Anushka Naiknaware’s innovative wound dressing uses sensors to let patients know if their wound is too dry.
Moisture is essential for wound healing, and a new dressing makes it easier to monitor dryness.
There are several different types of wound dressings available, and each one has its own benefits and primary purpose. For instance, alginate dressings are better for wounds with excessive drainage, while the moisture of hydrogel makes dead tissue removal a breeze. Despite these differences, there is one thing that unites most wound dressings: They have to be removed and reapplied with some frequency.
Changing dressings can sometimes be difficult, especially as doctors try to prevent extra trauma to the wound. But one factor that complicates removal is knowing when to swap out wound dressings. This can vary depending upon the wound type, how fast it is healing and even the doctor’s personal preference. Now, an innovative 13-year-old may have taken some of the guesswork out of dressing changes.
Lighting a New Path
As iTech Post reported, a seventh grader from Oregon has designed a new wound dressing that can “tell” when a change is required. This innovative dressing was created by 13-year-old Beaverton resident Anushka Naiknaware, whose design landed her a $15,000 scholarship from Google.
The dressing itself is based entirely on the importance of moisture in proper wound healing. The fluid not only makes wounds heal much faster (in under a week in certain cases), but also prevents bacterial infections and excessive inflammation. Naiknaware’s dressing features a number of sensors that can detect the dryness of the wound site. When levels get too low, a light goes off indicating the need for a dressing change.
The light source was made by embedding a series of nanoparticles into graphene. Naiknaware told The Oregonian she learned part of this technique by studying YouTube videos on advanced math and fractal patterns. Naiknaware added that she tested the dressing on a false arm she also designed and that the first prototype worked quite successfully.
After accepting her award officially at a gala in late 2016, Naiknaware wants to use her $15,000 to develop a new dressing model for eventual approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Naiknaware’s wound dressing is the latest step in implementing “smart” technology into the wound care industry. According to ISRAEL21c, a group of researchers designed a bandage that can release wound healing compounds via a timer. Meanwhile, a team from the Netherlands created a dressing that communicates to doctors via a wireless system.
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