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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust are looking for volunteers to provide urine samples to help them develop an odour detector which could help millions of people with incontinence.

The BioMed Centre at the Bristol Urological Institute, based in Southmead Hospital, are testing the device which smells urine before the human nose and alerts the sufferer by changing colour.

The small piece of plastic is being designed to be worn on a watch, key ring, bracelet or wallet.

The BioMed Centre need samples of urine to analyse the chemicals that produce smell for the odour detector.

For each sample, participants will receive a £10 Marks and Spencer's voucher.

The device is being developed by the University of the West of England and Brunel University.

When it is developed, the BioMed Centre will then ask urology patients to try out the device to see if it works.

The BioMed Centre is also testing out 'smart underwear' which detects leakage from incontinence pads and alerts the wearer by sending a signal to a buzzer attached to the top of their underwear which vibrates. 

This device is being developed by the University of Manchester and Brunel University.

There are also plans for the signal to be sent through text message to a mobile phone.

The BioMed Centre is looking for people with incontinence to take part in testing the device.

It is hoped the two devices will help people with incontinence lead independent lives and have more confidence to manage their condition by alerting them quickly when their pads need changing.

They will also help carers of the elderly recognise more quickly that pads, clothing or bedding need changing.

Adele Long, director of the BioMed Centre, said: "People with continence difficulties are most worried about leakage and odour. 

"These fears are often unfounded and can stop people from enjoying a normal social and working life.

"These devices will help make older people feel more confident in the knowledge that if they have a problem they can do something about it before anyone else notices.

"We are pleased to be part of this exciting project and we hope that it provides the breakthrough to help people who have difficulties with bladder control lead the life that they want and deserve."

The research initiatives are part of the 'Tackling ageing continence through theory, tools and technology' project.

The £1.6 million project is funded by all of the Research Councils through the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. 

People who are interested in finding out more about the trials can contact Maryann Slack by email maryann.slack@nbt.nhs.uk or on 0117 323 5188.

Notes to editor:

The 'Tackling ageing continence through theory, tools and technology' project is led by the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies

Research is being carried out by teams at Brunel University, The Royal College of Art, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Bristol Urological Institute and the University of the West of England.

For more information or interviews contact Aleisha Scott, press office, North Bristol NHS Trust on 0117 3403711 or 07872 418315.