Saturday, December 03, 2011

Science links genetics and UI

As a caregiver, I pay close attention to the issues that caregivers face - rather I am personally impacted by them or not. One such point that I have found myself researching is urinary incontinence (UI) in adults.

It was actually a surprise to me to discover that urinary incontinence affects approximately 17 million Americans, with an estimated 2 to 3% of adults over the age of 18 having nocturnal enuresis (NE), the nighttime release of urine that requires the use of urinary incontinence products while sleeping. The most surprising discovery that came from my research, however, is the indications that scientific research has determined that some kinds of urinary incontinence may be hereditary.

I had known that there were many factors including health, stress and aging that could lead to urinary incontinence. I also read an article, intended for nurses, during my recent research that indicated some older adults will experience urinary incontinence in a hospital environment despite having no such issues outside of such an environment. I had never before heard, however, that there was a possible hereditary link for urinary incontinence that was discovered in genetics research. Published in The American Society of Human Genetics in 2010, the information indicated that the exact biological function of the gene in question has not yet been characterized, but there is a definite link between the gene and urinary incontinence.