When you are at work, at school, or maybe while you are outside, it gets annoying when you feel the need to pee but can't find a toilet anywhere. Or maybe you are suffering from an overactive bladder which induces you to constantly go to the bathroom and you just don't want to deal with the interruptions in your schedule. It seems researchers may have found a possible solution to rein in your bladder.
A new soft, wireless implant may someday help people who suffer from overactive bladder get through the day with fewer bathroom breaks.
The implant harnesses a technique for controlling cells with light, known as optogenetics, to regulate nerve cells in the bladder. In experiments in rats with medication-induced overactive bladders, the device alleviated animals’ frequent need to pee, researchers report online January 2 in Nature.
Although optogenetics has traditionally been used for manipulating brain cells to study how the mind works, the new implant is part of a recent push to use the technique to tame nerve cells throughout the body. Similar optogenetic implants could help treat disease and dysfunction in other organs, too.
(Image credit: Sang Min Won/Science News)