From March 2013: Whose getting new NIH money in Massachusetts?

It may take a while for the full impact of sequestration to show up in the flow of NIH dollars to Massachusetts. Rep. Edward Markey, who is running to replace John Kerry in the Senate, is calling for the restoration of NIH funding. In the meantime, here’s a look at five of the 29 new projects funding in Massachusetts in March.
A NEW DEVICE FOR ELECTRICAL & CHEMICAL MODULATION OF PATHOLOGICAL NEURAL ACTIVITY
$1,127,687 Robert Langer, MIT
Intractable psychiatric disorders are severely debilitating; and the emerging understanding of their origins has identified the need for an advanced chronic implant to deliver electrical and chemical stimulation to attenuate pathological activity in neuralcircuits. This work combines biomaterials; device microfabrication and neuroscience to develop a cannula based device that can simultaneously deliver electrical and chemical stimulation. The device will be fabricated to achieve failsafe function; prolonged biocompatibility and its functionwill be validated in non-human primate models of psychiatric disorders.
NOVEL EPIGENOMIC BIOMARKERS OF PRENATAL RISK FACTORS; AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY$594,055 Andrea Baccarelli, Harvard
The dramatic rise in obesity rates is an alarming global health trend that consumes an ever increasing portion of our limited health care budgets. During childhood alone; excess weight causes an estimated $3 billion per year in direct medical costs. Because adult-life obesity has its roots in childhood; tackling childhood obesity may represent the most cost-effective strategy to reverse the current obesity trends.
IMPACTS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS ON CHILDREN: A COMPREHENSIVE META-ANALYSIS$584,215 Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Harvard
Policymakers and program administrators currently lack systematic and comprehensive evidence on which types of early childhood programs or program components are most effective for improving the well-being – physical; cognitive and socio-emotional of vulnerable children. The proposed research will provide this information as well as provide the research community with a database that can be used to address a host of additional policy-relevant intervention questions.
 BREAST CANCER RISK FACTORS AMONG WOMEN AGED 75 AND OLDER Mara Schonberg, BIDMC, $492,360
 Because the population of women aged 75 and older is growing rapidly in the US and worldwide; and the incidence of breast cancer increases with age; a worldwide epidemic” of breast cancer is expected in the coming years; despite this; older women’s decisions whether or not to undergo mammography screening are complex since none of the randomized screening trials included women aged 75 and older. As a Beeson Scholar; Dr. Schonberg’s research focused on informing mammography screening decisions by collecting data on older women’s life expectancy and screening preferences; however; information on older women’s individualized risk of breast cancer is needed to further improve their screening decisions. In this application we will identify risk factors for late-life breast cncer using these factors to develop and validate a clinical prediction tool for women aged 75 and older to be used by older women and their doctors to make more informed decisions about breast cancer screening; thereby improving both their quality of care and quality of life.

EMERGENCE AND EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL SELF-MANAGEMENT OF PARKINSONS DISEASE$490,028, Linda Tickle-Degnen, Tufts  
Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects 1% to 2% of the US population over age 60; and its prevalence is increasing as the population ages. The proposed research will establish the natural evolution of the social lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and their families and its relationship to health outcomes; and thus has the potential to significantly advance Parkinson’s disease research and evidence-based neurological nursing and rehabilitation. The project develops the new construct of social self-management of chronic disease and results will inform the development of new interventions aimed at supporting social integration and preventing isolation and loneliness in people living with Parkinson’s disease.
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