Do Older Adults with Overactive Bladder Demonstrate Impaired Executive Function Compared to Their Peers Without OAB?

Maintaining urinary continence is not an automatic process, but relies on continuous processing of sensory signals from the bladder and suppression of the desire to void. Urinary incontinence (UI) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), including urinary urgency, frequency, and nocturia are highly prevalent among the general population. This prevalence rises in association with increasing age, and this may be in part due to changes in the central nervous system rather than the urinary tract. The aim of this study was to assess if older adults with overactive bladder (OAB) had demonstrable impairment in executive function.

This was a cross-sectional study comparing the performance of adults aged 65 and over with and without OAB on two cognitive tests, the Trail Making Test B (TMT-B) and simple reaction time (SRT). OAB was defined as urgency, with at least weekly urgency incontinence and a daytime urinary frequency of 8 or more. The control group were defined as a Bladder control Self-Assessment Questionnaire (B-SAQ) score of ≤4.

56 participants were recruited, of whom 35 met criteria for OAB. The OAB group took significantly longer to complete the TMT-B than the control group (103s vs. 77s, p = .003). There was no difference in the SRT.

In this sample of older adults, OAB was associated with measurable slower performance on the TMT-B, suggesting that impaired executive function is associated with OAB.

Canadian geriatrics journal : CGJ. 2020 Dec 01*** epublish ***

William Gibson, Asad Makhani, Kathleen F Hunter, Adrian Wagg

Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB., Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

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