Medicine and Health Science Fair Project
Smart Wound Care for the Future

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Project Information
Title: Wound Management: Fractal inspired Chitosan and Carbon Nanoparticle Based Biocompatible Sensors
Subject: Medicine and Health
Subcategory: Wound Management
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Building / Engineering
Cost: Medium
Awards: The LEGO Education Builder Award
Affiliation: Google Science Fair
Year: 2016
Materials: Copper pads, lead wires, testing Jig, vinegar, data logger, laptop
Techniques: Fractal Sensors
Concepts: Wound Management
Description: Using biocompatible material to make sensors, physicians will able to track the status of a wound through one or many variables including temperature, pH, moisture level, oxygen level etc. The status could be wirelessly viewed over a phone, which could be next connected to internet for remote monitoring. This project aims to create an inkjet printable, miniature, biocompatible, inexpensive, accurate and reliable sensor which can continuously monitor appropriate levels of moisture in the wound. The approach uses biopolymer chitosan in conjunction with carbon nanoparticles to effectively obtain all the required features. Sensor patterning and controllability is obtained by use of line fractals created using Lindenmayer system (L-system). A wireless demonstration prototype under simulated conditions is also built to illustrate the mobile and cloud connectivity.

Wound Management

The overall treatment depends on the type, cause, and depth of the wound, and whether other structures beyond the skin (dermis) are involved. Treatment of recent lacerations involves examining, cleaning, and closing the wound. Minor wounds, like bruises, will heal on their own, with skin discoloration usually disappearing in 12 weeks. Abrasions, which are wounds with intact skin (non-penetration through dermis to subcutaneous fat), usually require no active treatment except keeping the area clean, initially with soap and water. Puncture wounds may be prone to infection depending on the depth of penetration. The entry of puncture wound is left open to allow for bacteria or debris to be removed from inside.

Cleaning: Evidence to support the cleaning of wounds before closure is scant. For simple lacerations, cleaning can be accomplished using a number of different solutions, including tap water and sterile saline solution. Infection rates may be lower with the use of tap water in regions where water quality is high. Cleaning of a wound is also known as 'wound toilet'.

Closure: If a person presents to a healthcare center within 6 hours of a laceration they are typically closed immediately after evaluating and cleaning the wound. After this point in time, however, there is a theoretical concern of increased risks of infection if closed immediately. Thus some healthcare providers may delay closure while others may be willing to immediately close up to 24 hours after the injury. Using clean non-sterile gloves is equivalent to using sterile gloves during wound closure. If closure of a wound is decided upon a number of techniques can be used. These include bandages, a cyanoacrylate glue, staples, and sutures. Absorbable sutures have the benefit over non absorbable sutures of not requiring removal. They are often preferred in children. Buffering the pH of lidocaine makes the injection less painful. Adhesive glue and sutures have comparable cosmetic outcomes for minor lacerations <5 cm in adults and children. The use of adhesive glue involves considerably less time for the doctor and less pain for the person. The wound opens at a slightly higher rate but there is less redness. The risk for infections (1.1%) is the same for both. Adhesive glue should not be used in areas of high tension or repetitive movements, such as joints or the posterior trunk.

Dressings: In the case of clean surgical wounds, there is no evidence that the use of topical antibiotics reduces infection rates in comparison with non-antibiotic ointment or no ointment at all. Antibiotic ointments can irritate the skin, slow healing, and greatly increase the risk of developing contact dermatitis and antibiotic resistance. Because of this, they should only be used when a person shows signs of infection and not as a preventative. The effectiveness of dressings and creams containing silver to prevent infection or improve healing is not currently supported by evidence.

Alternative medicine: There is moderate evidence that honey is more effective than antiseptic followed by gauze for healing wounds infected after surgical operations. There is a lack of quality evidence relating to the use of honey on other types of wounds, such as minor acute wounds, mixed acute and chronic wounds, pressure ulcers, Fournier's gangrene, venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and Leishmaniasis. There is no good evidence that therapeutic touch is useful in healing. More than 400 species of plants are identified as potentially useful for wound healing. Only three randomized controlled trials, however, have been done for the treatment of burns.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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