Spotlight on research
Curbing underage drinking
The UF Institute for Child Health Policy in partnership with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Services has received a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study ways to prevent underage drinking. The study, led by Kelli Komro, Ph.D., will focus on American Indian and other youth living in rural, high-risk and underserved communities. The results could influence efforts to prevent underage drinking across the U.S. This study is unique in that it focuses specifically on American Indians, a group that Komro says is often underrepresented in clinical and community research. Members of the UF and Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Services research team include (from left): B.J. Boyd, Kelli Komro, Terrence Kominsky, Misty Boyd, Levi Keehler and Alexander Wagenaar.
Reducing heart attack risk
Heart patients who have stents that prop open blocked arteries often face a dilemma when they need open heart surgery: Continue taking life-saving blood thinners but risk severe bleeding during surgery, or stop taking the medicines and risk a heart attack. Researchers from UF and elsewhere have identified a new drug that can serve as a “bridge” during that time when patients have to stop taking blood thinners, minimizing both the risk of a heart attack and the risk of excessive bleeding during surgery. The findings recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “This could be a way to satisfy an unmet need and solve a huge clinical problem for millions of patients,” said the study’s lead author, Dominick Angiolillo, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine and medical director of the UF Cardiovascular Research Program at the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville.
Blood cancer overlooked?
A group of life-threatening blood disorders collectively called myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, may occur four times more often than reported by national cancer registries, according to new research based on data from Medicare claims. MDS occurs when the body’s blood factory does not produce healthy red or white blood cells or platelets. Getting a more accurate picture of the disease could lead to earlier diagnosis for patients and better guidance for public health policy. The findings, reported in the journals Leukemia Research and Blood, indicate that more women than men are overlooked. “State cancer registries, which feed the national registries, need more resources so they can more comprehensively capture this disease and others, such as skin and gastrointestinal cancers,” said Christopher R. Cogle, M.D., an associate professor of hematology and oncology in the UF College of Medicine and an author of the study.