Peristent wounds need maths

A mathematical algorithm that speeds up healing

Published: Monday 30 November 2009

-- (Credit: Divya)scientists at Ohio State University in usa have developed a math model to facilitate treatment for wounds that heal slowly or have no chances of healing. Wounds take long to heal when they do not get adequate blood supply, nutrients and oxygen. Such wounds, called ischaemic, are a common complication of diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions. The model could be the beginning of hope for over six million people in the US who suffer ischaemic wounds and are at risk of losing limbs or even dying.

With this model, we can take the next step to find what factors in the equations can be fine-tuned to the point where the net result is improvement in the ischaemic wound, said Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio states department of surgery in usa, in the study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 21.

The model simulated ischaemic and non-ischaemic wounds. It showed normal wounds had higher concentrations of proteins and cells required for healing. Ischaemic wounds lacked oxygen and remained inflammatory. The model assigned values to the various cells and chemicals involved in wound-healing.

Healing involves interactions among different soluble chemical mediators, cells and extracellular matrix (ecm). Wound healing is represented by four overlapping stages: haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and remodeling. During haemostasis, immediately after injury, platelets cause clotting. During inflammation, neutrophils and macrophages kill infectious pathogens. Neutrophils are white blood cells that engulf and digest germs; macrophages clean out the debris at the injury site. Proliferation involves production of ecm and growth of new blood vessels. ecm acts as the bed for tissue repair and contributes to scar formation. In the remodeling phase, cells interact to increase the tensile strength of the ecm that might take several years.

The study, said Sen, was not restricted to what therapy should be used for ischaemic wounds. Mathematical algorithms provide more pointed data that biologists can use to develop hypotheses, he said.

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