Entries in Bandage (3)


New High-Tech Bandage Doesn't Cause Pain or Skin Damage

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thanks to a new quick-release medical tape, the pain one feels when yanking off a bandage may soon be a thing of the past.

Developed by biomedical engineers from MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the new bandage covers wounds but lifts off without tugging the skin or ripping out body hair.

A conventional bandage sticks in place, thanks to a strong adhesive.  Taking it off requires breaking the grip between the adhesive and the skin -- and that's what causes the pain so many of us anticipate with mild dread.  

The new bandage has a three-layer design that allows the adhesive to stick to the tape itself rather than the skin, so removal is ouch-free.

Jeffrey Karp, one of the bandage's inventors and co-director of the center for regenerative therapeutics at Brigham Women's hospital, said the approach was inspired by a natural phenomenon known as anisotropy in which something is tough and durable depending on the direction of force.  Think of wood, which is strong when force is applied along the grain, but weaker when force is applied against the grain.

"The new tape is secure when you pull it or stretch it lengthwise, but when it's time to come off, it can be peeled away in a gentle upward motion," Karp said.

If any adhesive gunk remains on the skin, Karp said it can be rolled off with a finger with no discomfort.

Although a lot of "big babies" love the idea of a pain-free bandage, Karp said it was actually invented to protect the fragile skin of babies.

Most adhesive was developed for use on adults.  Hospitals also use it to tape tubes, leads and monitors on premature infants, and when they remove it, it can cause severe damage to their skin.  The adhesive bond is so strong, Karp said, it can rip off a baby's ear.

The research team evaluated problems in neonatal units all across the country and found that preventing medical-tape injuries to preemies topped the list.  The researchers received funding to develop more skin-friendly bandage material from the nonprofit Children's Medical Ventures, which was set up by the health care company Phillips, and took about a year and a half to complete the project.

"We used readily available, cost-effective and low-toxic materials in hopes that we could clear regulatory barriers quickly and get the bandages into the hands of doctors and nurses who work with preemies and other patients with weak skin as soon as possible," Karp said.

Writing in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers speculated that clinical trials testing the bandages would start in the next few months but that the new bandages wouldn't make it onto drugstore shelves for at least a year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bart's Syndrome: Indiana Baby Born without Skin

ABC News(CHARLESTOWN, Ind.) -- Brody Curtis has a big smile across his face, about the only part of his little body that is not swaddled in thick bandages.  The one-month-old was born with Bart's syndrome, which means he is missing skin on much of his body and what skin he does have is fragile and can easily erode.

"He looked like he had third degree burns," said his mother, Heather Curtis, a 33-year-old high school math teacher from Charlestown, Indiana.  "The doctors could almost see his brain."

Bandages cover Brody's arms from his elbows to his fingers and from his knees to his feet, as well as around his skull.  It takes the Curtises about an hour to change the dressing and apply a salve, which they must do each day to prevent a life-threatening infection.

Bart's syndrome is a genetic condition that is part of a larger spectrum of inherited skin disorders called epidermolysis bullosa, according to the Mayo Clinic.  Its hallmark is a blistering response to minor injuries, heat or even rubbing or scratching.

Brody also has blisters inside his mouth and on his tongue, which is typical in patients with the disease.

Epidermolysis bullosa or EB strikes about 1 in 20,000 children and there are about 30,000 cases nationwide, half a million globally.  Bart's syndrome occurs just one in a million, according to Curtis.

Brody's doctors don't know if his skin will ever grow back, but they hold out hope that one day he could lead a normal life.

"We do know that different forms can cause early death in life and it can cause skin cancer," said his mother.  "Some people go on to be blind or have deformities in their bodies."

"But we just don't know," she said.

Heather and her husband Chuck, both healthy, are carriers of the genes that cause Bart's syndrome.  Their daughter Mckenna, 5, is also disease free.

Couples who carry the gene for the disease have a 25 percent chance of passing it on to their children.  Prenatal testing is available to couples before conception for families at risk.

There is no effective treatment for Bart's syndrome, other than bandages to avoid trauma and infections.  New molecular approaches are being developed including bone marrow transfers and fibroplast injections, according to Dr. Jouni Uitto, chair of the department of dermatology and cutaneous biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boy with Rare Disease Inspires Donations of Band-Aids, Blood

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- These days, SpongeBob SquarePants, Transformers, pirates and Disney-character Band-Aids are all a part of the selection for Liam Gorman, who receives blood transfusions every third Friday of the month.  But for Liam, who's six, there's nothing like a bacon Band-Aid strip to wrap up an all-day visit to Brooklyn Hospital Center.

Liam must get transfusions every two-to-three weeks because of a rare condition known as Diamond Blackfan Anemia, in which one's bone marrow is unable to produce red blood cells.

After a difficult birth, doctors found that baby Liam had a low platelet count.  He spent his first 32 days of life in the neo-natal intensive care unit, but it wasn't until he was 15 months old that Liam was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia.  Only about 600 people in the entire world have been diagnosed with it.

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, so, when Liam's levels are low, he can become pale and fatigued.

Doctors have not kept Liam from playing sports or doing the things that most kids do, but he must be monitored carefully.  Those with Diamond Blackfan Anemia can live full lives if treated and cared for properly.

And his treatments are not for the faint of heart.  Once a month, Liam takes off from school to get his transfusion.  While the kids like to spice up their treatments with fun or funky Band-Aids, Liam and the other children in the pediatrics department didn't always have such colorful options.  After the hospital went through a series of budget cuts, the kids were stuck with boring brown Band-Aids.

So Liam had an idea.  He said to his father, Anthony Gorman, a paramedic, last April, "Let's go ask people for Band-Aids."  The colorful kind, that is.

Gorman began asking his paramedic friends to donate a box of Band-Aids for the kids at Brooklyn Hospital Center.  The word spread, and in a matter of three weeks, Gorman had collected 500 boxes of children's Band-Aids.

It may sound trivial, but for those kids receiving blood transfusions or chemotherapy treatments, the choice of Band-Aid can go a long way, Gorman said.

Gorman said that Brooklyn Hospital should be all set with colorful Band-Aids for a while.  But Liam and his father plan to continue their campaign.  Along with the Band-Aids, Gorman also holds blood drives in honor of Liam every six-to-nine months. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio