Cash Boost to Middlesex Scientists: New Action Research Study Could Ease Distressing Condition
26 October 2001
An internationally acclaimed research department in Harrow is leading a new study designed to combat the misery of incontinence.
As many as 500,000 people in the UK suffer from problems with controlling their bowels, which accounts for more than one adult in every 100.
Yes, this is an extremely embarrassing and socially restricting problem. But clinical research to assess treatment is remarkably scarce. And funding is hard to secure.
Action Research, a leading medical research charity dedicated to overcoming disease and disability, has committed more than £22,000 to the new one-year project at the Physiology Unit, St Mark’s Hospital, Middlesex. The study will focus on whether electrical stimulation could offer fresh hope as treatment.
Lead researcher Christine Norton, who is a leading expert in the area of incontinence says: ‘This is fantastic news. Patients with this problem cannot and should not be ignored. A commitment to medical research is vital if we are going to end the misery of this problem.’
Last month Action Research called on the public to recognise that incontinence does exist. To coincide with the National Continence Awareness Week, and under the banner Breaking the Taboo, it said incontinence deserves appropriate awareness, research, funding, and even press coverage.
John Grounds, director of Campaigns and Communications at Action Research says: ‘Incontinence not only causes discomfort, it can lead to significant depression, and many people suffer in silence. Thanks to medical research great progress has been made. But there are many milestones still to be reached.’
Action Research is also currently funding four projects into urinary incontinence, totalling more than £250,000. These are part of the charity’s overall commitment to helping people of all ages overcome disease and disability. The charity’s Touching Lives Campaign aims to raise £2m for vital medical research and more details can be found at www.action.org.uk
*Bowel control problems often result from damage to or weakness to the muscles, caused by childbirth or sometimes for no apparent reason.
*It is known that electrical stimulation helps people with bladder control problems (urinary incontinence), but it has never been properly tried with people with bowel problems.
*About 100 patients will be recruited to this new study - which will scientifically evaluate whether electrical stimulation can increase the strength of the muscles of the back passage, and thus improve bowel control.
*If, in the short term, it’s shown to be a useful therapy, it is hoped it will be extended to specialised treatment centres. In the longer term, further studies should be undertaken to test whether the treatment would benefit other groups of patients, for example, older or neurologically impaired patients, such as those affected by strokes.
*The study also includes Professor Michael Kamm, who heads the Physiology Unit, which is internationally renowned for its incontinence work both academically and clinically, and research nurse Angie Gibbs.
For further information and interviews, please contact Nicole Duckworth in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403 Fax: 01403 210541, or email email@example.com ISDN facilities are available.
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