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Duquesne University Team Reports Breakthrough in Painful Bladder Syndrome

Dr. Ben Kolber, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University, 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.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.