Austrian scientists have used muscle stem cells as a treatment for urinary incontinence in women. Stress incontinence affects 15 million people, mostly women, around the world. It occurs when the sphincter muscles around the urethra become weak or diminished. Now a team from the Medical University of Innsbruck has found that cells taken from women’s arms and then cultivated and injected in a brief operation replicate nearby cells. “Not only do they stay where they are injected,” says Dr Ferdinand Frauscher, “but also they quickly form new muscle tissue and when the muscle mass reaches the appropriate size, the cell growth ceases automatically.” A year after the procedure, 18 of the 20 women tested remain continent.
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