Monday, November 18, 2013

Health news from the University of Cincinnati

I concluded Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombings in this week's health news by noting there was more where those came from.
I have even more stories from the University of Cincinnati that didn't make it into last week's Overnight News Digest.  I'll post them later, I'm changing my focus from Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia to states and cities holding elections through the end of the year as listed in the 2013 Daily Kos Elections Calendar along with the cities listed in Nobody cares about mayoral races in the Washington Post that I haven't been covering so far.  They may be great sources for health stories or they may be weak.  In either event, those stories from the University of Cincinnati may come in handy.  Until then, farewell, Rutgers, BU, NYU, Columbia, UVA, and VT!  It's been fun covering your research and outreach!
As it turned out, the universities I covered in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Dog origins) had plenty of health research and outreach stories, so I didn't need the ones from the University of Cincinnati to fill out the health section.  So, it's time to say farewell to the UC Bearcats as well.

As I strive to always have an image or video with my entries, I present this video promoting the university's M.D./Ph.D. program, which trains people for both medical research and service to the community.

Take a tour of the Cincinnati Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program, which is preparing the next generation of leaders in academic medicine.
As I wrote over at Kunstler's blog, “it pays to do your research.”
That seems to be true in more ways than one. Something that is increasing the cost (and hopefully effectiveness) of American medicine, medical research, is going full-blast. I’ve been collecting the research press releases from all the research universities in jurisdictions holding elections...for the past two months, and every week I have a huge entry full of nothing but health news to post.
This week is no exception.  Follow over the jump for the rest of this bonus installment of the ongoing series.

Internet Helps Ensure Mother Knows Best When It Comes to Preventing Childhood Obesity
University of Cincinnati research shows how Web-based, at-home interventions can help mothers address behaviors known to protect against childhood obesity.
By: Tom Robinette
Date: 11/5/2013 8:55:00 AM
Never underestimate the power of Mom when it comes to influencing children's health.

University of Cincinnati research explains how motherly influence could be even more effective when supported by Web-based parent education programs.

Adam Knowlden, a former doctoral student at UC and current assistant professor in the University of Alabama's Health Science Department, hopes his research can better prepare moms to keep their kids from joining the rising ranks of America's obese children.

"Addressing this problem of childhood obesity needs to start in the home environment and preferably with children at younger ages," Knowlden says. "This research shows the Web is an effective way to help some parents. It's something that should be capitalized on from a public health perspective."
Largest Safety Study on Teen Weight Loss Surgery Finds Few Short-Term Complications
CINCINNATI—In the largest in-depth scientific study of its kind on the safety of teen weight-loss surgery, researchers report few short-term complications for adolescents with severe obesity undergoing bariatric surgery.

The study, published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, is the first to provide much-needed safety data on bariatric surgery for adolescents with severe obesity, a growing health problem in the U.S. and abroad. The findings represent the largest-ever multicenter, prospective study on the safety of weight loss surgery among adolescents. Led by investigators at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), research was conducted at five sites around the country.

The study was conducted from 2007 to 2012 and involved 242 participants with an average age of 17 and median body mass index of 50.5.  For reference, a 16-year-old girl of average height with a BMI of 50 has a weight of nearly 300 pounds.  All participants in the study suffered from health complications resulting from obesity.
University of Cincinnati: Play Promotes Emotional Healing in Children Battling Serious Illnesses
Playing out medical experiences can help chronically ill children, as well as their siblings, express fears and foster hope for recovery, according to University of Cincinnati researchers.
By: Dawn Fuller
Date: 11/5/2013 8:05:00 AM
New research finds that chronically ill children celebrate a successful recovery. It’s through their imaginative play with medically themed toys.

Laura Nabors, an associate professor of human services in the University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), will present new research on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 141st Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston.

The project primarily focused on chronically ill children and their siblings who were staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati. The children were provided with medically themed toys such as stethoscopes, miniature hospital beds, ambulances, doctors’ bags and intravenous (IV) lines, as well as head and arm casts.

The UC researchers would observe the children at play, up to two times a month. They found that through play, the children were working through fears and expressing a full recovery. “No one in the dramatizations died, but in some cases, siblings would want to be sick, too, so that they could receive attention from their parents,” says Nabors.

