The Problem: Unwanted leakage of urine and bladder voiding dysfunction affects over half of people over age 60, as well as younger adults, and those with spinal cord injury and other neural injuries and diseases. Bladder problems can have a devastating effect: increasing isolation as well as contributing to both falls and kidney dysfunction. Treatments are highly nonspecific, often unsuccessful, and are generally limited to pharmacology, rehabilitation exercises, and surgery, in part because of the non-physiological way in which bladder problems are diagnosed and studied.
In both people and research animals, bladder function is measured by the insertion of catheters in the urethra and the rectum. Water is pumped into the bladder under conditions that do not match normal bladder function. As a result of the non-physiological nature of this diagnostic test, it cannot reliably reproduce patient complaints, missing up to 50% of cases in some patient populations.
Figure 1. Left panel shows current standard urodynamics method in an animal for assessing bladder function. Right panel shows the innovative method enabled by the UroMOCA
The Solution: Dr. Damaser has long been motivated to improve this measurement system, by making the system wireless and catheter-free for use in consciously ambulating people and animals.
The UroMOCA device is designed and sized for research using experimental animals to:
- Measure real-time bladder pressure and volume data wirelessly and catheter-free
- Enable investigations into bladder function of normal & pathological conscious ambulating animals
- Map and develop neurostimulation paradigms for bladder function without anesthesia or catheters, including conditional neuromodulation to initiate as-needed. This neurostimulation can be personalized to each animal or patient.
Figure 2. UroMOCA device.
Figure 3. Time Series Chart.
Impact and Collaborations
The tiny UroMOCA battery can be wirelessly recharged for chronic use, which enables novel therapy development for urinary incontinence and voiding dysfunction. With real-time bladder function data during activities of daily living, treatments can be personalized. After several years of development work to design, prototype, test and troubleshoot the UroMOCA, we are now using it to redefine and map sacral neuromodulation in conscious animals through a SPARC-funded collaboration with MicroLeads and the University of Pittsburgh.