North Georgia physical therapy group chosen to present papers at international conference in ChinaJune 13 | Posted by editor | Lumpkin, News Tags: North Georgia College & State University
Dahlonega, GA – A group of four students and one professor from North Georgia College & State University’s Department of Physical Therapy has been chosen to present research on combating Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)—a condition affecting one out of every three women—at the annual meeting of the International Continence Society, held this year in Beijing, China, in October.
“It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to take part in such innovative research and to have the chance to share what we’ve learned on an international scale,” Lauren Shank, one of the student researchers, said. “The most exciting part about this experience is the impact our research has had on my clinical outlook and could have on the future of women’s health.”
Students Amy Bearinger, Brittany Cobb, Michael Gevontmakher, Shank, and Dr. Ruth Maher, associate professor of physical therapy, will attend the four-day conference and present two papers on their research to reduce the symptoms of SUI.
Each year, a scientific committee reviews submitted papers to select those to be presented at the conference. This year, 982 papers were submitted, and only 252 were chosen—including both submitted by Maher and her group of students.
“This is a multidisciplinary organization representing many disciplines including physicians, surgeons, nurses, physicists, physical therapists, bio-engineers and scientists,” Maher said.
The team explored methods of enhancing a woman’s ability to perform at-home exercises found to effectively strengthen pelvic muscles, reducing symptoms of SUI in 80 percent of women when performed correctly. Research has shown that 50 percent of women, when given only verbal instruction, performed the exercise incorrectly, which can lead to exacerbation of symptoms. They also studied the results of a biofeedback device—a tool designed to help women perform the exercises correctly—and found the device did not achieve advertised results, and could actually worsen symptoms.
“It is a great privilege to be chosen among so many who applied and we are so excited to teach what we have learned to many schools while we are in China,” Bearinger said. “Researching women’s health has sparked a new passion in my endeavors to become a physical therapist.”