A new type of wound dressing could improve thousands of people's lives, by preventing them from developing infections. he dressing, a type of compression held in place by a bandage, uses an antibacterial substance formed from the shells of crustaceans like shrimps. It is described in a paper published in the May 2017 issue of Radiation Physics and Chemistry. The open-access article is titled “Chitosan-Containing Hydrogel Wound Dressings Prepared by Radiation Technique.” Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a worldwide health threat. A recent report by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned in 2014 by then UK Prime Minister David Cameron and led by economist Jim O'Neill, warns that antimicrobial resistance could kill 10 million people each year by 2050, dwarfing even the number of estimated deaths from cancer. Because of this, preventing infection has never been more important. The protective dressing was developed by Dr. Radoslaw Wach and his colleagues from Lodz University of Technology in Poland. Their innovation builds on a type of dressing that has been around for centuries. By providing moisture to a wound, hydrogel dressings can speed up aspects of healing and cool the wound down. The dressings are durable and elastic, meaning they can easily adapt to the shape of the affected body part. Dr. Wach and his colleagues adapted the hydrogel dressing manufacturing technique to make a version of the classic dressing with an added benefit. The team did this by incorporating an antibacterial and biodegradable substance called chitosan, extracted from the shells of crustaceans, within the dressing itself.
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