Dr. Hokanson receives funding to investigate neuromodulation therapies for overactive bladder

Dr. Jim HokansonApril 29, 2023

Dr. Jim Hokanson of the Marquette University Medical College of Wisconsin Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering has been awarded a $35,000 New Faculty Pilot Award from the MCW Research Affairs Committee. The project, titled, “Changes in brain and Brainstem fMRI activity during bladder filling with and without tibial nerve stimulation,” seeks to better define how neural stimulation therapies modulate physiology relevant to Overactive Bladder Syndrome.

Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome is characterized by fear of leaking urine (urgency) and is often accompanied by the need to urinate frequently, frequent urination at night, and incontinence. Experienced by approximately 1 in 3 women over the age of 60, OAB is associated with lower quality-of-life, depression, and poorer quality of sleep.

Tibial nerve stimulation is an approved clinical therapy for treating OAB, but it remains unclear how stimulation of an area near the ankle treats bladder dysfunction. This pilot award merges the expertise of brain imaging at MCW with Dr. Hokanson’s neuromodulation experience to understand how tibial nerve stimulation changes brain function. The goal of this work is to better understand how tibial nerve stimulation works so that we might improve its therapeutic efficacy and better understand its limitations.

Dr. Hokanson is an Assistant Professor in the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on electrical stimulation and neuromodulation therapies for urologic function.


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Learn more about this and other neuroengineering and neurorehabilitation research underway in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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