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Electric Healing

September 25, 2006

Amping up the body’s natural electricity may help wounds heal faster.


Charging up the healing process. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A little electricity may dramatically speed up the healing of skin wounds. This according to work led by Min Zhao and Colin McCaig of the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine in Scotland. McCaig says it’s long been known that wounds naturally generate weak electric currents, and that our cells sense and follow these currents to rebuild. In lab and animal studies, his team found that enhancing these electric fields made wounds heal up to 50 percent faster. In the future, he says doctors could achieve this with topical drugs.

COLIN McCAIG (Aberdeen University, Scotland):
So you could imagine using them in an ointment or in solutions, or whatever, just as a dressing to wounds.

Another strategy would be to apply electricity directly, perhaps with a specialized bandage that generates its own electric field. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.