Using nanotechnology, scientists are working on safer methods of morphine delivery to injured soldiers on the battlefield (Photo: SFC Johan Charles Van Boers, U.S. Army)
The threat of injury and even death hangs over the head of most active men and women in the armed forces. However, the treatment for some injuries can be life-threatening as well. Soldiers unfortunate enough to be injured in the line of duty are usually given morphine for pain relief in the field. However, morphine also depresses normal breathing and blood pressure, sometimes to near-fatal levels. So medics need a short-acting drug that aids normal respiration and heart beat, but in doses that still allow effective morphine pain relief. It’s a bit like a dangerous ‘balancing act’, made worse because it’s often performed under extreme circumstances. Using nanotechnology, University of Michigan (U-M) scientists have developed a combination drug that promises a safer, more precise way for medics and fellow soldiers in battle situations to give a fallen soldier morphine, together with a drug that limits morphine’s dangerous side effects.