Recent research suggests that wounds may heal more quickly if exposed to low-intensity vibration. The findings yield from a mouse model and, according to a news years from the University of Illinois at Chicago, may have implications for patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly those who will eventually sustain foot ulcers.

Previous studies at Stony Brook University, New York, used low-intensity signals to accelerate bone regeneration, catching the interest of Timothy Koh, PhD, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.

“This technique is already in clinical trials to see if vibration can improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis,” Koh explains.

To this end, Koh and UIC coworkers collaborated with Stefan Judex, PhD, Stony Brook, in an effort to determine whether the same technique might improve wound healing in diabetes.

In the release, first study author Eileen Weinheimer-Haus, UIC postdoctoral fellow in kinesiology and nutrition, states that the low-amplitude vibrations are barely perceptible to touch, “more like a buzz than an earthquake.”

The results suggest that wounds exposed to vibration five times a week for 30 minutes healed more quickly than wounds in mice of a control group. Weinheimer-Haus notes that wounds exposed to vibration formed more granulation tissue. The vibration assisted tissue in forming new blood vessels and also led to increased expression of pro-healing growth factors and signaling molecules called chemokines.

The release reports that Koh and his colleagues want to pinpoint whether the changes they see in cell populations and gene expression at wound sites underlie the observed improvement in healing.

“The exciting thing about this intervention is how easily it could be translated to people. It’s a procedure that’s non-invasive, doesn’t require any drugs, and is already being tested in human trials to see if it’s protective of bone loss,” Koh emphasizes.

Koh adds that a clinical study is being planned in collaboration with William Ennis, DO, MBA, FACOS, director of the Wound Healing Clinic, UIC.

Photo credit: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/University of Illinois at Chicago Photo Services

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago