The mammal was a rabbit, not a human. But researchers at the University of Pennsylvania had discovered that electricity “stimulates fracture healing.” Their 1971 article was the “first modern report” of the successful use of direct current to stimulate bone growth after a break.
In a literature review published in 2011, the authors concluded that electrical stimulation was effective in encouraging bone growth. However, “the exact mechanism by which ES enhances bone repair is still not fully understood.”
According to researchers in 2016, “traumatic fractures [were] estimated to incur $265.4 billion dollars per year of economic loss due to cost of healthcare and time away from work.” There was clearly an economic justification for the research.
Yet in 2022, researchers reported that “[d]espite robust evidence for efficacy in the preclinical arena, human trials have mixed results.” One hypothesis: the difference in bone size between a small animal and a human.