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Created Wound Studies
Both animals and humans have been studied by making standard wounds. Then scientists closely observed the healing over time. This gave us some of the best evidence about the stress and its impact on healing. They used three types of wounds to examine the stress effect on healing. They created wounds by puncture, blister, and stripping skin barrier.
Punch biopsies were made which provided standard skin wounds for observation. Each day pictures were taken of the wound for a recorded evaluation of changes in the wound.
The first experiments involved examining stress impact on wounds involving dementia caregivers. These were people who were related to the mentally impaired person. These people had to lovingly deal daily with the loss of memory, inappropriate emotions, and wandering and restless behavior of their loved ones. For such caregivers stress has been noted and manifested in a heightened anxiety and depression, immune dysregulation, increased risk of heart problems, and even death.
These family caregivers therefore represents an excellent model to examine chronic stress in humans. A 3.5 mm punch biopsy wound was made in the nondominant forearm. The study was of 13 women caregivers and 13 sociodemographically similar non caregiving controls. The caregivers were found to take 24% longer to heal the standardized wound than matched controls. This would tend to indicate that chronic stress delays healing.