FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- A newly developed bandage that delivers a beneficial gas to skin and tissue could potentially serve as a therapeutic sock for diabetics and a wrap for body organs awaiting transplant, researchers say.
It's not clear if the cloth is appropriate for people, but the study authors said that their experiments in rats were promising. The idea is to deliver nitric oxide gas, which can boost blood flow and regulate body functions, but they haven't yet found a way to control its delivery.
The researchers experimented with a bandage made up of zeolites, porous materials that store gas, which were embedded in a polymer.
In rats, the bandage increased blood flow. "The bandage could be used to wrap a donor organ, ensuring intimate contact and direct delivery of nitric oxide," the study authors wrote. "Additionally, these interwoven fabrics could also find applications in smart textiles such as nitric oxide-releasing socks for diabetic patients, who have been shown to produce less nitric oxide than healthy patients."
The study was published online in advance of print publication in the journal Chemistry of Materials.
The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse has information on how diabetics can prevent foot problems.