Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MIZZOU RESEARCH ROUNDUP: From celebrity journalism to cystic fibrosis

The average sleep apnea sufferer stops breathing and loses oxygen between five and 30 times a night.   Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers is exploring the changes in distinct brain regions that contribute to these symptoms in hopes of combating this common health issue.
North Indian Hindustani singing and classical singing -- Puccini, Mozart and Wagner, for instance -- vary greatly in technique and sound.  But speech-language pathology researchers at the University of Missouri are comparing the two styles to find a treatment for vocal tremors associated with many neurological disorders that can result in severe communication difficulties.

MU establishes National Botanical Research Center
One of only 5 universities in US to receive NIH program designation
With a new $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, University of Missouri researchers have created a National Botanical Research Center to discover properties that make certain plants helpful or harmful to humans. 
The issue of student counselors’ personal beliefs interfering with their work has generated controversies and lawsuits at college campuses across the nation.   Laurie Mintz, professor of educational, school and counseling psychology in the University of Missouri College of Education, has been highly active in guiding collegiate counseling programs to set the standard for professional behavior.
MU researcher receives $2.1M federal grant to study ways to ease the pain of the dying
Easing the pain of the dying is the goal of a $2.1 million federal grant University of Missouri-Columbia associate professor of family and community medicine Debra Parker-Oliver received.   Dr. Parker-Oliver is studying whether better communication among family caregivers and hospice staff could make the final days of life more comfortable.
MU researcher closes in on Cystic Fibrosis drug treatment 
A University of Missouri researcher believes his latest work moves scientists closer to a cure for cystic fibrosis, one of the world’s most common fatal genetic diseases.  The Journal of Biological Chemistry has published findings by Tzyh-Chang Hwang, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology.   Hwang’s work focuses on the two most common genetic mutations among approximately 1,500 mutations found in patients with cystic fibrosis.   These two mutations cause specific chloride channels in the cell, known as the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) chloride channels, to malfunction. 
Normally considered empty-headed, celebrity journalism may be an underappreciated way to communicate health messages, says Amanda Hinnant, assistant professor of magazine journalism in the University of Missouri School of Journalism in a new paper. 
Hinnant found some readers of celebrity health stories report that the stories have an impact on their own behavior and how they discuss health issues.
Hinnant, with co-author Elizabeth Hendrickson from the University of Tennessee, utilized focus groups that discussed various celebrity health news stories and how each story affected the participants. Previous research had indicated that after a person read a health news story, they would then seek out interpersonal advice from a friend or family member before deciding to change their health behaviors. Hinnant says celebrity health stories could circumvent that step.

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