Expose Wounds to the Right Kind of Sounds, And They Heal Faster | Smart News | Smithsonian
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Expose Wounds to the Right Kind of Sounds, And They Heal Faster

Treatment with low-intensity ultrasound could help chronic wounds to heal

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Sometimes, doctors know exactly how and why a particular treatment works. Sometimes, they just know that it does.* At Drexel University, a team of medical researchers have found an unexpected treatment for enhancing the healing of chronic wounds: sound.

When low-frequency ultrasound is pumped into a slowly healing wound, says Inside Science, researchers found a statistically significant improvement in the the rate of healing.

The research is still in the early stages. The treatment has only been tested on a small pile of people, and there are a lot of open questions:

“Scientists are not exactly sure how the ultrasound helps to hasten the wound's healing. One hypothesis is that the ultrasound could be stimulating new cells to grow. More testing is being done to determine exactly how it works.”

But, if everything pans out, says Michael Weingarten, one of the researchers,  in a release, ultrasound treatment could become a valuable tool:
"The fact that this is a successful active treatment for wound healing is significant because the most commonly used methods today are passive healing techniques that require more time for the wound to heal," Weingarten said. "There are very few active therapies commercially available to stimulate wound healing in these patients. There are some biosynthetic skin substitutes which may be applied to the wound and potentially deliver growth factors to stimulate healing, but these technologies are expensive and are not always covered by insurance."

*There's an important distinction to be made here: having scientific evidence that a treatment works, while not being able to explain the physical mechanism, is a different thing entirely than thinking a treatment works based on stories and tales without having any scientific evidence to support the claim.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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