Nico Osier, PhD, BSN, BS, RN (PI)
An Exploratory Study of Allostatic Load and its Impact on Response to an 8-Week Self-Management Program for Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Osier is an Assistant Professor and holds joint appointments in the School of Nursing and Dell Medical School. To-date, Dr. Osier’s program of research has centered on using both pre-clinical and clinical research to promote understanding the molecular and genomic underpinnings of health, disease, and injury recovery. Their current research focuses on understanding the pathology associated with traumatic brain injury. Their ultimate goal is to harness this information to predict individuals at highest risk for poor outcomes and ultimately to inform precision care initiatives.
The goal of this exploratory study is to evaluate the complex role of stress in MS, and to create a composite measure of allostatic load. This study aims to examine the association between biomarkers (IL-15, IL-23, melatonin) & PSS score while controlling for confounders (e.g. age, inflammatory comorbidities), Determine the degree to which biomarkers (IL-15, IL-23, melatonin) are predictive of responsiveness to a self-management + acupuncture intervention, and Combine novel biomarker analysis with other biomarkers and self-reported data to create a composite measure of allostatic load for further evaluation. The Analysis Processes includes quantifying biomarker levels and examine potential associations with self-reported symptoms, and determine which biomarkers predict response to self-management and acupuncture interventions.
Ashley Henneghan, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN (PI)
Effects of Meditation on Biomarkers of Cellular Aging in Cancer Survivors
Dr. Henneghan is an Assistant Professor in the UT Austin School of Nursing. Her research integrates multiple levels of scientific investigation including biobehavioral methods, cognitive science, and patient reported outcomes. Her lab now focuses on both understanding the underlying mechanisms of cancer-related cognitive impairment and evaluating targeted interventions to improve cognition following cancer treatment. Her lab embraces multi-disciplinary research teams and are eager to collaborate.
Dr. Henneghan’s clinical experience has focused on alleviating unwanted symptoms and optimizing wellness for persons with chronic diseases including cancer. Her research focuses on both understanding the underlying mechanisms of cancer-related cognitive impairment and evaluating targeted interventions to improve cognition following cancer treatment. This pilot study will include 30 breast cancer survivors (ages 21-75), and compare the cognitive effects of a daily 12-minute meditation program to a classical music program over the course of 16 weeks. The aims of this study are to 1) determine the feasibility and acceptability of delivering these programs to breast cancer survivors, 2) compare the immediate (8 weeks) and the sustained (16 weeks) effects of the two programs on cognitive and psychological functioning (anxiety, depression, stress), and 3) explore the short-term effects (8 weeks) of the meditation intervention on inflammatory biomarkers. The overarching study goal is to provide an evidence-based strategy for breast cancer survivors to manage their cognitive symptoms that is low cost and accessible.
Valerie Danesh, PhD, RN,FCCM
Peer Support for Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PS-PICS)
Dr. Danesh is an Assistant Professor of Adult Health Nursing. Her research program focuses on nursing surveillance across the continuum of care (e.g., acute, subacute, home health). Her current research is on the sequelae, or “after effects”, of hospitalization in adults with prolonged Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stays. Known as Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), new onset or worsening symptom clusters including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive impairment, and/or physical frailty often influence the recovery and rehabilitation of ICU survivors. In contrast to traditional in-person approaches for peer support and self-management coaching for rehabilitation, Dr. Danesh is exploring a telephone-based intervention that is tailored to overcome the transportation- and/or fatigue-related barriers associated with PICS.
Funded by the Pilot Core of TCRSS, the Peer Support for Post Intensive Care Syndrome Survivors (PS-PICS) feasibility trial is designed as a peer-led self-management intervention. PS-PICS will connect new survivors with those who have made successful recoveries. Our approach broadens existing chronic care intervention models for application to ICU survivors. Peer support mentors will be trained in motivational interviewing techniques to engage mentees in goal setting and emotional management. The aims of PS-PICS are to:
- Examine the impact of ≥8 days in the ICU on health-related quality of life, functional status, and healthcare utilization after discharge;
- Determine the feasibility of a 90-day phone-based peer support intervention, with motivational interviewing, in the early post-discharge period for ICU survivors; and
- Explore trends in peer support intervention outcomes of social isolation, depression, functional status, and self-management behaviors.
This study is consistent with NIH initiatives to focus on self-management to address symptoms, treatments, lifestyle changes, and psychosocial consequences associated with one or more chronic conditions. This feasibility study will guide the development of a clinical trial to evaluate peer support interventions for ICU survivors in the early post-discharge period. Visit clinicaltrials.gov website for protocol information and current enrollment status updates for the PS-PICS trial.