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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Light at the end of the sock

Apparently when the skin surface is illuminated with relatively low intensity light it can result in improved wound healing and pain reduction. A recently published study outlines the effects of socks made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) incorporating optically active particles (CelliantTM) on chronic foot pain resulting from diabetic neuropathy or other disorders. A double-blind, randomized trial was conducted with 55 subjects (38 men & 17 women). The group had an average age of 59.7 +/- 11.9 years) and subjects were made up of 26 with diabetic neuropathy and 29 with other painful etiologies. Subjects twice completed the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and SF-36 a week apart (W1+2) before receiving either control (placebo) or CelliantTM socks. The same questionnaires were answered again one and two weeks (W3+4) later. The questionnaires provided nine scores for analyzing pain reduction: one VAS score, two BPI scores, five MPQ scores, and the bodily pain score on the SF-36. Mean W1+2 and W3+4 scores were compared to measure pain reduction. Greater pain reduction was reported by CelliantTM subjects for 8 of the 9 pain questions employed, with a significant (p = 0.043) difference between controls and CelliantTM for McGill question III. In neuropathic subjects, CelliantTM caused more pain reduction in 6 of the 9 questions, but not significantly. In non-neuropathic subjects 8 of 9 questions showed more pain reduction with the CelliantTM socks. The researchers concluded socks with optically modified PET (CelliantTM) appear to have a beneficial impact on chronic foot pain. The mechanism could be related to the effects seen with illumination of tissues with visible and infrared light. Such optically modified fibre is thought to modify the illumination of the skin in the visible and infrared portions of the spectrum, and consequently reduce pain.

Reference
York RM, Gordon IL. 2009 Effect of optically modified polyethylene terephthalate fiber socks on chronic foot pain BMC Complement Altern Med Apr 22;9(1):10.

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