We mapped brain activity during micturition using functional magnetic resonance imaging with simultaneous recording of urodynamic properties during slow bladder filling and micturition.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
We evaluated 12 healthy female volunteers 20 to 68 years old. Eight subjects could urinate while supine. Meaningful data were obtained on 6 of these subjects. Brain activity was recorded continuously during bladder filling and micturition. Functional magnetic resonance imaging measurements made during the micturition phase were used for the final analysis.
Using group statistics we identified clusters of brain activity in the parahippocampal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus during micturition. At the individual level we also observed activation in the upper pontine region, thalamus and posterior cingulum. In subjects unable to void brain activation was documented in the frontal lobe and posterior cingulate gyrus but not in the pons, thalamus or anterior cingulate gyrus. In 5 subjects we identified a relevant pattern of brain activity during the terminal portion of the filling phase when the patient reported a strong desire to urinate.
This new protocol allows for the localization of brain structures that are active during micturition. Data suggest that additional validation studies are needed. Future studies will test modifications that include more detailed monitoring of bladder sensation, stratifying subjects based on age and gender, and increasing the number of data points by adding subjects and the number of micturitions recorded in a single subject.”
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