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Air Force Treating Wounds With Lasers and Nanotech

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-not-cut-the-shark dept.

Biotech 92

An anonymous reader passes along a piece up on Wired's Danger Room about advanced medical tech that's being used in the military, but is not available generally due to the lack of FDA approval. "Forget stitches and old-school sutures. The Air Force is funding scientists who are using nanotechnology and lasers to seal up wounds at a molecular level. It might sound like Star Trek tech, but it's actually the latest in a series of ambitious Pentagon efforts to create faster, more effective methods of treating war-zone injuries. ... Instead of being sealed up with a needle and thread, a patient's wound would be coated in a dye, then exposed to green light for 2-3 minutes. The dye absorbs the light and catalyzes molecular bonds between the tissue's collagen. The bonds instantly create a seal that's watertight, which prevents inflammation or risk of infection, and speeds up the formation of scar tissue."

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92 comments

Good that we have no all robotic warfare already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127132)

... otherwise DARPA would just be interested in fixing pneumatic tubes and cables.

Re:Good that we have no all robotic warfare alread (2, Informative)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127172)

It is possible that they can use this system to repair underwater wires that transmit internet data. I mean, don't just stand there, Satelites aren't the only way internet is moved overseas.

Re:Good that we have no all robotic warfare alread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127522)

It is possible that they can use this system to repair underwater wires that transmit internet data. I mean, don't just stand there, Satelites aren't the only way internet is moved overseas.

That would be underseas.

Re:Good that we have no all robotic warfare alread (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127744)

It is possible that they can use this system to repair underwater wires that transmit internet data.

Wait, what!?

The systems referenced in this article promote the clotting of blood and creation of scar tissue to speed the natural healing process of a body. Last time I checked, those are mechanisms that aren't present in undersea cables.

Re:Good that we have no all robotic warfare alread (1)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32129378)

dude dude dude dude dude DUDE!

They could use it to FIX THE OIL SPILL!

quick somebody get me the president on the phone!

Re:Good that we have no all robotic warfare alread (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133136)

He's in shell 2 core, unreachable by radio waves. Use the nikita to take out the electric control panel.

intro disclaimer: "This is a work of fiction - any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental".
PURELY COINCIDENTAL!

QuikClot (4, Informative)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127136)

Sounds like a fancy-scmancy version of Quikclot, the powder you can pour on a wound to form an instant clot.

Not only is it widely used, you can buy it for your own first aid kit from Amazon and others.

Re:QuikClot (4, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127226)

this sounds better than quick-clot (which is probably still the first-step treatment) in that it cauterizes and dis-infects. Qick-clot isn't a "permanent" treatment, and it doesn't replace stitches/staples/glue

Re:QuikClot (5, Informative)

talldean (1038514) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127404)

QuikClot works a bit differently; it's chitosan, or basically, it's ground up shellfish shells. The issue there was that using QuikClot on massive wounds occasionally causes blood clots travelling through the body; soldiers with gunshot wounds treated with it stopped bleeding, but died of internal clots hitting their brain or hearts. The one brand of QuikClot still sold apparently didn't have the same problem, or at least, not to a large degree. I carry one in my first aid kit.

Re:QuikClot (1)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130246)

QuickClot is great but typically not so hot for "civillian" purposes. I've been told that it burns like hell when applied...not to mention there are risks involved with using it.

It's great for military use because a soldier typically becomes wounded and incapacitated during combat. Spending precious time to stop the bleeding isn't an option when you have automatic gunfire streaming overhead and mortars falling around you.

When you receive an injury in a non-combat environment(camping, hiking, or hunting)you typically arent going to be under the same wartime pressures that require QuickClot. Provided you are conscious you will have the ability to render first aid on yourself in a much safer manner. If your cognizant enough to put on QuickCloth, you are cognizant enough to put on a bandage and apply pressure.

Re:QuikClot (1)

bhenson (1231744) | more than 3 years ago | (#32132324)

QuikClot is used as a last resort after a tourniquet and direct pressure. The medical team has to literary cut out the chemical. Because of the clots potentially getting in the blood stream is why its the last line of defense in a combat zone. Ref: AF Combat Lifesavers Training

Re:QuikClot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32132592)

Powdered quickclot is actually being phased out, in addition to migrating around the body, it also didn't work well with copious amounts of fluid (arterial bleeding much?), and if it was windy could get in your eyes. I don't know too much about the commercial sector, but in the Army it's been mostly replaced with combat gauze, which is impregnated with the clotting agent, and doesn't cause as much heat as other agents would. The cauterization usually did more harm than good, because the tissue around the wound site would get ruined in the process.

