Atopic eczema – a disease characterised by bedtime itching – affects a fifth of children worldwide. But the irritated skin and split earlobes it causes could be soothed by a new high-tech duvet.
Developed by engineering students at the Technical University of Denmark, the anti-itch duvet combines Nasa technology with elements of ADHD treatment.
In 2010, Nasa developed Outlast, a material that maintains a thermoneutral environment by recording, storing and releasing heat. This is used in the duvet alongside a theory – developed while experimenting with ADHD treatments – which shows that pressure on the skin can block signals in the body’s neural pathways.
Simone Nielsen, one of the students behind the duvet, said she and her team initially looked at how diet and creams can alleviate atopic eczema symptoms.
“We decided on the duvet because one of the main reasons for skin irritation and thus itching in children with atopic eczema is that duvets can’t be warm enough without becoming too warm at certain times during the night,” she explained.
“The skin sweats at temperatures above 30 degrees and when that happens it causes the skin irritation to flare up. Consequently, many sufferers find that the problem is greatest at night and that it disrupts their sleep.”