Doug DeWalt in his Bexford Road home with his U.S. patent and two of the lamps he designed.
Doug DeWalt has been awarded a patent for a lamp that is designed to help people afflicted with psoriasis, a skin disorder, or multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease of the central nervous system.
"It is a UV lamp that is a unique mid-band range of UV-B light," DeWalt said. "For those familiar with therapeutic lighting, narrow band was developed by Phillips, and is part of their multi-million-dollar medical lighting business. I have done a similar thing with my own mid-band range of light. It is a more therapeutic form of light that has the potential to treat psoriasis and Vitamin D (deficiencies). I took sunlight and amplified the part that has therapeutic benefits, and further amplified it more."
"If you have low vitamin D, you have all kinds of problems, including an increased chance of being diagnosed with cancer, and a decreased chance of remission," he said. "This lamp helps people who cannot absorb the supplements."
"Even if you get sunlight outside, the sun has to be high enough ... you have to be taller than your shadow," DeWalt said. "If your shadow is taller than you, you will not be absorbing Vitamin D."
DeWalt said there appears to be a connection between vitamin D deficiencies and an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).
"If you live in Orkney, Scotland, and happen to be a woman, you have a 1 in 300 chance of becoming diagnosed with MS," he said. "If you live in an equatorial nation [where the sun is higher in the sky], that rate drops to 1 in 30,000. That is how I got started on this."
"I had a neighbor who had MS, and we had a babysitter who was recently diagnosed with MS at the age of 18," DeWalt said. "I saw that as a mystery to me. When I started to look, I saw people all around me coming down with MS. I think that has to do with the way we live nowadays; we are indoors a lot more than when I was a child."
A graduate of the College of Wooster, DeWalt spent more than 3,000 hours developing the lamp. He quit his job in November 2013 and established Rayminder to make and market the lamp. DeWalt said he hopes the U.S. patent will lead to clinical trials. He also intends to seek U.S Food and Drug Administration approval of the device.