Re:QuikClot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127996)

We (UK) are actually phasing out quickclot and going for HemCon bandages in theatre.

Re:QuikClot (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130676)

Meh, I'd say it's similar generally, but significantly better.

All you do here is dope the wound with some pigment to enhance the excitation of collagen bonding in the wound itself; in a sense you're taking the mechanism of wound-healing, and simply speeding it up.

Quik-clot, a great tool by the way, adds EXTERNAL substance(s) that promote quick clotting. Sure in the former you're adding a pink dye, but the amount of external (ie possibly rejection-inducing and complication-causing) material is substantially less with the new method. That's a great thing, since the main problem is that risk.

Re:QuikClot (1)

Tenkawa (1807156) | more than 3 years ago | (#32137568)

I am in the Air Force, and trust me on this; you do *NOT* want QuikClot used on your person unless it is a life threating situation. It is a chemical burning agent that is being inserted into your skin, as well as the the issues of the clotting agent travling through your blood stream there is a significant threat of the patient slipping into shock. We are taught that the use of QuikClot is the last option to be used only if your other methods of stopping bloodflow did not work. To put that in perspective, you are only to use QuikClot only after you use the option that will require removial of the limb (should the injury be on a limb) once the person arrives at a treatment facility.

Re:QuikClot (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139128)

The consumer version is supposed to have less risk of clot and burn. I wonder if there's a reason why they issue you a more powerful/dangerous version.

What? (3, Interesting)

pantherace (165052) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127154)

Superglue is too fast now?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127316)

Superglue is too fast now?

Yeah, that's what I thought reading this. It's a light cured version of Dermabond [dermabond.com] which is basically medical grade superglue. I had surgery last year and they closed the outside with Dermabond and it was much nicer than having stitches. Also, the headline mentions lasers, but from what I can tell only a bright green light is required.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127682)

The problem with superglue/dermabond is that it is a bit toxic and is only really suitable for surface application. This new method looks like it is for internal use on deeper wounds.

Is this necessary? (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127162)

Like the article says, these techniques are for superficial wounds. Is that really something our military is having a problem with? I think the military should be a little more concerned with critical injuries than lacerations that can be closed with superglue. Maybe it's a bigger problem than I realize?

Re:Is this necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127218)

Shrapnel from explosions and other nasty things I'd imagine.

Re:Is this necessary? (2, Funny)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127274)

Maybe it's a bigger problem than I realize?

Yes, those soldiers that complain of superficial wounds are just pussies.

Re:Is this necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127314)

It's just a flesh wound!

Re:Is this necessary? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32128168)

Yeah, its just a flesh wound when they get their arms choped off because they had a small watch stuck in there skin.

Re:Is this necessary? (5, Insightful)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127352)

Superficial wounds in a shit environment will cause infection quickly, and remove soldiers from battle. Not to mention, this seems a little more elegant than glue. Glue works for some stuff...

Re:Is this necessary? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127576)

Given that explosives can toss thousands of fragments capable of causing modest surface lacerations a fair distance beyond the "instant death/horrible injury" radius, it probably isn't at all uncommon to have situations with a dozen or two casualties per explosion, some hundreds in the course of a bombardment, all with somewhere between "multiple" and "numerous" surface wounds. All of which need to be closed before they get infected, or start collecting sand and bugs, and so forth, but during which time the cream of the medical personnel, and their support staff, are busy trying to stabilize the seriously injured.

If you can, with the right technology, make it so that anybody who can handle a syringe full of glue, basic aseptic technique, and a flashlight can swiftly close superficial wounds, you can probably reduce the mean-time-to-treatment for the lightly to moderately wounded, reduce the number of gross, scar-tastic rushed suture jobs, and preserve the time and attention of the most skilled medics for the more serious injuries.

