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Scientists are Using Electricity to Heal Wound Infections

A team at Indiana University has found a way to fight bacterial infection with an electric field dressing.

Using electricity to fight bacterial infections. / Image: IUSM
Using electricity to fight bacterial infections. / Image: IUSM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 65% of all infections are caused by bacterial biofilms that form on the surface of wounds and complicate the healing process. The bacteria generate electricity with their own electric fields that communicate and form the biofilm. A recent EurekAlert! article discussed a new method for treating these infections with an electric field-based dressing rather than antibiotics.

The team of researchers at IU School of Medicine is the first to study this practice, and found that the method can be used on its own, but is even more effective when combined with other medications. The discovery will likely provide a “plan b” for treating bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. The FDA has already approved marketing of the unique dressing for burn care, and the team is now evaluating the effectiveness in patients recovering from burns.

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