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Smart E-Pants Prevent Bedsores

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Smart E-Pants help to prevent bedsores…

Scientists have developed underwear with built-in electrodes to combat bedsores in patients who are immobilized in bed, or wheel chair. The new ‘Smart E-Pants’ work by electrically stimulating patients muscles.

Sean Dukelow of the department of clinical neuroscience at the University of Calgary in Canada, who led the study, said in small trials the pants worked so well that the participants wanted to keep the device afterwards.

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, can be a devastating consequence for people who are immobilized due to disease of spinal injury. The sores manifest into large open wounds that can eventually kill if left untreated. They occur when soft tissue is squeezed between the bone and a bed or chair for extended periods of time. Without sufficient blood flow, the area begins break down.

electronic smart e-pants prevent bedsores

Smart E-Pants Prevent Bedsores

Image Credit: Alberta Health Services, 2012.

Bedsores typically occur over boney areas of the skin such as buttocks, heels, shoulder blades or the back of the head, and are much more common in elderly people since younger active patients still tend to fidget and adjust their position throughout the day, without thinking about it.

Around 20% of patients in acute care or nursing homes, and 30% of those in the community, are thought to be affected by pressure ulcers. Treating those with the condition costs the UKs Nation Health Service more than £4 billion ($6 billion) per year.

Traditional techniques to combat bedsores include turning patients over every few hours, or laying them purpose built air mattresses that relieve some of the pressure.

The Smart E-Pants however mimic the effects of fidgeting around – every time an electrical impulse is sent, new blood flows through the area. The pants look like normal boxer shorts, but with electrode built into to the buttocks.

If put into productions, Dukelow says the pants would sell for around £125 ($200) for the equipment, and around £10 ($16) per month for the disposable electrodes.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, October 2012.


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