Dec. 14, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 49



Miles named as Outstanding Family Physician of the Year

Portrait of Dr. Miles MILES

The National Association for Continence (NAFC) has named Dr. Toni Miles, professor in the department of family and community medicine, the Outstanding Family Physician of the Year.

Dr. Miles received the award at the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) Annual Conference on Patient Education. The award carries an unrestricted grant of $2,500.

Dr. Miles received the honor for her study titled, "New Onset Incontinence and Markers of Frailty: Data from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly." The results were published in the Jan. 2 edition of the Journal of Gerontology.

"New onset incontinence in a formerly continent older adult should be taken seriously," Dr. Miles said. "It is not normal aging and may indeed be a sign of underlying serious illness."

Adults who develop incontinence after the age of 65 have what is considered "new onset" incontinence. "These patients are equally likely to be male or female, are more likely to have problems with lower body mobility, and are more likely to be depressed," Dr. Miles said. "We interpret this to mean that some of these patients have signs and symptoms suggestive of early markers of frailty, which include weakness, slowness and shrinkage."

Dr. Miles interviewed approximately 1,200 adults over the age of 65. None of the patients reported any signs of incontinence at their initial interview. Dr. Miles conducted a second interview two years later and studied those who reported new symptoms.

"This approach is important because there are many causes of urinary incontinence. A large number of women are mildly incontinent in middle age, due to post-menopausal transition," Dr. Miles said. "Our approach allowed us to eliminate this population and focus on people who developed incontinence after age 65."