Erasmus Urology Research

Brain biomarkers for bladder, bowel and sexual function

There is still a lot unknown about how the brain controls bladder, bowel and sexual function. Our aim is to expand the knowledge of the central control of bladder, bowel and sexual function in healthy volunteers by using functional neuroimaging. Ultra high field functional magnetic resonance imaging (UHF-fMRI) is currently the state-of-the art in functional imaging. We have successfully mapped pelvic floor muscle contraction in individual healthy subjects using UHF-fMRI. Furthermore, we showed that the primary sensory representation of the penis lies on the convexity of the postcentral gyrus in an area that overlaps with the sensory representation of the abdominal wall in single subjects by using UHF-fMRI. These studies in which we used UHF-fMRI have enabled us to locate pelvic floor contraction in men and tactile stimulation of the penis in single subjects more precisely than ever before. Eventually, the goal is to provide neuronal biomarkers of bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction to improve care for patients presenting with such dysfunction.  

People working on the project

Bertil Blok

Bertil Blok

Associate professor Headresearcher

Jeroen Scheepe

Jeroen Scheepe

Headresearcher

Rosa Coolen

Rosa Coolen

MD, PhD candidate

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