23 February 2010

Plasma Medicine ~ Disinfection & Regeneration++

Anne Eisenberg writes in the NYTimes about a new plasma-based cleaner allowing Hospital-Clean Hands, Without All the Scrubbing. This works by making...
"...antibacterial cocktails by running electrical current through air, said David B. Graves, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley [...] The electric current ionizes the oxygen, nitrogen and water vapor in the air, he said, eventually creating the nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide and particles that are so effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi."
But hand sanitation is just the tip of a big iceberg of possibilities...
"Many other cleaning applications of plasma are being researched. In addition to hand sanitizers, Michael G. Kong, a professor of bioelectrics engineering at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, England, has developed a prototype for plasma jets that can be built into air-conditioning systems. As air is transmitted through the system from one hospital room to another, for example, the jets inactivate microorganisms, fungi and viruses in the air. In the Netherlands, Gerrit M. W. Kroesen, a professor of plasma physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology, is focusing on the treatment of burn wounds. "We have seen that plasmas help with disinfection," he said. "They also stimulate regeneration of tissue." [...] other potential applications, including treatment of burns or cancers, are further away. "We are able to do miracles with this technology" he said, "but we have to make sure the treatments are not toxic."

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