Weird Medicine

Putting Soil On Wounds May Stop Deadly Bleeding, Study Finds

Keeping your wound a little “dirty” may be helpful to speed up healing. Researchers have found that soil could trigger a natural process that causes blood clotting and controls bleeding after injury.

The new study, published in the journal Blood Advances, found putting soil in wounds works with a special blood protein that helps limit blood loss and seal the wound faster. However, researchers warned using unsterilized dirt improperly may lead to infection. 
 
“Soil is not simply our matrix for growing food and for building materials,” Christian Kastrup, study senior author and associate professor at University of British Columbia (UBC), said in a statement. “Here we discovered that soil can actually help control bleeding after injury by triggering clotting.”

The protein called coagulation Factor XII stops bleeding through a rapid chain reaction that leads to a plug. Surprisingly, researchers also found that soil interacts with the protein and promotes faster clotting only in humans and other mammals that live on land. 

“This finding demonstrates how terrestrial mammals, ranging from mice to humans, evolved to naturally use silicates as a specific signal to Factor XII to trigger blood clotting,” Lih Jiin Juang, study first author and a UBC PhD student, said. “These results will have a profound impact on the way we view our relationship with our environment.”

Researchers hope that using sterilized dirt and Factor XII would help develop new strategies to manage bleeding and understand infection after trauma. The team plans to continue the study to understand how the blood responds to microbes in soil to prevent infection.

Future study would also collect samples from the Moon to see if the lunar soil could also help activate Factor XII and treat wounds faster. Kastrup said it may help protect astronauts in future space explorations.

Another potential benefit of using soil to control bleeding is its vast presence. Kastrup said the team hopes the findings would also provide resources to manage wounds in “very remote environments with limited resources and medical supplies.”
 
In those areas, sterilized soil may replace common wound sealing products, such as sponges and sealants, to help prevent deadly bleeding following injuries. The study states that excessive bleeding causes 40 percent of mortality in trauma patients. 

Soil and wound Researchers at University of British Columbia discovered that soil in wounds works with a special blood protein to stop bleeding and speed up recovery. Pixabay

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