LEDs are known to have beneficial effects on the human body. This ranges from skin treatments to alleviating the effects of SAD and improving your eyesight. But now, a recent article from the World Health website has revealed that an integrated LED device has been developed. It has the potential to improve the lives of people suffering from bladder problems. Keep reading to discover how this amazing little device would (in theory) work!

Implantable LED Device

As published in the journal Nature, an implantable LED device has been created with the hope of treating overactive bladders!

Using the light from the integrated LEDs, it is believed that this device could eventually help humans suffering from bladder issues. Issues such as incontinence, pain, burning, or frequent urges to urinate, without needing to turn to electronic stimulation or medication.

At the moment, electronic stimulation is used to treat people with these conditions by controlling a nerve within the bladder. However, Dr. Robert Gereau explains that this method has some "off target" side effects such as disrupting nerve signals in other organs.

Whilst electronic stimulation is known to work and have its benefits, the development of an implantable LED alternative would bypass these side effects.

Image showing the position of the bladder in the human body

Soft, Tiny & Stretchy

Developed by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, the LED device is described as being "soft, tiny, [and] stretchy" making it ideal for implantation within the human body.

During a small surgical procedure, the device is designed to be fitted around the bladder. Here, it expands and contracts accordingly for the organ as it fills and empties. Now we get to the slightly more complicated part!

After the device has been fitted, opsin proteins are injected into the bladder. These proteins are carried by a virus that binds to organ neurons making those cells sensitive to light. These cells can then be activated using optogenetics (a biological technique that involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue). Bluetooth communication is then used to track the activity of the bladder, allowing for real-time communication based on a simple algorithm.

LED - The Painless Alternative

Not only does LED lighting pose an alternative treatment to bladder over-activity, but there is also scope for developing this method to incorporate larger similar devices for other ailments. According to researchers, it is believed that they could be implanted using catheters instead of surgery to help with issues of chronic pain and to stimulate pancreatic cells to secrete insulin.

The LED device for bladder over-activity has been successful in animal studies. However, Dr. Gereau adds that further studies are required to address certain issues, with early models and trials to fully ensure that the method is safe.

Either way, the innovative capabilities of the LED are certainly awe-inspiring! Mix LEDs with brilliance of Doctors and Medical Researchers and it's clear that real steps to improve the lives of humans can be achieved!

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