Religion and Health Study marks progress
With the successful collection of its second wave of data, researchers conducting the Religion and Health Study, part of the larger Adventist Health Study-2, are ready to compare the two data sets, further strengthening the scientific validity of their findings. Some early findings suggest that couples who are religiously alike report more marital satisfaction, and those who refrain from secular activities on Saturday experience better mental and physical quality of life.
Loma Linda researcher pleads case for continued research funding on Capitol Hill
Xian Luo, PhD, clinical research scientist, trauma services, LLUMC, and assistant research professor at the School of Medicine, has visited Capitol Hill as part of a 16-member delegation sponsored by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. They were there to remind lawmakers of the importance of continued funding for scientific research.
Over three days, delegation members visited the offices of more than 40 congressional representatives. Dr. Luo, whose research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of radiotherapy-induced normal tissue reactions, was assigned to a four-member team which included researchers Malcolm Snead, PhD (University of Southern California); Kathleen Collins, PhD (University of California at Berkeley); and William Merrick, PhD (Case Western Reserve University).
Their message: federal funding for research supports private, university, and federal laboratory research, and it provides for more than 60 percent of all research and development work performed at colleges and universities. "Our real-life stories," says Dr. Luo, "are important for making progress with discovery in scientific research, especially when NIH funding is being cut."
School of Dentistry professor pursuing diabetes research
Lincoln Edwards, PhD, DDS, associate professor, Center for Dental Research, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, has been awarded a $445,000 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for the purpose of conducting research on a novel compound known by the title S43126. The project is titled, “Novel Imidazoline compound as Antidiabetic Agent.”
While he was pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and nutrition at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Edwards worked with Dr. Paul Ernsberger, associate professor of nutrition, neuroscience, and pharmacology. It was then that he became interested in the signaling pathways coupled to the imidazoline receptors that appear to play a significant role in Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes has a significant impact on periodontal disease; evidence has established the link between types 1 and 2 diabetes and periodontal disease. Diabetes is known to cause dysfunctional changes in blood vessels and the production of high levels of specific inflammatory chemicals (such as interleukins) that increases the likelihood of periodontal disease and infection in general. High concentrations of triglycerides (common in type 2 diabetes) also appear to degrade periodontal health. Stabilizing blood sugar in individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes may help reduce periodontal disease.
Nestle Foundation grants to benefit low income populations in Africa
Low-income residents of Cameroon and Kenya, Africa, will benefit from Nestle Foundation research grants awarded to a Loma Linda University nutrition student and a recent nutrition graduate. Kate Reinsma, a current doctoral candidate, and Hellen Ndiku, a recent doctoral graduate in the School of Public Health, have each been awarded grants.
Ms. Reinsma is testing the efficacy of an audio program and discussion guide in promoting exclusive breastfeeding in Cameroon, Africa. According to the World Health Organization, children who are not exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life are at greater risk of childhood morbidity and mortality.
Hellen Ndiku, a native of Kenya, Africa, has been funded to pilot test an intervention in rural Kenyan villages with the native grain pearl millet. In conducting her doctoral research, Dr. Ndiku found that children under 5 years who eat pearl millet have a 15 percent higher mean energy intake and greater intake of most key nutrients than those eating maize. Dr. Ndiku will attempt to determine the openness within the community toward incorporating the new grain in the daily diet, with the expectation that a large intervention can be conducted in this region in the near future.
The Nestlé Foundation for the Study of Problems of Nutrition in the World was established in 1966 by a donation from the Nestlé Company. Located in Bern Switzerland, the Foundation initiates and supports research in human nutrition with public health relevance in low income and lower middle-income countries.
Stroke research is alive and well at Loma Linda University
“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country, behind heart disease and cancer,” notes John H. Zhang, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery, anesthesiology, physiology, and pharmacology, and director of the Zhang Neuroscience Research Laboratory, LLU School of Medicine.
He points out that stroke, which affects approximately 700,000 people in the United States, is a particularly debilitating disease. “It paralyzes its victims,” he notes, “and creates chaos not only for patients, but family members as well.”
A team of 15-25 researchers is hard at work on 20-30 ongoing studies at any given time. Three promising projects currently underway in the lab include pre-conditioning, hydrogen therapy, and a surgical brain injury model.