Assuming the light source can be shrunk and hardened(which given the impressive performance of modern solid state lighting and diode lasers is a definite possibility), you could probably get the whole system down to something that consists of a funny looking flashlight and some disposable tubes of glue, suitable for forward operating use by anybody who has had cursory training...

Re:Is this necessary? (5, Insightful)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 3 years ago | (#32129546)

Yup. Remember that an injured soldier typically takes three soldiers to remove him/her, whereas a dead soldier takes one. Injured soldiers are a real drain on tactical effectiveness, unless one accepts the premise that it is best to just let them die or "put them out of their misery" so the mission can continue with the least loss of effectiveness. I submit that that may be tactically effective, but (a) unacceptably brutal, and (b) strategically ineffective unless one can sustain a war of attrition.

Rapid treatment not only saves lives (and provides a soldier to live to fight another day), but helps minimize the "expense" of triage and evac.

Re:Is this necessary? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130074)

As someone who is about to go through pararescue apprentice training, I approve of your comment =)

That's why "assault rifles" are so puny. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133112)

Remember that an injured soldier typically takes three soldiers to remove him/her, whereas a dead soldier takes one. Injured soldiers are a real drain on tactical effectiveness, ...

This is one of the main reasons that military weapons are designed to wound rather than kill. (Another being that, once the war is over, it's nice to have patched up as many as possible of the enemy wounded and thus have fewer killed and fewer grieving families pushing for future unfriendly relations between the countries or running multi-generation vendettas.)

Many states ban the use of the civilian (i.e. semiautomatic) "plowshare" versions of military assault rifles for hunting because they're too puny (and they're typically on the lower end of what's allowed where they are legal). The idea is to shock and kill the prey animal quickly, to minimize both its suffering and the chance it will run away to die elsewhere (or possibly live on with painful and crippling injuries).

Re:That's why "assault rifles" are so puny. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133536)

This is one of the main reasons that military weapons are designed to wound rather than kill.

Wounding may be more likely due to the choice of smaller fmj rounds for assault rifles, but they were not designed specifically to be less than lethal. The vast majority of military weapons are clearly designed for killing not wounding, and weapons designed for such are prohibited by convention. A hollowpoint of the same caliber may be more likely to kill, but they are banned for every caliber because they cause severe wounds.

Assault rifles may use punier rounds than hunting weapons* because militaries figured out that you don't need high-caliber rounds to disable or kill an enemy soldier, what you need is to hit them. The needs of an assault rifle are very different than a hunting rifle. Rate of fire, clip size, and weight are the most important things in an infantry weapon, not stopping power of individual rounds. NATO settled on the 5.53 not because the 7.6mm was too big and more likely to kill someone, they settled on the smaller one because they found little to no loss in effectiveness from doing so.

The military happily uses vehicle-mounted .50 cal machine guns (or sniper rifles, which are an exception to the non-use of hollow points) against infantry when they can, plus plenty of other lethal weapons. :P

* I guess. The .22 is still popular for hunting, is it not?

Re:Is this necessary? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130300)

Yep. When I was a medic, the vast majority of wounds I treated were superficial. And, as you say, the demands of triage are such that in combat, soldiers with "superficial" wounds which are still painful and debilitating enough to take them off the line can wait a long time for treatment.

And when I was an infantryman, I learned that even when people aren't actively trying to kill you, just being in the field is enough to generate a constant low-level stream of injuries. Crawling around in rocks and brush is a hazardous activity in and of itself. Rarely is anyone hurt badly enough to threaten life or limb, but when you're under constant stress, sleeping far too little, living in dirt, eating irregularly -- i.e., pretty much a description of a grunt's life -- and add a bunch of lacerations and abrasions to the mix, there's a very good chance that yesterday's minor irritating cut will become tomorrow's massive infection. Actually, now that I think about it, living that way was pretty much why I decided to become a medic when I re-upped. ;)

Re:Is this necessary? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32169194)

Actually, now that I think about it, living that way was pretty much why I decided to become a medic when I re-upped. ;)

Why didn't you just leave the army?

Re:Is this necessary? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32142532)

Not to mention that with their superficial wounds safely closed they are pretty much immediately fit for full duty. Soldiers who have to keep stitches dry are not.

