Summer may be the time for family vacations or enjoying the hot, sunny days for most of us, but for the researchers at Wayne State University, it is a time to get things done. This past week, the scientists, engineers, and health care researchers at Wayne State announced the results of a study on how changing lifestyles can reduce heart disease risk. The institution also had studies funded for breast cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, the effectiveness of administering oxygen to terminally ill patients, and risk factors among survivors of sexual abuse. Just as at fellow Michigan University Research Corridor institution Michigan State University, science does not take the summer off at Wayne State.
Study shows combined behavioral interventions best way to reduce heart disease risk
A study entitled Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Dietary Lifestyle Changes for Cardiovascular Risk Factor Reduction in Adults. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association (PDF) published July 12th in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association shows that combining counseling, extended follow-up with a health care provider, and self-monitoring of diet and exercise is the most effective way to help patients embrace lifestyle changes that can lower their risk for heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) diseases. It also stated that current health care policies should be modified to encourage these interventions.
The lead author of the study, Nancy T. Artinian, Ph.D., R.N., professor, associate dean for research and director of the Center for Health Research at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing, said in a press release,”We need to do a better job finding ways to help people not only change their behaviors but maintain them over a lifetime. As health care providers, we’re pretty good at saying that you are at risk for a disease, you need to lose weight, be more physically active, and eat more fruits and vegetables. While that’s easy to say, it’s not easy for the person to actually translate it into their everyday life.”
After an extensive examination of peer-reviewed scientific studies, Artinian and her co-authors identified several critical parts of effective behavioral change programs, including health care providers using a motivational interviewing technique to encourage patients to make healthier lifestyle choices, counseling patients that occasional setbacks are normal and scheduling recurring follow-up sessions with patients.
“I’m looking forward to the future when we will have a health care system that gives more weight to the importance of prevention and changing lifestyle behaviors to help people stay healthy and reduce cardiovascular risk,” Artinian said.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure® awards $1.2 million for innovative breast cancer research at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University
Four researchers from Detroit, Michigan’s Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University (WSU) will receive a total of $1.2 million from Susan G. Komen for the Cure® to help advance research to better detect, prevent, and eliminate breast cancer. The $1.2 million awarded to these outstanding scientists is part of the $59 million portfolio of research grants that Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has awarded this year alone to scientists across the globe to help accelerate innovative breast cancer research.
This year’s Komen awardees are Angelika Burger, Ph.D., director of the Translational Research Laboratory at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, and professor of Pharmacology at WSU’s School of Medicine; Neb Duric, Ph.D., director of the Imaging Program at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and professor of Radiation Oncology, WSU’s School of Medicine; Karin List, Ph.D., assistant professor, WSU’s Department of Pharmacology and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; and Peter J. Littrup, M.D., vice chair of Radiology and director of Interventional Radiology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and professor of Radiology, Urology and Radiation Oncology, WSU’s School of Medicine.
In a press release, Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® said, “Our research investments in Michigan reflect our tremendous urgency to discover and deliver more effective treatments, and to find better and more accurate ways to screen for breast cancer in the first place.”
“Komen’s infusion of millions of dollars into research projects means that promising research that is designed to treat and ultimately eradicate breast cancer will continue,” said Eric Winer, M.D., Komen’s chief scientific advisor.
Researcher receives Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation grant to determine benefits of administering oxygen to end-of-life patients
Margaret L. Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor of nursing in the Wayne State University College of Nursing and resident of Detroit, received $73,784 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to determine the benefit of routine oxygen administration to terminally ill patients who are near death.
Oxygen administration can be beneficial for making terminally ill patients who are experiencing shortness of breath–known as dyspnea–more comfortable. As patients approach death, however, changes in cognition and consciousness make it difficult to determine whether dyspnea is occurring. Applying oxygen to patients who are no longer responsive is the current standard; however, it is not clear if this practice is beneficial.
Campbell’s study, which will work to shed light on the usefulness of this practice, stemmed from her own bedside experience with patients. “Nurses are often left guessing as to how to treat patients once they can no longer communicate with us,” she said in a press release. “Oxygen administration could prolong natural dying, even making patients uncomfortable – we don’t know.” Campbell said. “For these reasons, there is an urgent need to determine whether oxygen at the end of life serves a beneficial purpose or if it increases suffering.”
“Past studies on the benefits of oxygen administration have almost always excluded near-death patients,” Campbell added. “It will be incredibly valuable to have more information indicating whether this practice is really helping patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives.”
Researcher receives funding to study risk mechanisms among adolescent females who were sexually abused as children
Valerie Simon, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, was awarded a five-year, $755,121 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. She plans to examine trajectories and potential mechanisms of sexual risk behaviors among young adolescent females with histories of child sexual abuse (CSA).
National statistics indicate that sexually abused females are at increased risk of sexual health problems, as they tend to initiate and engage in higher rates of sexual risk behavior at a younger age than their non-abused counterparts. Moreover, traditional sexual risk reduction programs are less effective for sexually abused youth, and the reasons for this are unclear.
“There is a pressing need to understand how CSA affects adolescent females’ sexual behavior,” said Simon in a press release. “Little is known about the early sexual development of sexually abused youth, or the mechanisms by which CSA confers heightened risk.”
The goals of Simon’s research are to increase understanding of how early sexual trauma affects sexual health and inform the development of more effectual risk reduction programs for this highly vulnerable population.
“Findings from this study will greatly aid our understanding of the abuse-specific factors associated with sexual health problems among sexually abused youth,” said Simon.