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New incontinence research funding to benefit millions

Visit  Age Concern website Visit  Help the Aged website

2 July 2009

Research into Ageing, the medical research arm of Age Concern and Help the Aged, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are joining forces to fund new research into incontinence, a condition which affects around three million people in the UK.

The collaboration has so far seen four research projects receive funding into a wide range of studies, from practical modifications to catheters, to projects addressing the basic biology of the bladder and bowel.

According to the Department of Health, incontinence is second only to dementia as the reason why older people enter residential care. Many people can effectively become house bound which can lead to social isolation and depression. Yet due to the nature of the condition and the ‘taboo’ surrounding it, it receives very little awareness and subsequently funding for research into possible preventions and cures.

The unique collaboration between the older people’s charity and the Government research council aims to both raise awareness about the condition as well as providing funding for key medical research.

Professor James Goodwin of Research into Ageing, the medical research arm of Age Concern and Help the Aged, commented:
"Despite affecting millions of older people, public awareness about incontinence is minimal. Equally, in research quarters, it is often overlooked in favour of more ‘fashionable’ illnesses. The collaboration between Research into Ageing and the BBSRC is therefore an important step in the right direction as it will fund some really exciting research projects, but perhaps more importantly also raise awareness about incontinence, which can so severely affect a person’s quality of life."

Commenting on the new funding, Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said: "It is well documented that our population is ageing, but little is known about why some people enjoy a healthy old age, while others suffer terribly and this is where fundamental bioscience plays an important role in providing some answers. Incontinence is an embarrassing and debilitating condition, we hope that our collaboration with Age Concern and Help the Aged will result in scientists gaining a better understanding of the biological causes of incontinence and thus pave the way for effective solutions."


About Research into Ageing

Research into Ageing, the medical research arm of Age Concern and Help the Aged, funds research into the causes, prevention and treatment of diseases and disabilities that become more common with age. In order to continue and extend this important research, it urgently needs funds. To donate to Research into Ageing please call 0207 239 1984.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Andrew Walker
tel: 0207 239 1934


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382