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Shocking Damaged Tissue

July 15, 2016

Sonic waves could accelerate healing of damaged muscle tissue.



Healing sound waves. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You’d think the last thing you’d want to do to damaged muscle tissue is shock it with focused sound waves. But University of Salzburg researcher Angela Zissler reports at a meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology that Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT, acts like an alarm clock, gently shaking the damaged tissue. In her laboratory rats, that triggered production of a chemical signal that stimulated dormant stem cells.

ANGELA ZISSLER (University of Salzburg, Austria):

These progenitor cells in the muscle proliferate and differentiate into new muscle cells more rapidly than without shockwave therapy.


Zissler says that ESWT is a milder form of the acoustic treatment that’s routinely used to break up kidney stones. But it will require further testing to see if it’s safe and effective for treatment of muscle damage in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon