An Electrifying Solution for Pressure Ulcers

New article out recently that I just wanted to share. I’m not sure whether or not to feel appalled or inspired by the evil genius of this idea. Researchers from the University of Calgary (UoC) in Canada have come up with an unconventional new method of treating bed sores. Doctors from the school have created double-padded underpants that LITERALLY shock the buttocks of immobile patients with electricity in order to simulate actual movement and prevent the development of pressure ulcers.

Patients with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating conditions and illnesses are often in wheelchairs or hospital beds. And for extended periods of time. That makes them prone to developing localized injuries on the skin in areas where constant pressure is being applied, but no movement is taking place.

These injuries can take several weeks to heal. They often require constant attention and intervention by medical staff. And that costs the US healthcare system about $11B a year to treat.

I appreciate the need for reducing the rate and severity of pressure ulcers. But I’m not sure electroshock therapy, so to speak, is the best way forward. We here at Men’s Liberty see pressure ulcers occurring regularly among the incontinent population. Incontinence can contribute to the development of pressure ulcers. Constant exposure to urine, for example in diapers, can cause skin irritation and compromise skin barrier function.

Common suggestions for preventing pressure ulcers include rotating patients every few hours and encouraging patients with some mobility to lift themselves or reposition their bodies at regular intervals. It’s also a good idea to move away from absorbent products for incontinence and keep your skin clean and dry.

According to Natural News, they presented a study on the proposed electric underwear at the Neuroscience 2012 conference. The study involved 37 patients who were told to wear the electroshock pants for 30 days. During this time, they programmed the pants to deliver 10 seconds of electric stimulation every 10 minutes for 12 hours a day. The intent was to simulate movement by agitating the skin. By the end of the study, not a single patient given the electric pants developed any bed sores, which was termed a success. Experts warn however, should we adopt the pants on a larger scale, patients will still need appropriate care from well-trained hospital staff.

I’ll reserve judgment for now and see how it plays out. However, pressure ulcers are a huge issue among the healthcare community. And maybe we need unconventional ideas to shake things up. What do you think?


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