectively a series of microscopic robots that work in unison. In order to create the material, the UCR team looked not only to Wolverine but also how wounds heal in mammal models. To actually get a material that can heal on its own, the researchers had to make use of what’s called the ion-dipole force. According to Boundless, this phenomenon is an attraction between ions and molecules with two magnetized poles. Even when pulled apart, the ion and molecule are eventually drawn back together.
So just how effective is the material, which is similar in consistency to rubber? It can be stretched up to 50 times without losing its durability. When it’s finally cut or torn, the material will heal in just under 24 hours, and it can be stretched again right after it’s finished healing. It’s worth noting that the material works best at room temperature, and the impact of cold has yet to be fully established.
In an accompanying press release, co-author Chao Wang explained the material had been puzzling the UCR team for several years, as they experienced issues with finding a way to let the material heal on its own. Similar self-healing polymers, for instance, use non-covalent bonds, and these can be affected by electrochemical reactions.
This Wolverine material, however, doesn’t suffer from such laminations, and that will allow it to be used for several functions. While that exact list is still being determined – though use in extending lithium-ion batteries was mentioned – the sky could very well be the limit for this astounding new material.
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Untreated chronic wounds can limit mobility and lower quality of life.
Lower extremity ulcers affect many adults with poor circulation. While they’re fairly common, the healing process can be difficult. Even once they’re healed, they have a high recurrence rate. They take a lot of care and frequently become infected and grow, causing pain and limiting mobility. Leg ulcers rarely heal on their own, so ongoing medical treatment from a clinician might be required. Despite the complications so often associated with chronic wound healing, quality of life doesn’t have to be affected.
It’s important not to isolate yourself when dealing with a chronic wound.
Having a wound can be an emotional ordeal, especially if it’s a chronic condition. Wound healing can be slow and painful, hindering movement and making it difficult to enjoy things that you once loved to do. Many surgical wounds are painful products of a battle that you’ve fought against an illness. Depression is common in people suffering from wounds. Though this condition is far from rare, it’s important to take care of yourself while suffering from wounds and depression, as it can hinder wound healing.
Failing to engage in proper wound care can lead to chronic wounds.
A chronic wound is one that has failed to heal within the expected time frame for a wound of its type. This could mean a smaller wound that hasn’t healed after a couple of weeks or a more serious one that is not healing after several months. There are many reasons a wound might become a chronic wound, and many types of chronic wounds as well. These require specialized wound care, and you will need to work closely with your provider to address a chronic wound if you find yourself living with one. Let’s have a look at the specifics.
Chronic open wounds can benefit the most from innovative technology like antimicrobial dressings.
The management of wound care and the wound healing process is a science and an art that is constantly evolving. An ever-growing population in need calls for new scientific innovations in dressings, topicals, devices, and procedures to help better manage a variety of wound care issues. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, often experience painful and long-lasting wounds that are difficult to heal, creating open wounds that need healing the most. To combat factors that impede the healing process, recent research has produced promising examples of advanced technology used for chronic wounds.