One of most wished for things by SCI sufferers is return of bladder control – it’s getting closer!
When the spinal cord is injured, signals passing up from the bladder cannot tell the brain when the bladder is full. Going the other way, signals from the brain cannot tell the bladder when it is time to go to the toilet. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have devised a solution that uses the nerves still around the bladder.
Electrodes wrapped around bundles of nerves can interpret signals that say the bladder is full. Stimulating other sets of nerves can get the bladder to contract on demand and prevent it emptying of its own volition.
One of the researchers, Dr Daniel Chew, told the BBC the device had worked on rats. “It is very effective. The feasibility studies are done, we’re now limited by miniaturisation of the technology,” he said.