News


Helping Those with Alzheimer’s Remain Independent Longer

November 20, 2014

New funding helps advance OU research aimed at improving cognitive function

A new grant will help advance research at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center aimed at helping individuals with Alzheimer’s retain their independence longer.

Alzheimer’s affects 60,000 Oklahomans, a number that is projected to grow by more than 25 percent in the next decade. 

Now, the Alzheimer’s Association has awarded almost $100,000 to the OU College of Allied Health. The grant funds a new phase of research into a method known as Skill-building through Task-Oriented Motor Practice or STOMP, a non-drug therapy that showed promise in earlier research in preserving cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It is one of only three non-medication studies awarded grants by the Alzheimer’s Association this year. 

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OU Medicine Live Chat: Pound Wise: Holiday Planning

ou-medicine-chat---pound-wise

Friday, November 21st at 10 a.m.

The holidays are here and the scales are tipped against many of us, literally.

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OU Medicine Live Chat: Lung Cancer: What’s the Latest

ou-medicine-chat---lung-cancer

Friday, November 7th at 10 a.m.

More than 200,000 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and more Americans die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer.

Read more...
 
OU Medicine Live Chat: World Diabetes Day

ou-medicine-chat---world-diabetes-day

Friday, November 14th at 10 a.m.

World Diabetes Day, November 14th, is a wake-up call for people here and across the nation.

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Setting Errant Heart Rhythms Right

October 29th, 2014

OU researchers evaluate nerve stimulation in atrial fibrillation treatment

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center are exploring the effectiveness of a new high-tech treatment for atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder.

Atrial fibrillation affects more than 2.5 million Americans. With atrial fibrillation, rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s two upper chambers to beat very fast and irregularly.  Atrial fibrillation can cause strokes and death.

Current treatments involve drugs or surgery, but a new approach is being investigated that focuses on stimulating the vagus nerve, a nerve that exists on both sides of the body and plays an important role in helping the heart beat within a safe range.

"It's been shown that people who have a greater vagal tone are less likely to suffer a heart attack, are less likely to have sudden cardiac death or an adverse outcome following a heart attack,” said Stavros Stavrakis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of Cardiology at the OU College of Medicine and member of the OU Heart Rhythm Institute.

Stavrakis and his team are evaluating the therapeutic potential of low-level vagus nerve stimulation in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

The approach utilizes a stimulator surgically implanted around the vagus nerve.

"So you just do a small incision in the neck; put that in; and then the stimulator communicates wirelessly with an external generator,” Stavrakis said.

The hope is that by stimulating the vagus nerve at a level that is not slowing the heart rate and is not noticeable by the patient, the device will be able to prevent episodes of atrial fibrillation, thereby regulating and restoring a more normal heart rhythm.

If successful in the laboratory, the developers of the device believe clinical trials could begin in the United States as early as next year. The company already is in the process of testing a prototype in patients in Europe.

While commercial availability of the device in this country is still probably five to ten years away, Stavrakis said it is promising technology and may provide a way to offer a minimally invasive treatment for atrial fibrillation. However, he emphasizedthe technology would likely be used to complement, rather than replace, current atrial fibrillation treatments.

The research is being conducted in conjunction with Rosellini Scientific with funding from a $75,000 NIH Small Business Innovation Research grant.

 

 
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