Bandages That Detect Infection
Kyle Maxey posted on March 25, 2013 |

bandage, wound, heal, bacteria, medicine, northwesternBandages have come a long way in the last 100 years.

Wait, scratch that, no they haven’t.

Sure, we might have started putting medicine and cute colorful pictures on them, and about ten years ago a liquid bandage was developed, but very little has been done to give bandages the ability to improve healing. Apart from adding a sticky bit, they’ve remained virtually unchanged for over three thousand years.

However, all of that may change thanks to Professor Ed Goluch of Northwestern University. Goluch and grad student Thaddeus Webster are working on sensors that can be embedded into bandages to detect bacterial infections in wounds.

As a proof of concept, Goluch and Webster have developed a sensor that detects the potentially lethal bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Under Professor Goluch’s scheme, anyone wearing one of these bandages could avert a potentially life-threatening infection. According to Goluch, “"You would be able to say '[an infection] is starting, even though I don’t show any symptoms yet’ on an open wound and that you need to put on a topical antibiotic or start taking a prescription antibiotic."

While other bacteria, like staph, are more difficult to detect, the Northwestern team believe they can make major advances in the coming years and possibly make a dramatic improvement in a critical but often overlooked medical technology.

Image Courtesy of Co.EXIST

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