Health Flash

Health Flash: 7.13.22

blood pressure disparity | Devita Stallings, Ph.D., the R.N. to BSN program coordinator and associate professor of nursing at Saint Louis University’s Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing, received a $50,000 grant from the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences to conduct community-based participatory research to develop an app to help Black patients self-manage hypertension—a condition that can put people at risk for heart disease and stroke and disproportionately impacts the Black population. Unlike similar apps, Stallings’ app will use theory-based, culturally relevant, individualized and evidence-based self-management interventions to improve hypertension disparities.

long covid risks
New research from Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System has found even vaccinated people with mild breakthrough COVID-19 infections can experience debilitating, lingering symptoms. A study of more than 13 million veterans found that vaccination reduced risk of death by 34%, the risk of getting long COVID by 15% and the risk of lung and blood-clotting disorders by around 50%. “Now that we understand that COVID-19 can have lingering health consequences even among the vaccinated, we need to move toward developing mitigation strategies that can be implemented for the longer term since it does not appear that COVID-19 is going away any time soon,” says Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University.

stopping tumor growth
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) causes people to develop tumors on nerves throughout their bodies. While the tumors are usually benign, they can still cause serious medical problems. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that lamotrigine, an epilepsy drug, can stop tumor growth in mice. NF1 is caused by genetic mutation, and previous research discovered that neurons carrying the mutation are hyperexcitable—something that also is a feature of epilepsy. Lamotrigine targets the same ion channel that is disrupted in hyperexcitable Nf1-mutant neurons. In mice models, those that received the drug had smaller tumors than those that were given a placebo.

cystic fibrosis outcomes
Cystic fibrosis is a congenital genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. It is characterized by abnormal functioning of ion transport channels, which results in organ damage. Dr. Dhiren Patel, an associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, has received a $50,000 grant from the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences to explore therapies to improve cystic fibrosis patients’ quality of life. Patel’s research will focus on GI tract function and abdominal pain. Research will investigate treating children with cystic fibrosis between the age of 11 and 18 with IB-Stim, a nonsurgical device that reduces pain related to irritable bowel syndrome by sending gentle electrical impulses into cranial nerve bundles.

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