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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Alumni couple cope with the challenges of cystic fibrosis

pooles

Rebecca Martello Poole and Ray Poole

For Rebecca Martello Poole, a 2000 graduate of the Diagnostic Genetic Sciences Program in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, genetic diseases are not just a professional concern. Rebecca was diagnosed at the age of six months with cystic fibrosis (CF) and has suffered from the debilitating effects throughout her life.

Rebecca met her husband Ray Poole, also a 2000 UConn graduate, in mechanical and materials engineering, while at UConn, and the two moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin, then Kentucky, where they currently make their home. Together they’ve traveled a harrowing path between life and death as Rebecca spent almost two years enduring medical procedures. It started in October of 2014 during a weekend visit to Colorado. She fell ill, landing in the hospital, septic and in heart failure, fighting for oxygen. She continued to decline and on New Year’s Eve, she went into respiratory failure and was placed on life support. At that point the doctors told the couple that she was in end stage CF, and time was not on her side.

Rebecca needed a lung transplant but was too sick for the surgery. She was in a chemically-induced coma for six weeks, spent six months on a ventilator and finally grew strong enough to become a lung transplant candidate. After the transplant, she still had to undergo abdominal surgery, then months of recovery that included hours of physical therapy.

Today, Rebecca is almost two years post lung transplant, and while she has her difficult days, she’s feeling better. “It’s amazing to be able to walk or take a small hike and not cough incessantly,” Rebecca says.

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CAHNR in the news

newspaper readersSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

Time. 6-6-17. Linked to nutritional sciences research about the effects of resistance training on the inflammatory response. Professor Maria Luz Fernandez is the corresponding author of the 2010 study. See also InStyle. 6-11-17.

Fox61 (video). 6-8-17. Visited CAHNR for their Day Trippers segment and showed some things to do around Horsebarn Hill in the summer. The Department of Animal Science’s Steven Zinn, professor and department head, and Bill Sciturro, manager of dairy manufacturing, were interviewed in the video, which also depicted animals and ice cream making.

Today. 6-12-17. Mentioned Department of Kinesiology Human Performance Laboratory findings that showed mild dehydration can alter mood.

UConn Today. 6-13-17. Referenced a study of trends in TV food ads aimed at young people. Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Professor Jennifer Harris was involved in the research. (more…)

Meet graduate student Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney.

Jonathan Mahoney is a PhD student studying plant breeding in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. While completing an undergraduate internship at the USDA in Ames, Iowa, he became part of a collaboration that connected him to UConn. Here is what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate?

I studied at Iowa State University in the Department of Horticulture and graduated in 2014.

What was your major?

My major was horticulture with an emphasis in fruit and vegetable production.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

It was partly due to the people that I worked with at Iowa State, especially the faculty, and the research that I did as an undergraduate at the USDA-ARS, National Plant Germplasm System.

It was also probably my own curiosity. Learning what something is, that’s interesting, but I want to know why and how. I think graduate school allows me to do that with experiments and scientific discoveries.

Who is your advisor? (more…)

Physical therapy students’ challenge aims to prevent distracted driving

UConn DPT student Elle Stark.

UConn DPT student Elle Stark.

Laurie Devaney, clinical instructor in the Department of Kinesiology, was listening to NPR when she heard about a new app called JoyRyde, designed to give incentives for safe driving in an attempt to reduce injuries and deaths from distracted driving.

“I teach the spine component of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program, and one of our modules is injury resulting from car accidents,” Devaney says. “Instead of just treating injuries, we are trying to get our physical therapists more involved in health, wellness and prevention of injury.”

“When I learned about this app, I challenged our students to take an active role in preventing injuries from car crashes. There’s a big movement toward using the term car crash instead of motor vehicle accident,  because people are doing things intentionally that put them at risk.”

The JoyRyde idea was the brainchild of Terry Goguen, CEO and founder of JoyRyde. The free app encourages people to take responsibility for their driving and for the safety of others. The app keeps track of miles driven without using a cell phone, drivers earning points redeemable at various fast food chains and e-commerce sites. The app promotes behavior change through rewards, with the goal of changing bad habits permanently.

By involving her students, Devaney hoped they might change their own behaviors and consequently encourage their patients to change as well. “As physical therapists we need to model healthy behaviors,” she says. “Distracted driving is a big public health problem.”

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Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Awards and accoladesRecently, some of CAHNR’s faculty (names in bold type) were selected for awards that recognize their accomplishments.

The Research Excellence Program provides seed funding to promote, support and enhance the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of faculty at UConn. The Office of the Vice President for Research recently announced the 2017-2018 Research Excellence Program-Storrs recipients. CAHNR awardees and their departments and projects are:

Assistant Professor Christopher Blesso, of nutritional sciences, Defining the Impact of Dietary Sphingomyelin on Lipopolysaccharide Translocation and Inflammation.

Assistant Professor Nathan Fiala, of agricultural and resource economics, Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia. Co-PI: Assistant Professor Nishith Prakash, of economics (more…)