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International team gets new award to research the causes of bladder problems that affect one in six adults

An international research project which aims to solve why some people feel the constant need to urinate – a condition that affects one in every six adults - has received a prestigious new £420,000 award from the leading UK–based urology journal and charity BJU International.

Researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have teamed up to take the next steps in a collaborative project that was started in Newcastle upon Tyne and Maastricht by Professor James Gillespie and Dr Gommert Van Koeveringe in 2003. The funding will help them to establish one of Europe’s leading research teams into the subject.

“For many people the constant sensation of needing to go to the bathroom dominates and complicates their life,” explains James Gillespie, who is Professor of Human Physiology in the Medical School at Newcastle University and a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University.

“Studies in the USA and Europe suggest that one in six adults over the age of 40 suffer from an overactive bladder, making it more common than arthritis, heart disease, asthma or diabetes. In many cases the problem is so severe that more than a third of sufferers experience regular and very distressing incontinence.

“The problem becomes even more common with age, with one in two people over 70 being affected. We have to find a way to help all these people.”

“We are delighted to have received the very first BJU International Collaborative Research Award,” adds urologist Dr Van Koeveringe, who is Medical Director of the Pelvic Care Centre at Maastricht University.

“This funding will enable us to bring together teams of scientists and clinicians to develop new concepts which seek to explain the medical reasons why some people feel the constant urge to urinate.

“We hope that this unique combination of expertise and backgrounds will allow us to develop better ways to identify, manage and treat this common and highly distressing condition.”

The BJU International Collaborative Research Award has been established by the peer-review journal, published by Wiley-Blackwell, to enable a university-based research unit in Great Britain or Ireland to collaborate formally with colleagues overseas.

“We decided to award the grant to Professor Gillespie and Dr Van Koeveringe because we are confident that their research will progress the understanding and management of a medical condition that affects a large number of people worldwide,” says Professor Christopher Woodhouse, Chairman of BJU International.

“It is a subject that is of particular concern to urologists and one that has been shown to cause considerable distress, anxiety and reduced quality of life for the patients they see on a daily basis.”

Two dozen projects met the stringent conditions and demanding criteria laid down by BJU International, with the winning bid chosen from a wide range of entries submitted from across Europe and the USA.

Annette Whibley | alfa
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