Wanted for a clinical trial: Women who can urinate while lying on their backs
I’ve brought you news of a woman giving birth in an MRI for science, which followed a description of an orgasm in an MRI and a couple having sex in such a device. (These studies, it should be noted, all involved different people.) Today I bring you the story of researchers who filled an obvious void in this research: A study of women peeing while in an MRI.
The study, “A Preliminary Report on the Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Simultaneous Urodynamics to Record Brain Activity During Micturition,” was published last week in the Journal of Urology. Micturition, as you probably guessed, is a synonym for urination. What caught my eye was this, from the abstract:
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.
Supine, as readers may know, means lying on your back. The mnemonic they taught us in medical school, to distinguish supine from prone, was to think of a soup spoon.
I tried to reach the corresponding author of the study to find out how common it is for women to be able to urinate while supine. (A urologist friend of mine, in what can only be described as an “are you kidding?” email, said it was unclear.) If it isn’t common, how hard was it to recruit subjects for this study? If I hear back, I’ll update.
The authors used a catheter to measure pressures in the bladder, and scanned the women’s brains with the fMRI to see areas were active. They conclude:
fMRI combined with urodynamics shows great potential to elucidate the central neuroregulation of lower urinary tract function. The activation of the frontal lobe, cingulate gyrus, temporal lobe and parietal lobe that we observed during micturition agree with the current concept of central neuroregulation of micturition. Given that our current understanding of brain activity during micturition is based only on animal experiments and PET in humans, the current findings represent a significant contribution to our knowledge. Our data suggest that increasing the number of recordings and monitoring bladder sensation in a more detailed manner are necessary to make this experimental protocol feasible.
So, women, if you can pee while lying on your backs, give Thomayer Teaching Hospital, in Prague, a call. Seems they’ll be doing more of this research.
As my urologist source said: This one is really thinking outside of the commode.