Dr. Ben Kolber, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium, and his team have made a breakthrough in their research of painful bladder syndrome (PBS).
Kolber and his team have discovered a direct link between PBS and the amygdala, an almond-sized area in the brain linked to regulating emotions and stress reactions. In The Journal of Neuroscience, the team’s results showed that stimulating the right amygdala can increase the body’s receptive responses to bladder distention. The team’s research suggests that a pharmacological blockage of this stimulation will reduce PBS symptoms and help the lives of millions.
“This work is exciting because it suggests an important connection between centers of the brain that regulate emotion and the physiological responses to bladder pain,” Kolber said. “We hope that this research, and the work of others in the field, will highlight the critical need to understand both the sensory and psychological impact of chronic pain on a patient’s life.”
PBS causes frequent bathroom trips coupled with chronic pain and may be linked to stress, depression and autoimmune disease. The syndrome affects between 4.7 and 9.4 million women in the U.S. alone.