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Science Tuesday, October 16th 2012 at 5:05 pm

Electric Underwear Could Fight Bedsores By Shocking Your Butt

While it may sound like a kind of joke ailment, bedsores are no laughing matter. The sores, which result from inactivity in hospital patients, can ulcerate and become infected, and the condition is thought to be responsible for tens of thousands of preventable deaths worldwide every year. So, no laughing at bedsores. What you can probably laugh at safely is the latest treatment for bedsores: Smart-E-Pants, a pair of electric underwear that prevents the sores from developing in the first place by delivering miniscule jolts of electricity to keep the muscles of your butt in motion.

Bedsores develop when too much pressure is consistently put on the the bony areas of the hip, thigh, and gluteus, and are quite common among bedridden and chronically ill patients. The sores can be irritating, painful, and make great vectors for more serious diseases to invade the body. The battery powered Smart-E-Pants system delivers a minor, ten second long electric shock to the gluteal muscles, once every ten minutes for twelve hours a day, stimulating the muscles in the butt and upper leg. That stimulation causes the muscles to contract, relieving the pressure and making it harder for bedsores to take shape.

Developed by researchers at the University of Alberta, the electric underpants just wrapped up their first trials with rather encouraging results. Over a span of two months, the 33 patients who wore the underwear developed no bedsores. Considering the condition often begins within just days of being admitted to the hospital, that’s a pretty glowing endorsement. Most test subjects reported the underwear — which fits more like bike shorts than boxers — to be pretty comfortable as well, which we do have a bit of a hard time believing. Unless it’s “comfortable compared to bedsores,” which may be the very definition of damning with faint praise.

(via New Scientist)

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