Scientists have recently developed a washable material made of optical fibers that employ battery-operated LEDs. This new material may be used to treat newborns with jaundice. Babies with jaundice (a yellowish skin tone caused by a buildup of bilirubin) are currently treated with light therapy in incubators. If untreated, the toxin accumulation may damage the brain by developing into kernicterus, a more serious condition that can cause further problems such as cerebral palsy. This new textile, which could be manufactured into a romper or sleep sack allowing infants to undergo this treatment while in their mother’s arms, is the first example of phototherapeutic clothing that could become commercially available.
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