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University of Iowa News Release

April 12, 2005

Note: This release originally was distributed Nov. 8, 2004. Eligible participants still are welcome to the study.

Volunteers Sought For Chronic Constipation Study

People ages 15 to 75 who have chronic constipation are invited to participate in a University of Iowa study of the effectiveness of home-based biofeedback therapy, compared to clinic-based biofeedback therapy, to treat the condition. The study also will investigate whether home-based biofeedback is more cost-effective than clinic-based training.

Eligible participants must have at least two of the following symptoms with 25 percent of their bowel movements over a three-month period: stool frequency of two or fewer times a week, hard stools, excessive straining, feeling of incomplete evacuation, feeling of blockage or need for digital maneuvers to defecate.

People taking stable doses of antidepressants are eligible for the study. Women who are pregnant and people who have irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative and Crohn's colitis are not eligible to participate. People between the ages of 15 and 17 will need parental or guardian consent.

Participants will be asked to make four to six visits to UI Hospitals and Clinics over approximately three months. All eligible participants will receive biofeedback therapy and will randomly be assigned to one of two biofeedback treatment groups: home-based or clinic-based.

Compensation will be provided for time and travel. In addition, some study-related training, clinic visits and testing will be free of charge. Costs related to initial evaluation (physician fees and diagnostic tests), which will be needed in most cases, will be billed to the participant's insurance carrier and not paid for by the study, as this is standard of care.

The biofeedback technique that will be used was pioneered in large part at the UI. The technique involves making people more aware of unconscious or involuntary bodily functions involved in defecation and includes the use of a probe as well as visual and verbal feedback techniques so that individuals may relearn the normal process of having a bowel movement.

The study is being led by Satish S.C. Rao, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

For more information, contact Megan Miller, UI study coordinator, at 319-384-9756 or by e-mail at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

CONTACTS: Prospective participants: Megan Miller, 319-384-9765, Media Only: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660