21st-century medicine

Date:3 October 2011 Tags:

Repeatedly pulling the dressing off a wound to check on it can slow healing. Researchers in Switzerland have a solution: bandages with ultra-thin, flexible optical fibres woven into the textile. The fibres have a coating that changes colour in response to changes in acidity, which indicate the presence of bacteria or infection. Instead of exposing the wound to take a sample for testing, medical staff would shine light into one end of the fibre and check the colour of the light emerging at the opposite end. – Alex Hutchinson