Tim Brunson DCH

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Mind-body (hypnotherapy) treatment of women with urgency urinary incontinence...



Full title: Mind-body (hypnotherapy) treatment of women with urgency urinary incontinence: changes in brain attentional networks.

BACKGROUND: Prior study of patients with urgency urinary incontinence by functional magnetic resonance imaging showed altered function in areas of the brain associated with interoception and salience and with attention. Our randomized controlled trial of hypnotherapy for urgency urinary incontinence demonstrated marked improvement in urgency urinary incontinence symptoms at 2 months. A subsample of these women with urgency urinary incontinence underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging before and after treatment. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine if hypnotherapy treatment of urgency urinary incontinence compared with pharmacotherapy was associated with altered brain activation or resting connectivity on functional magnetic resonance imaging. STUDY DESIGN: A subsample of women participating in a randomized controlled trial comparing hypnotherapy vs pharmacotherapy for treatment of urgency urinary incontinence was evaluated with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Scans were obtained pretreatment and 8 to 12 weeks after treatment initiation. Brain activation during bladder filling and resting functional connectivity with an empty and partially filled bladder were assessed. Brain regions of interest were derived from those previously showing differences between healthy controls and participants with untreated urgency urinary incontinence in our prior work and included regions in the interoceptive and salience, ventral attentional, and dorsal attentional networks. RESULTS: After treatment, participants in both groups demonstrated marked improvement in incontinence episodes (P<.001). Bladder-filling task functional magnetic resonance imaging data from the combined groups (n=64, 30 hypnotherapy, 34 pharmacotherapy) demonstrated decreased activation of the left temporoparietal junction, a component of the ventral attentional network (P<.01) compared with baseline. Resting functional connectivity differed only with the bladder partially filled (n=54). Compared with pharmacotherapy, hypnotherapy participants manifested increased functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a component of the dorsal attentional network (P<.001). CONCLUSION: Successful treatment of urgency urinary incontinence with both pharmacotherapy and hypnotherapy was associated with decreased activation of the ventral (bottom-up) attentional network during bladder filling. This may be attributable to decreased afferent stimuli arising from the bladder in the pharmacotherapy group. In contrast, decreased ventral attentional network activation associated with hypnotherapy may be mediated by the counterbalancing effects of the dorsal (top-down) attentional network.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 May;224(5):498.e1-498.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.10.041. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

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