Pants With A Higher Purpose

Smart-e-Pants look like a simple pair of cycling shorts. Talk to Vivian Mushahwar, however, and you’ll learn that a life-changing circuitry of wires lies beneath the shiny spandex.


A U of A research team led by Mushahwar, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and of neuroscience, developed the undergarment to help prevent pressure ulcers, commonly known as bedsores. A serious health complication for people who are confined to a bed due to illness or have reduced mobility or sensation, they are estimated to cost the Canadian health-care system more than $3.5 billion a year.

Electric pants may prevent bed sores

Scientists have developed underwear with built-in electrodes that deliver small electric shocks to combat bed sores in patients who are in a coma or who have injuries that have immobilised them.

At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans on Monday, they reported results from a trial of the "Smart-e-Pants" system, a way to reduce the incidence and costs of treating bed sores – also known as pressure ulcers – by electrically stimulating the buttock muscles of patients.


Smart-e-Pants now being tested in Alberta hospitals

(Alberta) When Landon Catt broke his neck during motocross racing last summer his whole life changed. “Everything below my shoulders is immobilized. I have some feeling, but no movement,” says the 35-year-old man from Stettler, Alberta. He spent the fall of 2011 in the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, and began to learn one of the major risks to his health is the risk of developing pressure ulcers (bedsores).