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Ultrasound can help wounds heal faster

It might sound a bit like quack medicine, but researchers from the University of Sheffield have proven that sound waves can help accelerate the skin's healing process. In particular, the team has discovered that the vibration low-intensity ultrasound transmits through the skin can activate pathways that fibroblast cells can use to migrate to the wounded area. Those cells are play a crucial role when it comes to the body's ability to repair damaged tissue. That's similar to how a cat's purr -- its frequencies, that is -- can stimulate the regeneration of bones.

The researchers believe the technique will benefit bedridden folks frequently suffering from bedsores and even diabetic patients with seriously painful cases of skin ulcers typically solved by amputating affected limbs. During their experiments, they found that wounds on diabetics and old mice healed 30 percent quicker; even better, it has no side effects, since it doesn't do anything other than activate your own cells. In fact, the study's lead author, Dr. Mark Bass, said that because ultrasound "is relatively risk free, "the technology could be "in broad clinical use within three or four years."

[Image credit: Handout via Getty Images]