Re:Is this necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32130272)

Read the article again, or maybe for your first time. They are currently only using it for superficial wounds but want to begin testing on other wounds and during surgeries and the like.

Re:Is this necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32130960)

One step at a time.

Re:Is this necessary? (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#32131704)

Read your military history. Up until very, very recently, the vast majority of war deaths were due to infections and disease. During the Civil War, disease and infection caused something like 2/3 of the casualites. I believe it was the Vietnam War where, for the first time, battlefield injuries caused more deaths than disease, mostly due to 1) dedicated civil engineering and sanitation teams, and 2) rapid evacuation by helicopter.

So yes, "minor" wounds are something the military takes very seriously. When you've in the field, not had a bath for 10 days, in humid, hot conditions, wearing the same clothes, a blister can kill you.

Bad Summary (5, Interesting)

berzerke (319205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127168)

Before there are rants on the unapproved use of medical procedures on the troops, as suggested by the summary, read the article. It states they are only doing clinical trials, and mention the difficulty in getting FDA approval.

Re:Bad Summary (3, Insightful)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128592)

Also, the way this technique works might pose some long-term risks. The agent used, the dye Rose Bengal [wikipedia.org] , is activated by light to generate free radicals in surrounding molecules. The surrounding molecule radicals react with each other to crosslink and seal the wound shut. Generating collagen radicals that crosslink would be fine; it's the possibility of damaging DNA that would be trouble. Rose Bengal has been used as a diagnostic stain in human tissue for decades, and has a established record of safety, but it's worth proceding with caution here.

Re:Bad Summary (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32132452)

it's the possibility of damaging DNA that would be trouble

Risk/reward. What if there's a .00000001 chance of getting a melanoma from it? How does that stack up to post-surgical infection risk?

We're pretty good at DNA repair. Humans can take a 3 Rem exposure without much change in outcomes. Diet Coke contains mitochondrial DNA mutagens.

Given the choice at my local hospital, I'd take the chance and not have a big scar. My existing scar tissue has more problems than normal skin, so there are other risks down the line to consider as well.

Re:Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134968)

Well as soon as they use it to re-virginate loose women the demand will take off.

Frickin Lasers (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127186)

We're now one step closer to... Wait for it...

Shark troops! Heh heh heh.

Re:Frickin Lasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127414)

Not even that, we've gone from applying leaches to our wounds to sharks. What is this, medical amateur hour?

The future is awesome (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127302)

and I love living in it...now where is my anti-aging pill?

Re:The future is awesome (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127526)

now where is my anti-aging pill?

There is no anti-aging pill (except maybe more Vitamin D than you're probably getting).

There is, though, an aging pill. It's called a "donut."

Re:The future is awesome (3, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128604)

except maybe more Vitamin D than you're probably getting

Recently discovered this myself.

Had some lab work done not too long ago... Turns out I've got almost no Vitamin D in me. "trace amounts" is what the Doctor said. He was horrified and put me on some supplements pretty quickly. Told me to get outside in the sun, eat better, etc.

I had no idea just how many horrible things can happen when you're low on Vitamin D.

And, according to my doctor, just about everyone is deficient to one degree or another. And it's especially bad around here in the winter (less sunlight and people don't like to go out in the cold).

Amazing.

Re:The future is awesome (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133568)

Please stop spouting such nonsense. I know hundreds of people who eat nothing but "healthy" foods all year long, for every meal. We're talking green vegetables, fresh fruit, rice, and a wee bit of meat. They are 35 but look like 55 and they tend to die early. Why do they age so fast? Hard, physical labor. Go ahead and say it's good to get exercise, then do a mortality check of the villages where they live. Donut shops donut exist there.

How is this different than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32127478)

Cauterization?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauterization

Re:How is this different than (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127716)

How is this different than
Cauterization?


This doesn't require actually burning the tissue.

Re:How is this different than (5, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127984)

Cauterization uses the direct application of heat to seal wounds. The heat can be applied in a number of ways, including lasers, an electric current, or just a very hot piece of metal. This, however, is not a technique to destroy tissue but rather to glue it back together. The active principle is a light-sensitive dye called Rose Bengal that is applied to the wound. When Rose Bengal absorbs light with a wavelength of around 560nm, it enters an excited state which ends up transferring energy to surrounding molecules, which in the case of a wound, would primarily be collagen protein. The transferred energy generates free radical species that cause the collagen molecules to bind to each other, sealing the wound. So there isn't much heating of the wound; the laser is present to activate the Rose Bengal, not cook the tissue.

