US scientists have developed a small implantable device that can prevent patients with bladder problems from using drugs or electronic stimulators.
The study, published on Wednesday in Nature magazine, described a soft device that could detect excessive bladder activity and use the light of biointegrated LEDs to control the need for urination.
According to researchers from the University of Washington, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of the North West, the device worked on laboratory mice suffering from incontinence or who often feel the urge to wet and one day could be used in humans.
Previously, those with severe bladder problems are treated with stimulators that send an electrical current into the nerve that controls the bladder, but it can also stop the normal nerve signal to other organs.
The researchers implanted a device similar to a soft and elastic belt around the bladder. As the bladder is full and empty, the belt expands and contracts.
They also injected proteins called opsins in the bladder of the animal, making the nerve cells in the bladder sensitive to external light signals.
"When the bladder empties too often, the external device sends a signal that activates the micro-LEDs in the bladder depot device, and then the lights shine on the sensory neurons of the bladder," said Robert Gero. University of Washington, one of the studies. senior researchers
"This reduces the activity of sensory neurons and restores the normal function of the bladder," said Gero.
According to researchers, it is likely that human devices are implanted without surgery, using catheters to put them through the urethra in the bladder.