The mounting toll of military casualties and injuries during the past few years in the wars America is involved in have reached such disturbing proportions, reports the International Business Times, that exact statistics are no longer being released to the public by the Veteran’s Administration.
As it stands now, over a million active and veteran soldiers have been injured in overseas conflicts in the last ten years. As any physician will tell you, where there are battle-inflicted injuries there is bound to be pain involved -- sometimes for the short run, sometimes as a chronic condition that needs managing for years to come.
One of the greatest challenges of battlefield triage is shock. An injured soldier will naturally experience some degree of shock, as the body starts to protect itself from the wound or other injury.
In cases of slight shock physicians can let the military patient wait until regular painkillers start to take effect -- which can often take up to half an hour, even intravenously. But in cases of deep shock, where the body starts to shut down because of the unbearable pain, battlefield doctors are often stymied on ways to deliver the proper painkiller in enough time to prevent the deep shock from turning into a coma, or even death. That is where recent nanotechnology may come into play with military medicine.
One company in the United States is now convinced that nanoparticles can help injured soldiers to get relief from crippling pain almost immediately. That company is called nCAP Medical.
“nCAP’s nanotechnology is in use right now enhancing communication systems around the globe on radios, and wireless devices, and it works the same way with the human body’s nervous system,” says Rhett Spencer, cofounder of nCAP Medical. “We hurt when our brain isn’t communicating well with the source of pain. Our nanotech enhances that communication, which quickly soothes the nervous system and relieves pain while decreasing healing time.”
Spencer and his business partner, Anthony Sutera, have developed this nano-infused patch to give people a simple way to relieve pain without medication. You just place the patch between your brain and the injury.
Spencer points to dozens of tests showing improved results, along with doctors, scientists and engineers who validate the result. nCAP’s offering its first products via Kickstarter sometime in August. You can be the first to know when their Kickstarter goes live and read more about what they are doing at ncappainrelief.com.
The idea for using nanotechnology to relieve pain isn’t new.
Doctors and researchers at the University of Michigan are working on nearly microscopic particles that can hold and then release potent painkilling medication. These narcotic nanoparticles will be placed inside a device that resembles a pen, which can be used by a soldier’s buddies or even by himself/herself to inject the anesthetic instantly when battlefield medical options are limited.
The premeasured doses could keep a wounded soldier from going into deep shock until such a time as he or she could be attended to by a medical professional. This research has finally come to fruition and is now available to the market via ncappainrelief.com.
In a prepared news release, the University of Michigan noted that the new nanotechnology holds great promise in providing prolonged and effective battlefield pain management. The different kinds of medications being considered for this project would be fused with polymers that automatically release the painkillers, or even antibiotics, without any undue complications. If the tests prove successful, the news release states, it could markedly improve the chance of a soldier’s chances of survival on the battlefield.
The news release goes on to say that the most commonly used drug for pain relief in the military is morphine, which requires constant monitoring and adjustment in a patient because an overdose can easily cause breathing difficulties.
So the University of Michigan is looking at a wide variety of other analgesics in the hopes of finding a morphine substitute that will work just as effectively and quickly, but not be as dangerous when left unmonitored.
Doctors at the University are hoping to be able to design opioid nanoparticles that will release a steady and long-lasting stream of medication so that soldiers in the field can remain relatively stable until they can be evacuated to a regular medical facility. It is hoped the nanoparticles will also be able to check the patient’s breathing rhythm so that, if required, the nanoparticles can be triggered to enhance the lung’s capacity with a burst of Naloxone -- which counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose.