Breaking News
April 20, 2019 - Parenteral Antimicrobial Tx at Home Burdens Children’s Caregivers
April 20, 2019 - Diabetes treatment may keep dementia, Alzheimer’s at bay
April 20, 2019 - New bandage-like biosensor collects and analyzes sweat
April 20, 2019 - A comprehensive, centralized database of bovine milk compounds
April 20, 2019 - Two new epigenetic regulators maintain self-renewal of embryonic stem cells
April 20, 2019 - New Evidence That Veggies Beat Steak for Heart Health
April 20, 2019 - Study reveals genes associated with heavy drinking and alcoholism
April 20, 2019 - Texas A&M AgriLife becomes the newest member of NutriRECS international consortium
April 20, 2019 - In most states, insurance won’t cover addiction treatments
April 20, 2019 - Computer-based memory games may be beneficial for individuals with fragile X syndrome
April 20, 2019 - Timing of food intake influences molecular clock in the liver of mice
April 20, 2019 - Precise decoding of breast cancer cells paves way for new treatment option
April 20, 2019 - Scientists use 3D imaging to help model complex processes performed by placenta
April 20, 2019 - MediciNova Announces Plans to Move Forward with a Phase 3 Trial of MN-166 (ibudilast) in ALS
April 20, 2019 - Genetic variants that protect against obesity could aid new weight loss medicines
April 20, 2019 - New technology developed for microscopic imaging in living organisms
April 20, 2019 - when quitting cigarettes, consider using more nicotine, not less
April 20, 2019 - Key proteins can block Listeria without triggering the death of host cells
April 20, 2019 - Researchers create a working model of cerebral tract to study brain function
April 20, 2019 - New study shows that microbes can help break toxic chemical in dust
April 20, 2019 - Scientists use NIR light and injected DNA nanodevice to guide stem cells to injury
April 20, 2019 - Microbial Features ID’d for Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome
April 20, 2019 - Study reveals patterns of drug intoxication deaths, organ donors across the US
April 20, 2019 - Scientists deploy CRISPR gene-editing tool to engineer multiple edits
April 20, 2019 - AHA News: Here’s How Middle-Aged People — Especially Women — Can Avoid a Heart Attack
April 20, 2019 - Charcot foot: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
April 20, 2019 - France to ban popular breast implants over cancer risk: media
April 20, 2019 - Researchers explore whether time of day can affect the body’s response to physical exertion
April 20, 2019 - CPAP brings longer life for obese people with sleep apnea: Study
April 20, 2019 - New discovery transforms conventional microfluidics into open-space microfluidics
April 20, 2019 - An accurate estimation of the overall cost of bacterial resistance in French hospitals during 2015 and 2016
April 20, 2019 - ‘PRO-cision Medicine’ approach helps personalize care for patients with cancer
April 19, 2019 - TG Therapeutics Receives Orphan Drug Designation for Umbralisib from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the Treatment of Marginal Zone Lymphoma
April 19, 2019 - Screen time—even before bed—has little impact on teen well-being: study
April 19, 2019 - Cytosurge’s first FluidFM User Conference
April 19, 2019 - New study finds that previously described differences among endoscopists are not true
April 19, 2019 - Study compares effectiveness and cost of gene therapy and HSCT in major beta-thalassemia
April 19, 2019 - Scientific breakthrough provides new hope for people living with multiple sclerosis
April 19, 2019 - New Virtual Reality Therapy game could offer relief for patients with chronic pain, mobility issues
April 19, 2019 - Emergency medicine doctors find better way to treat severe epileptic seizures in children
April 19, 2019 - MedlinePlus: Cholesterol Good and Bad
April 19, 2019 - For busy medical students, two-hour meditation study may be as beneficial as longer course
April 19, 2019 - Music therapy helps young patients feel better
April 19, 2019 - Molecular target UNC45A is essential for cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth
April 19, 2019 - Crackling and wheezing could be the sounds of a progressing lung disease
April 19, 2019 - Key research takeaways from ECCMID 2019
April 19, 2019 - AI Can Identify Model of Cardiac Rhythm Device From Chest X-Ray
April 19, 2019 - New way to combat childhood anxiety: treat the parents
April 19, 2019 - Women getting C-sections best judge of own pain medication needs | News Center
April 19, 2019 - Light-intensity physical activity associated with healthy brain aging
April 19, 2019 - Immune responses that prevent fungal infections may eliminate Trichinella spiralis
April 19, 2019 - Exercising in the morning, rather than at night, may yield better results, shows study
April 19, 2019 - Why eating ‘right’ could cause you to stray from your diet
April 19, 2019 - Health Tip: Antidepressant Precautions – MedNews
April 19, 2019 - Bigger portions lead to preschoolers eating more over time
April 19, 2019 - Specific strains of Staphylococcus aureus linked to wounds that do not heal
April 19, 2019 - Morning exercise may burn more calories
April 19, 2019 - Nominations invited for prestigious awards at Pittcon Conference & Expo 2020
April 19, 2019 - Revolutionary discovery paves new way for treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis
April 19, 2019 - Drug that treats high blood pressure shows promise against neurodegenerative diseases
April 19, 2019 - More care is needed for patients after kidney transplantations, reports research
April 19, 2019 - Virtual reality offers benefits for Parkinson’s disease patients
April 19, 2019 - Liver Illness Strikes Latino Children Like A ‘Silent Tsunami’
April 19, 2019 - Disruptive behaviors in autistic children linked to reduced brain connectivity
April 19, 2019 - New insights into how vitamin D affects immune system
April 19, 2019 - Microfluidic-based drug screening chip identifies antibiotic interactions in eight hours
April 19, 2019 - Research sheds light on how hepatitis B virus establishes chronic infection
April 19, 2019 - New scoring system based on genetic markers predicts obesity risk at birth
April 19, 2019 - Pfizer Announces Presentation of Data from a Phase 2 Study of its 20-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Candidate Being Investigated for the Prevention of Invasive Disease and Pneumonia in Adults Aged 18 Years and Older
April 19, 2019 - Exercise can improve non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
April 19, 2019 - Phasefocus to launch new cell imaging system
April 19, 2019 - KZFPs play a key role in the regulation of human genome
April 19, 2019 - DWK Life Sciences offers Workflow Solutions to improve productivity
April 19, 2019 - Bedfont wins 2nd accolade at the South East FSB Awards 2019
April 19, 2019 - Extracts of ginkgo seeds show antibacterial activity on pathogens that cause skin infections
April 19, 2019 - Groundbreaking experiment in pigs challenges the notion about brain damage
April 19, 2019 - Improving the quality of digital pathology imaging
April 19, 2019 - Scientists get closer to injecting artificial lymph nodes into people to fight disease
April 19, 2019 - Exercises and swimming goggles may reduce adverse effects on eye during long spaceflights
April 19, 2019 - Review suggests a reciprocal relationship between obesity and self-control
NSF offers grant to improve treatment approaches for pelvic organ prolapse

NSF offers grant to improve treatment approaches for pelvic organ prolapse

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Is it normal to pee a little when you laugh?

It’s a simple question many women ask, and as a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence in women is surprisingly common. However, it can also accompany a related and more debilitating disorder known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition characterized by the abnormal descent of the female pelvic organs.

Though not life-threatening, pelvic organ prolapse affects half of all women over the age of 50 and is notoriously difficult to treat; surgery is often the only viable option, but success rates are low, with 30 percent of women requiring additional procedures. Many of these pelvic reconstructive surgeries also utilize surgical mesh, a controversial material that comes with its own set of problems.

With a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech researcher Raffaella De Vita hopes to address those problems – and improve overall treatment approaches and outcomes for pelvic organ prolapse.

An associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics within the College of Engineering, De Vita will use animal models to study both the passive and active properties of the uterosacral ligaments, a group of tissues and structures that are predominantly responsible for supporting a woman’s uterus, cervix, and vagina. Yizheng Zhu, an assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will also serve a key role on the grant by developing imaging systems to quantify ligament cell and tissue deformation under various load conditions.

“Before we can address issues with current pelvic organ prolapse treatments, we first need to take a closer look at healthy uterosacral ligament tissue,” said De Vita. “What are the mechanical properties of these tissues when they’re functioning normally within the body?”

That knowledge will help researchers develop new tissue models that can dramatically transform prolapse prevention and treatment, leading to the development of new stretching routines (known as Kegel exercises), surgical reconstruction guidelines, and even responsive mesh grafts that can be used in POP repair.

The team also hopes to raise awareness about the need for further research on the disorder – and ease lingering public stigma associated with the condition.

“Pelvic organ prolapse is extremely overlooked,” said Alyssa Huntington, an engineering mechanics doctoral student who studies cellular-level aspects of the project. “The proportion of the population that’s affected by it versus the proportion of research being conducted on it is vastly different.”

In women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, damaged uterosacral ligament tissues and structures cause the reproductive organs to fall out of place. In severe cases, this descent can even cause the vagina or uterus to protrude outside of the body. Daily symptoms include discomfort and heaviness in the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse, difficulty using the restroom, and the onset of other symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction (such as urinary and fecal incontinence).

And that’s just the half of it.

“Pelvic organ prolapse carries a lot of physical considerations, but it’s more debilitating psychologically,” said De Vita. “It comes with a lot of anxiety and this idea of not feeling good about your body, and many women suffering from this condition also experience depression. It diminishes a woman’s overall quality of life.”

Physicians and researchers don’t know exactly what causes pelvic organ prolapse, but they can point to a set of risk factors. Older women and those who have given birth to three or more children tend to experience POP at higher rates, and smoking, obesity, and heavy weightlifting can also increase the risk.

However, researchers can’t quite explain why some women develop pelvic organ prolapse and others don’t.

“We hope our research can produce objective criteria that rely on evidence,” said De Vita. “Can we say that based on what we know about mechanical properties of healthy ligaments, certain women are more likely to develop prolapse, and then give appropriate recommendations for prevention?”

One important focus of De Vita’s research will be the development of surgical mesh that can be used effectively in pelvic reconstructive surgeries. Because traditional mesh grafts don’t expand and contract alongside organs and tissue, they often cause serious problems within the body, including pain, infection, and even organ perforation.

Eventually, the team would like to create an active mesh for pelvic organ prolapse that’s patient-specific, one that not only moves along with internal tissues but could also accommodate different mechanical properties depending on the needs of different women.

It’s that real-world impact and the avoidance of a one-size-fits-all approach that first attracted biomedical engineering doctoral student Kandace Donaldson to the project – and to Virginia Tech.

“I’m definitely passionate about this area, and when I was looking at graduate schools and labs I wanted to work with, I was focused on social impact,” said Donaldson, who works on tissue-level aspects of the project.

“The proportion of the population that stands to be helped by this research is just huge,” she said.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles