New study shows diabetic patients have slower healing wounds due to issues with electrical currents.

Though more than 6 million Americans live with chronic wounds (per figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is an especially prevalent issue in diabetics. In fact a report in Healthy Cells magazine noted that diabetic patients have a 15 percent high risk of developing chronic wounds. That’s because diabetes can impede the body’s natural wound healing processes, leaving patients to deal with painful injuries like ulcers for months at a time.

Now, though, new insight into the true scope of diabetes’ impact on the body have been uncovered. And, this new knowledge could have a significant impact on future wound care regimens for diabetics.

A surge in progress

According to a Scientific Reports study, wounds may heal slower due to diminished electrical currents. The BBC explained, these electrical currents or signals are used to communicate various messages, including from one body part to another.

To test the electrical currents, scientists from the Department of Dermatology at the University of California, Davis, looked at damaged corneas from laboratory mice. In addition to healthy mice, the team experimented on mice with different forms of diabetes, including drug-induced and genetic variations.

Using a powerful probe, they released electrical charges into the cornea, which draws in cells to heal the damaged cornea sections. The whole process took an average of 48 hours. However, the wounds healed much slower in the diabetic mice compared to the healthier group. The team also performed similar electrical injections with human corneal cell. Those ells with greater levels of glucose – which is often the case with diabetics – had a slower response time overall.

While more research will need to be conducted, lead author Min Zhao said in an accompanying press release that these results could lead to exciting innovations.

“This is the first demonstration, in diabetic wounds or any chronic wounds, that the naturally occurring electrical signal is impaired and correlated with delayed wound healing,” Zhao said. “Correcting this defect offers a totally new approach for chronic and non-healing wounds in diabetes.”

Past research has also demonstrated the importance of electrical fields or currents in regards to wound healing. In late 2015, a team from Washington State University found that antibiotics could be replaced by electrical stimulation. In certain aspects, this new method was often more effective. Several months earlier, a team form the U.K. discovered that healing rates can be sped up via electrical currents. In fact, it took just two weeks of treatment to heal wounds entirely.

 

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