Dr. Cornella describes the research being conducted on urinary incontinence and overactive bladder that include nerve stimulation, adult stem cell research, and tissue engineering research. Dr. Cornella is a gynecologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.
If you are a patient who has urinary incontinence you can be encouraged by all of the research, which is being accomplished today. As an example, nerve modulation or nerve stimulation. There are many studies going on looking at nerve stimulation to help patients who have bladder overactivity or urinary retention.
Another example would be use of adult stem cells for the treatment of the urinary incontinence. Mike Chancellor and other investigators are using muscle precursor cells and injected them into the urethra to increase the resistance of the urethra and thus, decrease tendency toward urinary leakage.
Tony Atala, who is at Case Western Reserve, is doing tissue engineering research. That’s very exciting for patients in mainly the way to actually using their own cells to develop tissues, which can then be placed into the body for the management of prolapse and, in some situations, urinary incontinence.
There is some very exciting research related to bladder overactivity and this may primarily be in elderly patients. There have been studies looking at the brain in terms of functional MRI studies or spec studies and we can actually, the investigators can actually see areas of the brain that light up that may be dysfunctional in patients who have urinary incontinence related to bladder overactivity.
As an example, there have been studies done by Kushell, which show that the inferior right temporal lobe maybe predictive of severity of incontinence and additionally, the intracingulate gyrus may predict both severity and the fact that incontinence exist. So it may be possible to do a scan on the brain and actually predict in a given patient that they may have urinary incontinence.
The benefit of that is that we can, future investigators can actually look at patients, know what parts of the brain are dysfunctional and then begin to try to address that in terms of improving their urinary leakage.