Re:How is this different than (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128610)

Jesus, this was more informative than either the summary or the Article, and remarkably clear. Nice work.

Re:How is this different than (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32128880)

Christ, that was more insightful than either the first post or this post, and remarkably concise. Nice work.

Re:How is this different than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32129434)

God damn, the several parent posts were too long to read, but your short congratulatory post prompted me to read up on them. Excellent stuff.

Re:How is this different than (1)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130160)

Celestial Teapot, your post was the green light to this Rose Bengal of replies. Radical job.

Re:How is this different than (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#32129504)

Correct me if I'm wrong. That sounds like it's cauterization, but of a significantly smaller amount of flesh.

Re:How is this different than (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32132346)

Yea, it does.

Hot piece of metal -> rose bengal

Scale: molecular level

Still, energy (ie, heat) is being transferred from the media to the wound.

Re:How is this different than (3, Informative)

Silh (70926) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134452)

The nature of the reactions, despite 'application of energy', is quite different; the energy involved is also on vastly different scales.

Cauterization involves application of heat, burning the tissues (killing the tissues) and denaturating the proteins (completely wrecking their structure), causing them to precipitate out of solution and clump together, plugging things up (plugging up bleeding blood vessels, and also causing blood to clot around the plugs, being a side effect of it). Lots of heat energy, sufficient to burn flesh. Usually done with a fair bit more precision these days of course.

This technique, on the other hand, is quite similar to one which I use from time to time for disinfection of periodontal pockets around teeth... application of a dye (in my case, toluidine blue) which binds to the bacteria, and then activation of the dye with the appropriate frequency of light which is matched to the absorption spectrum of the dye (sorry, not at the office so can't look up the specs), generating free radicals which react with bacterial components and ultimately killing the bacteria. The energy involved is literally that of the photon of the proper wavelength which knocks the electron out of the dye when the dye absorbs it... multiplied many times of course. Without the matched dye to absorb the light though, the light won't be doing a heck of a lot of useful work... sure it'll be absorbed by other molecules, which does heat them up somewhat, but nowhere near the level of heat used in cauterization.

In this situation, the dye is Rose Bengal, which likely has an affinity for collagen. Activation of the dye causes the collagen molecules to form bonds with one another, cross-linking them. Essentially, it turns the existing collagen where it is applied into the 'glue' to hold the wound together. No destruction of living tissue as cautery would (whether tissues die from other factors with the injury, such as insufficient blood supply, are a different story), and also much less of a mess of various byproducts left behind afterwards as well.

Re:How is this different than (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135400)

Wow, now I actually have a clue about what is going on! Thanks!

I need to go look up free radicals again. No matter how often I look into that, I keep forgetting it. Odd.

Re:How is this different than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32132744)

I also read elsewhere that instead of "speeding up the formation of scar tissue" this process actually drastically reduces the inflammation and therefore drastically reduces scarring.

Re:How is this different than (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32142650)

Cauterization leaves a no-longer bleeding open wound with dead tissue in it. This glues the tissue back together neatly.

Nanotech? (1)

Splatus (1417765) | more than 3 years ago | (#32127746)

I rtfa and I can't find a direct link to the use of nanoparticles. Are they the component of the "glue" that, when activated by the laser forms the seal? Or are they a figment (pigment?) of imagination here and used to attract readers with a buzzword? http://www2.massgeneral.org/wellman/faculty-kochevar-projects.htm [massgeneral.org]

The REAL question..What episode was that? (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128080)

Who else mentally flashed to the episode of TNG?

Re:The REAL question..What episode was that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32128250)

Which one? The one where Worf needed his spine swapped out?

Re:The REAL question..What episode was that? (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128498)

I thought it was the one where the crew was being abducted by sub-space aliens and experimented on...

Re:The REAL question..What episode was that? (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#32128714)

I think you are referring to the Dermal Regenerator. Here's a list [memory-alpha.org] of episodes that featured this bad-boy.

The nanotechnology bots better not run out of powe (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130712)

The nanotechnology bots better not run out of power in side of the body. At least we have code fixed now.

