Category Archives: Research

Early results from Emory study indicate progesterone may alleviate damage caused by traumatic brain injury

A team led by Emory University and financed by the National Institutes of Health is currently testing whether progesterone can reduce disability and mortality if administered within four hours after a patient experiences a traumatic brain injury.  There are currently no medications approved for reducing the effects of traumatic brain injury. In an earlier preliminary trial with 100 participants, also conducted by Emory University, the 30-day mortality rate for patients receiving progesterone injections was 13% compared with 30% for patients receiving a placebo.

The current trial is expected to include 1,140 participants from trauma centers around the country over the next three years, though the early results will be evaluated this summer and if found highly effective could be put into clinical practice earlier than originally anticipated. For more details, and commentary from Dr. Donald Stein, neuroscientist and professor of emergency medicine at Emory University, please see the following New York Times report.

Photos from the Field: Human Health Studies in the Balkans

Dr. Cassandra Quave, CSHH Postdoctoral Fellow, has just completed a field study in NE Albania in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Pieroni, from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy). The scope of the study was to investigate traditional health practices, including the use of wild plants for food and medicine, in several small Albanian and Gorani communities located in the Dinaric Alps near Mount Gjallica. Photos capturing the local agricultural, food, and health traditions can be accessed here on Dr. Quave’s website.

Mindful eating as food for thought

Mindfulness meditation practices have been shown effective for improving outcomes for cancer patients undergoing other aggressive medication-based treatments, and has recently been promoted as a method for controlling diet.

The concept is being researched at universities across the US, with Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist, promoting mindfulness eating as a way to provide relief from hectic schedules and a way to reconnect with food.

A description of mindfulness eating and current research is available through the New York Times.

Cancer patients cope better with mindfulness meditation

A recent clinical trial led by Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, from the Emory University School of Nursing, found that mindfulness mediation improved the well being of many cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplants.

Cancer patients who participated in the study were visited by health care professionals (primarily nurses) trained in mindfulness meditation twice per week, in addition to receiving a CD on guided meditation to use both at the hospital and after returning home.

More information about the study and mindfulness meditation is available here.


Improving treatment decisions to improve brain tumor outcomes

A National Cancer Institute-funded research team that includes senior investigator Dr. Walter J. Curran, Jr., executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, announced January 19th that a genetic marker in brain tumors should be evaluated to determine the best treatment plan for patients with a rare type of brain tumor.

In their phase III trial, the team found that anaplastic oligodendroglioma patients that also have a genetic abnormality – the 1p19q co-deletion – survived about twice as long as average (14.7 compared with 7.3 years) when treated initially with both chemotherapy and radiation.  Additionally, tumor patients with the genetic abnormality survived significantly longer (more than 7 years) than those without the co-deletion (2.8 years).

Details of the findings and study design are available here.

Predicting tricuspid valve leakage: Changing treatments and saving lives

A joint Georgia Tech and Emory University study released in the January issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging utilized 3-D echocardiography images to develop an advanced method for predicting the severity of tricuspid valve leakage.  Not only do the study’s findings offer a new way for cardiologists to more accurately diagnose tricuspid regurgitation, but it also provided insight into ways to improve surgical repair procedures to improve long-term patient outcomes.

For a full description of the study, view this description that includes commentary by the Emory and Georgia Tech research team.

U.S. Obesity rates remain steady during last decade

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finds that the percentage of the population that is obese has not changed significantly in the last 10 years.  That the rates remain steady, at 35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children being obese, indicates that attempts at improving the population’s health by reducing excess adiposity have not been successful in the last decade.

A description of the CDC’s findings is available from the New York Times.  The full report was published online by JAMA on January 17.

Apps and Touchscreen Devices Aid Learning for Austic Children

A team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh designed an iPad app called FindMe that is having remarkable success for learning and communication among autistic children.  The app is aimed at non-verbal children age 18 months and older, and encourages the player to focus on other people and their needs which can be difficult for some people with autism.

For more information, read the full story on the BBC website.

Emory University Partners with Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative

Emory University School of Medicine has joined Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative, serving with other member organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), to serve the health care needs of veterans through research, education, and patient care.  Veterans have unique health needs, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Just a few of the ways Emory University provides unique care to veterans includes:

  • Virtual reality therapy to combat phobias through the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program
  • A National Institutes of Health-funded phase III clinical trial to treat TBI with progesterone
  • A hand transplant protocol that uses advanced immune suppressant drugs that are less toxic
  • The BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative, a joint effort between Emory University and the Atlanta Braves that provides Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with access to mental health and counseling services.

More information about Emory University’s involvement in the Joining Forces Initiative is available in this press release.  Full details are available on the Initiative’s website.


Center for the Study of Human Health Website Launch!

Center for the Study of Human Health

Announcing the launch of the Center for the Study of Human Health website! Visit this link to learn more about the new and exciting activities at the Center!

The Center presents a new approach to the vast subject of health by harnessing the far-reaching resources of the University and our sister institutions. By integrating our knowledge we can discover better and more efficient ways to address the challenges for health education and research.