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Novel Brain Scan Procedure May Help Doctors Identify Telltale Urinary Symptoms

Kleinhans NM, Yang CC, Strachan ED, Buchwald DS, Maravilla KR. Alterations in connectivity on fMRI with provocation of lower urinary tract symptoms: A MAPP Research Network feasibility study in urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes. J Urol. 2015 Oct 21. pii: S0022-5347(15)05027-2. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.09.092. [Epub ahead of print]

Researchers have developed a novel brain imaging technique that might help clinicians identify pain and urinary symptoms typically associated with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS). The procedure, which is non-invasive, requires that the patient first urinate to completion, and then consume 500 cc of water; 50 minutes later, the patient undergoes resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI). To test the procedure, researchers evaluated 10 sets of female twins; each twin set was discordant for UCPPS-like symptoms, meaning one twin had the symptoms and the other did not. Results of the brain scans demonstrated that this non-invasive procedure could detect differences in brain images for twins with symptoms versus those with no symptoms. The findings suggest that there are differences in how the twins processed urinary sensations that could be detected via brain imaging.