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Brain May Ignore Bladder Signals, Causing Bedwetting
Date:5/28/2008

Study suggests overactive bladder may desensitize brain ,,,,

WEDNESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Much like the boy who cried wolf, a bladder that constantly sends signals to arouse the brain may end up being ignored in its time of greatest need.

That's the theory of Hong Kong researchers who compared the amount of arousal in the cortical area of the brain that occurs during sleep in children with a history of bedwetting to a control group of children. They found that children with a history of night-time accidents, also known as enuresis, had almost twice the number of cortical arousals compared to children who didn't wet the bed.

"We found that children with enuresis have more light sleep associated with frequent cortical arousals, but an inability to awaken completely. We speculate that the transition from light sleep to complete awakening, as elicited by the arousal center, may be paradoxically suppressed by long-term overstimulation by signals from the bladder," the study authors wrote.

The findings are published as a letter to the editor in the May 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the United States, bedwetting is a problem for as many as 5 million children, according to the National Institutes of Health. While there's no set age that children grow out of bedwetting, each year as children grow older, fewer and fewer experience enuresis.

Experts haven't yet pinpointed the exact cause or causes of bedwetting, but they do know that certain factors contribute to the problem.

"We know there's a genetic component. If both parents have a history of bedwetting, there's at least a 70 percent chance that the child will," said Dr. Jeffrey Stock, chief of the division of pediatric urology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Stock said there's also a connection between sleep cycles and bedwetting, and that the reflex that suppresses urine disc
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