Emory undergraduate Sandy Jiang recently presented the results of her summer research project at the SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Emory) research symposium. The SURE program provides research training opportunities for undergraduate students over the summer break. Sandy completed her research under the supervision of Dr. Cassandra Quave and the Center for the Study of Human Health. Sandy’s research project, entitled “A Comparison of Traditional Food and Health Strategies among Taiwanese and Chinese Immigrants in Atlanta”, examined traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health . Sandy plans to continue work on this project in the fall and submit a manuscript for publication.
Abstract from the study:
Introduction: Traditional knowledge (TK) systems can play a crucial role in local health strategies and outcomes, especially among migrant communities. The aims of this study are to (1) compare traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health of Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants in metro Atlanta; (2) evaluate how immigrants adapt to new medicinal frameworks; and (3) document the use of medicinal foods and local substitutes as they relate to human health in these communities.
Methods: Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 50 adult informants (≥ 18 years-old) from the Chinese and Taiwanese immigrant communities in metro Atlanta for participation in semi-structured interviews and structured surveys regarding the use of the local flora for medicinal and food purposes. Standard ethnobotanical methods were employed and prior informed consent was obtained for all study participants. Voucher specimens of quoted species were collected for deposit at the Emory University Herbarium.
Results: A total of 44 medicinal and/or “healthy” food plants were cited by informants as being central to their traditional health practices. Taiwanese were more likely to use Eastern medicine, plant their own food gardens, believe in the concepts of Yin and Yang, and use certain medicinal foods more than their Chinese counterparts.
Conclusions: TK concerning medical and nutritional practices of immigrant communities represents a fundamental aspect to the study of human health. Results from studies focused on the documentation and analysis of local health strategies can be used to facilitate better communication, bridging the gap between biomedical healthcare providers and users of Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) strategies in immigrant communities.
Posted in Botanical Medicine, Health Care, Nutrition, Research
Tagged botanical medicine, diet, food, health, health strategies, immigrants, Nutrition, research
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.
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.
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.