Health Briefs

Health Briefs

Study Looks at Egg Whites for Breakfast  

Joan Eckerson, Ph.D., and three undergraduate research assistants in the Department of Exercise Science and Pre-Health Professions recently completed data collection that examined the effect of three breakfast meals on satiety and dietary intake in college-aged women. ConAgra Foods sponsored the study.  

The investigators recruited 40 normal-weight women who regularly ate a breakfast low in protein. Every subject ate either egg whites, pastries or their regular breakfast for five consecutive days — a different breakfast each week for three weeks. Although data analysis is in progress, the investigators hypothesize that the egg white breakfast will result in greater dietary protein intake and higher ratings of fullness. If the research shows that increasing protein at breakfast results in a lower total daily caloric intake, it may have positive implications for weight loss.  

Study Examines Possible Link between Nutrition during
Infancy and Obesity

College of Nursing faculty Barbara Synowiecki and Misty Schwartz, Ph.D., have partnered with the Osteoporosis Research Center to study feeding techniques and nutritional intakes of 30 infants who are formula fed from birth to 6 months of age. While it is becoming widely accepted that a child’s nutritional status in early life may influence the overall health and long-term predisposition to obesity, infancy — a critical time for growth and development — is not often targeted for obesity prevention.

Health experts recommend breastfeeding, but many mothers either need to or choose to formula-feed their babies. The study’s goal, therefore, is to develop interventions and strategies to promote healthy growth of infants and children while preventing childhood obesity, especially in high-risk populations. The research team has enrolled 20 participants with 10 infants completing the study and 10 currently in the study.   

Creighton Conducts Pediatric Flu Vaccine Study

Meera Varman, M.D., of Creighton’s Pediatric Infectious Disease Division is comparing regular flu vaccine shots to an investigational vaccine in children 6 months to 5 years of age. Half of the participants receive the regular flu virus vaccine and the other half the investigational vaccine containing a substance that enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen.

Children in the study will be followed for the flu season to see if they develop symptoms of influenza. Data will include the number of work days parents miss as well as the number of school or daycare days the child misses related to the child having the flu.

Fighting Chronic Disease among Minorities

Creighton University earned a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health grant totaling nearly $1.5 million over the next three years to reduce health disparities in the African-American population in Douglas County.

“The cost of managing chronic diseases in Douglas County is enormous and growing,” says Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, M.D., associate vice provost of Health Sciences and principal investigator of the grant. “In this country, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability and health care costs, accounting for seven of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care.”

In Douglas County, the African-American population experiences above average incidence of death and disability due to chronic diseases. Creighton University’s Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity-Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health has joined forces with community stakeholders and will use public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, as well as improve access to chronic disease prevention, risk reduction and management opportunities.

Professor Earns $1.5 Million Grant to Continue Epilepsy Research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has awarded Timothy Simeone, Ph.D., a five-year $1.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to identify new therapies to manage epilepsy.  

In a previous study, Simeone, an assistant professor of pharmacology in Creighton University’s School of Medicine, identified one particular protein important for managing seizures in children and adolescents with a special high-fat diet. His current research explores the role of this protein and associated regulator pathways in normal and epileptic brain function. One in 26 people will develop epilepsy and approximately 30 percent can’t adequately manage the seizures with current medications.