Backwards (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32130790)

I'm not a doctor but it seems to me that for many years the idea of slowing healing to prevent scar tissue formation has been in play. Now they want to generate more scar tissue through faster healing.
                    Anyone who has ever been around a patient who is having facial tissue restored knows the odor of the acetic acid that is soaked into the bandages to prevent rapid healing,

I think "scar tissue" may be the newsie's word. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133172)

... seems to me that for many years the idea of slowing healing to prevent scar tissue formation has been in play. Now they want to generate more scar tissue through faster healing.

I suspect the "scar tissue" bit was from the news article author rather than the researchers. As I understand it (and I'm not a medical type either), quickly cleaning a wound and gluing it shut will lead to minimal scar tissue formation.

Unless the free radicals from the activated die destroy too many of the growth factors from the ruptured cells and their matrix, of course. As I understand it, scar tissue is what you get when the stem cells can't figure out what tissue is SUPPOSED to go there, so they just make something strong to hold it together.

Also: The body can clean out some scar tissue later if they CAN figure it out later and the scar tissue wasn't too thick. That typically happens when the cut tissues are misaligned - i.e. due to swelling - or parts of the tissue are lost - which blocking post-traumatic infections can mitigate. So the sooner you get it cleaned and accurately closed (if you don't clean away the growth signaling chemicals), the less scarring.

UV Chemistry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32132730)

They mention a special light source. Is this a UV acrylic chemistry? Possibly some kind of acrylic UV hydrogel? Superglue (even the medical kind) is cyanoacrylate, an acrylic plastic. I am of the opinion that acrylics are not super toxic but they are not super healthy either. Some of the hydrogels aren't terribly bad - they use them to make (many but not all) types of soft contact lenses.

This sounds a lot like the dental fillings the dentist puts in your mouth. Those too are based off of UV acrylic chemistry. As are polyjet type 3d printers, from Objet and 3D Systems, used to make 3d objects for rapid prototype applications.

Isn't science fun?

Re:UV Chemistry? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32133212)

They mention a special light source. Is this a UV acrylic chemistry?

Same idea but using a die that produces the triggering catalytic chemical event when activated by a particular narrow band of GREEN light.

Re:UV Chemistry? (1)

Silh (70926) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135210)

Most white fillings placed these days are a composite, the resin part typically being something such as Bis-GMA, the 'MA' being 'methacrylate', the chemistry behind it being acrylic chemistry which allows for the polymerization of the individual molecules together. Look up 'acryl' or 'acrylic acid'... same basic end group, but the properties of whatever you end up with vary greatly with what you attach to it.

The light activation itself is not of the Bis-GMA though, but a separate photoinitiator, commonly camphorquinone, which absorbs in the blue range... knocks an electron off, creates free radical, free-radical polymerization of the Bis-GMA, etc., the usual story with acrylic-types. (Fun fact: camphorquinone is a very yellow molecule [since it absorbs blue!], which makes for all sorts of fun for the composite manufacturers trying to get the shades right for filling materials). Once upon a time, UV photoinitators were used, but due to safety concerns everything's gone to blue light these days for filling and sealants. UV photoinitiators are still used in many other different areas though... the last time I had a chip in my windshield repaired, it was with a UV-cured acrylic.

This wound treatment though, is using Rose Bengal, which is typically used as a dye, but as with many coloured molecules, absorption of that frequency of light which characterizes them knocks that electron off, creating a free radical... which in turn can react with other substances. In this case it is collagen molecules.

So, to compare with acrylic chemistry... it's sort of an analogous process, where Rose Bengal is the photoinitiator, and the collagen in the body is like the acrylic!

NOT nanotechnology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134546)

For the love of Pete, when will this bastardization of the term end??

Nanotech doesn't simply mean working at the nanoscale, it means manipulating INDIVIDUAL ATOMS.

That's the whole reason the term was invented, fer Chrissakes-- to contrast it with "chemistry."

Not just for the military... (1)

Stone2065 (717387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32137612)

This looks really cool... but as someone that cares for a bedridden spouse, this would be FANTASTIC for taking care of bedsores...

Chair Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32137702)

Yeah..... Those paper cuts are a bitch

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