Earlier this week, the IOA welcomed Visiting Scholar, Neil Resnick, MD to discuss Geriatrics: From Bedside to Bench to Policy – Singing a Single Song in Separate Keys. Dr. Resnick, Thomas Detre Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine; Associate Director, Aging Institute of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Senior Services and University of Pittsburg; and Director, Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatrics, focused his talk mainly around his research on urinary incontinence in older adults and the myths surrounding this geriatric syndrome.
Myth #1: Urinary incontinence is a normal consequence of aging.
Myth #2: Urinary incontinence is inevitable in the demented, frail, and elderly.
Myth #3: Urinary incontinence is less treatable in the elderly.
During a brief interview, Dr. Resnick addressed these myths and explains how he and his colleagues work to treat, and ultimately cure, the burden of urinary incontinence in older adults.
Dr. Resnick explains that, according to his years of research, incontinence is never normal, regardless of age, even in those with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Aging does not cause the symptoms, but merely predisposes the individual and makes them more vulnerable to this syndrome. Therefore, it is not untreatable, as long as you can determine what is setting the stage for the development of incontinence. In younger people, the cause of incontinence is almost always due to the diseased organ, however, in older people this is rarely the case. Instead, the reason can be as simple as a medication or an injury or issue unrelated to the urinary tract.
Another important facet of his research is the realization that this treatment approach can be applied to a variety of other areas in geriatrics such as memory impairment, syncope, fall risks, and depression among others. The idea behind this unified approach is that, regardless of the condition, to properly treat or cure it you must detect any and all outside issues or factors such as medication, other diseased organs, or functional and sensory impairment, rule them out as the cause, and then proceed by addressing the organ-specific issues if still necessary.