Other findings from the service research found that children were fearful of having blood drawn – believing that it was something that was taken away, Nabors says, and not aware that the body replenishes its blood supply.  “Some children dramatized their stories by depicting doctors as being evil,” says Nabors, adding that play might be an avenue for opening up communication about fears between medical professionals, parents and very young patients.

The researchers also found that in observing the children in play settings, “patients” in the children’s dramatizations often called for parental support, indicating that children heavily relied on their parents in coping with their illness.
UC Research Shows Yoga as Cancer Treatment Is Not Such a Big Stretch
A University of Cincinnati study shows when yoga is used as an alternative and complementary treatment it can reduce the side effects from cancer.
By: Tom Robinette
Date: 11/4/2013 7:00:00 AM
Research from the University of Cincinnati shows that perhaps the Downward-Facing Dog should have its day in cancer treatment.

Manoj Sharma, a professor of health promotion and education at UC, has studied mind-body interventions such as yoga, tai chi and mindfulness meditation for years. Some of his latest work examines the efficacy of yoga as an alternative and complementary treatment option for cancer.

"Because of the diagnosis of cancer and because of the chemotherapy, radiotherapy and any surgery, a person is under a lot of stress," Sharma says. "Yoga relieves the stress. As a consequence, the anxiety gets decreased, the depression gets decreased and those types of effects start happening."
Study Uncovers New Explanation for Infection Susceptibility in Newborns
CINCINNATI—Cells that allow helpful bacteria to safely colonize the intestines of newborn infants also suppress their immune systems to make them more vulnerable to infections, according to new research in Nature.

Published online Nov. 6, the study could prompt a major shift in how medicine views the threat of neonatal infections—and how researchers go about looking for new strategies to stop it, said scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center who conducted the research. Leading up to this study, the prevailing view has been that newborn infants are susceptible to infection because their immune system cells are immature or underdeveloped.

"The first few days after birth represent a critical developmental period when a baby’s immune system must adapt to many new stimulants. This includes environmental microbes that are not present in the womb, but immediately colonize tissues such as the intestine and skin,” said Sing Sing Way, MD, PhD, senior investigator and a physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s and associate professor in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics.

"Our findings fundamentally change how we look at neonatal susceptibility to infection by suggesting it is caused by active immune suppression during this developmental period, as opposed to the immaturity of immune cells.”
UC Researchers Find Acute Kidney Injury Predicts Poor Outcomes for Dialysis Patients
CINCINNATI—Two University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers, in collaboration with other investigators, have found that patients who suffered from acute kidney injury (AKI) in the two-year period prior to going on dialysis were 1 ½  times as likely to die in their first year of dialysis compared to those patients without AKI.

The findings will be presented Nov. 7 at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week in Atlanta.

Charuhas Thakar, MD, associate professor in the division of nephrology and hypertension, and Anthony Leonard, PhD, biostatistician and research assistant professor of family and community medicine, teamed up with Timmy Lee, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Pratik Parikh, PhD, Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, to conduct this research.

The team examined the medical records of 47,327 patients in the United States Renal Data System who started dialysis from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, and had Medicare data available in the preceding two years, and followed their mortality rates until Dec. 31, 2010.

"At present, when we start patients on chronic dialysis, we do not necessarily consider AKI episodes in the recent history to be a prognostic indicator,” Thakar says.  "Many times this information is not even available.  Our findings suggest, however, that AKI occurrence prior to chronic dialysis initiation should alert both the patient and the physician regarding a potentially poor outcome in the first year of dialysis.”
HEALTH LINE: Attitudes Toward Mental Illness Benefit From Discussion
CINCINNATI—Mental illnesses can affect anyone, they are not the result of personal weakness, and they’re treatable.  Still, people with a mental illness are often told it’s "all in your head,” with no recognition of the biological mechanisms underlying the diseases.

A prime example is bipolar disorder, which the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines as a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months.  More than 10 million Americans have bipolar disorder, which affects men and women equally.

"Through extensive research, we now know that genetics and neurodevelopment are biological aspects that contribute to the onset of illnesses such as bipolar disorder,” says Melissa DelBello, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and member of the UC Mood Disorders Center team.

"Our goal, ultimately, is to figure out what combination of biological, environmental and genetic risk factors contribute to the onset of bipolar disorder.”
And that was the news that fell on the cutting room floor.  Stay tuned for the material I did use this past weekend.

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