Spotlight on research

Surgery and memory loss

Older adults may be at risk for memory and thinking problems after surgery, and a new $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Nursing Research will help UF researchers use brain imaging studies to determine which patients are most likely to be affected. “Based on our previous studies we believe that there are certain neuroimaging markers that can tell us which individuals are at greater risk for memory and thinking changes after major surgery,” said Catherine Price, Ph.D., the study’s lead investigator and an assistant professor in the department of clinical and health psychology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. “Ideally we want to eliminate the possibility that anesthesia or surgery can cause a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.” In the study, supported in part by UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, 80 total knee replacement candidates age 60 and older will receive cognitive testing and MRI brain scans before and after surgery.

Eyes on the prize

Research to Prevent Blindness, or RPB, has awarded $110,000 to the College of Medicine’s department of ophthalmology to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases. RPB, which is the leading voluntary health organization promoting this type of research, has supported the department for more than 30 years with grants totaling more than $3.5 million.“It’s heartening to know that there’s an organization that wants to make sure that vision is preserved and that people who could be at risk for blindness have help, and as a department we appreciate their confidence in us,” said William T. Driebe Jr., M.D., chair of the UF department of ophthalmology. The funding from RPB helps support a major research focus of the department: the use of gene therapy to treat retinal degenerations.

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