Project: Research project

Project Details


TRANSLUMBOSACRAL NEUROMODULATION THERAPY FOR FECAL INCONTINENCE: RANDOMIZED TRIAL PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT: Fecal Incontinence (FI) affects 40 million Americans, predominantly women and elderly. It is a major health care burden, significantly impairs quality of life and psychosocial function. FI is characterized by multifactorial dysfunction that includes lumbosacral neuropathy, anorectal sensori-motor dysfunction, and maladaptive pelvic floor-brain innervation. A critical barrier to progress in the treatment of FI is the lack of randomized controlled trials, absence of mechanistically based non- invasive therapies that modify disease, and a lack of understanding on how treatments affect pathophysiology of FI, as highlighted by experts at a recent NIDDK workshop. Consequently, most current remedies remain ineffective. Our long-term goal is to address the problem of lack of effective treatments for FI by investigating treatments that modulate peripheral and central neuronal perturbations and thereby improve sensory and visceromotor control, and to understand the neurobiologic basis of these treatments. Our central hypothesis is that a novel, non-invasive treatment consisting of Translumbosacral Neuromodulation Therapy (TNT), using repetitive magnetic stimulation, will significantly improve FI in the short-term and long-term, by enhancing neural excitability and inducing neuroplasticity, and thereby provide a multidimensional therapeutic benefit. Our approach is based on compelling preliminary study which showed that TNT at 1 Hz frequency, significantly improved FI, by enhancing bidirectional gut and brain signaling, anal sphincter strength and rectal sensation compared to 5 or 15 Hz. Our objectives are to 1) investigate the efficacy, safety and optimal dose of a new treatment, TNT, in a sham controlled, randomized dose- dependent study in 132 FI patients; 2) determine the mechanistic basis for TNT by assessing the efferent spino-anorectal and afferent pelvic floor-brain signaling, and anorectal sensori-motor function; 3) identify the durability of treatment response and neuromodulatory effects of TNT, and whether reinforcement TNT provides augmented improvement through enhanced adaptive neuroplasticity, by performing a long-term, sham controlled randomized trial. Our expected outcomes include the demonstration of TNT as a durable, efficacious, safe, mechanistically based, non-invasive, and low risk treatment for FI. The impact of our project includes a novel, disease modifying, non-invasive treatment for FI, a scientific basis for the development of this treatment, and improved understanding of the pathophysiology of FI and the neurobiologic mechanism(s) of how TNT modifies bidirectional gut and brain axes and anorectal function. Ultimately, the knowledge generated by this project will provide new avenues for the development of innovative, evidence-based therapies for FI.
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