By Marlou Macaraeg
Food coloring exacerbates hyperactivity in certain children, and laughing decreases stress. These are just a few of the important subjects that were first discovered and further refined by research.
The T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences Center, located on the Dallas campus, represents the importance of research to TWU. The health-oriented campus hosted its first “Research Brown Bag” event for its Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Nursing programs last Tuesday. According to Program Coordinator Barbara Neal, it aimed to “inform faculty and students of ongoing or planned research at the Dallas campus to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration” within the confines of a lunch hour.
The research topics presented included health and aging, depression, heart failure, walking programs and breathing training, foot ulcers, internships, aphasia, and even development of an iPad app.
Associate Director of PT Dr. Ann Medley presented the first topic of standardizing what health workers need to know about caring for an aging population. Medley proposed creating three, themed conferences to teach at least 18 competencies to health care professionals. The first conference will be “Age in Place,” followed by “Managing Individuals in Long-term Care,” and lastly, “Health Promotion.”
The second topic involved correlating depression with less effective treatment for those with congestive heart failure. Nursing Professor Dr. Linda Denke proposed the research topic of examining the differences in depression scores, quality of life, and re-admission rates among three groups of patients with CHF.
PT Professor Dr. Suh-Jen Lin published an article in September discussing the effects of inspiratory muscle training for patients with heart failure. To further this research, Lin proposed a pilot study about the effects of a walking program and inspiratory muscle training chronic heart failure patients. She is looking for 30 volunteers with “stable” heart failure.
Another important health concern for health care workers is diabetic foot ulcers, a healing complication of diabetes. To improve care for this condition, PT Professor Dr. Sharon Wang proposed conducting a study that analyzes how those with and without diabetic foot ulcers walk and overcome obstacles.
Nursing professor Karen Kaighan approached the conference with a desire to assist nursing students in the increasingly competitive job market by starting a nursing internship program during the curriculum and while taking the boards.
Regarding the condition of aphasia, a communication disorder, Communication Science and Disorders Professor Dr. Jyutika Mehta proposed studying whether Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is effective in treating aphasia. She is also seeking another researcher for collaboration.
The last topic was presented by OT Professor Dr. Noralyn Pickens regarding a grant to develop an iPad application that re-integrates older individuals into their homes and communities.
A “Research Brown Bag” will occur once a month and targets faculty and student researchers. The goal is to “create a community that encourages intellectual curiosity, creative expression, research, collaboration, innovation, and contributions of new knowledge,” said Neal.