150 years ago, German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond discovered that electric currents could speed up the healing of flesh wounds. But his research has been ignored ever since. Until now…
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Now Josef Penninger of the Austrian Institute of Molecular
Biotechnology in Vienna and Min Zhao of the University of Aberdeen, UK,
have demonstrated that natural electric fields and currents in tissue
play a vital role in orchestrating the wound-healing process by
attracting repair cells to damaged areas.
The researchers grew layers of mouse cells and larger tissues, such as
corneas, in the lab. After "wounding" these tissues, they applied
varying electric fields to them, and found they could accelerate or
completely halt the healing process depending on the orientation and
strength of the field (Nature, vol 442, p 457).