A decade of functional brain imaging applied to bladder control



Over the last 10 years functional brain imaging has emerged as the most powerful technique for studying human brain function. Although the literature is now vast, including studies of every imaginable aspect of cortical function, the number of studies that have been carried out examining brain control of bladder function is relatively limited. Nevertheless those that have been reported have transformed our thinking. This article reviews that development in the context of emerging ideas of interoception and a working model of brain activity during bladder filling and emptying is proposed. Some studies have also been carried out using functional imaging methods to examine pathophysiological bladder conditions or the effect of treatments and these are reviewed and future work anticipated. Neurourol. Urodynam. 29: 49–55, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.