CHICAGO, IL (April 22, 2009) – It is estimated that over 200 million people worldwide are affected by incontinence, which is the loss of bladder and/or bowel control. Due to the stigma surrounding this medical condition, incontinence is under-reported, under-served and options are limited for individuals who cannot be cured. Innovating for Continence: The Engineering Challenge held April 6-8, 2009 in Chicago is the second in a biennial series of international conferences hosted by the Simon Foundation for Continence (Chicago, IL). The conferences are designed to stimulate change by bringing together a unique group of stakeholders to encourage fresh thinking on improving the management of incontinence.
For three days engineers from several disciplines, individuals with incontinence, physicians, nurses, caregivers, academics from areas not normally addressing incontinence (but whose science might apply), and executives from 35 companies in the incontinence industry came together to improve the lives of individuals with incontinence.
The conference series is chaired by Alan Cottenden, Ph.D., a world-renowned biomedical engineer and continence expert. Dr. Cottenden is the Technical Director of the Continence and Skin Technology Group, University College London. He told attendees that, “We all need to be doing as much for the people whose incontinence we cannot cure, as we are for the people whose incontinence we can cure.” Currently there is much funded research to discover pharmaceutical and surgical cures for incontinence, but there are many for whom surgery and drugs will not work, or will not work completely. Dr. Cottenden urged attendees to discover new avenues and resources for creating novel products that will improve the quality of life for those who must live with some degree of incontinence.
Innovating for Continence 2009 attracted attendees from Canada, England, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines, Israel, Ireland, and the U.S.A. This year’s conference was sponsored by several major companies whose current medical products provide assistance to people with incontinence: Astellas USA Foundation, C.R. Bard, Inc., Hollister Incorporated, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Laborie Medical Technologies Corporation, SCA Personal Care, American Medical Systems, Inc., and First Quality Enterprises, Inc.