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News and Highlights

Discontinuing statin therapy for patients with life-limiting illnesses is found safe and beneficialWebel

Maryjo Prince-Paul, an assistant professor of nursing from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and other researchers in palliative care can now answer questions from patients with terminal illnesses about stopping statin medications.

Research published today in the JAMA Internal Medicine article, “Safety and Benefit of Discontinuing Statin Therapy in the Setting of Advanced, Life-Limiting Illness A Randomized Clinical Trial,” provides Prince-Paul, other palliative-care nurses and health-care providers with the first scientific evidence that it’s okay for patients with cancer, heart disease and other life-limiting illnesses to stop taking statin medications, or at least begin conversations about making that choice.

Prince-Paul, PhD, APRN, ACHPN, FPCN, was among a team of doctors, palliative-care nurses, social workers and statisticians from 15 Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group member sites nationally that recruited and collected data for the major National Institute of Nursing Research-funded study.

Read more on think.

HIV patients may soon be prescribed home exercise in addition to antiretroviral medications to help ward off chronic illnessesWebel

In addition to antiretroviral medications, people with HIV may soon begin receiving a home exercise plan from their doctors, according to Allison Webel, PhD, RN, assistant professor of nursing.

“People with HIV are developing secondary chronic illnesses earlier and more frequently than their non-HIV counterparts,” said Webel. “And heart disease is one for which they are especially at risk.”

With the long-term goal of creating a new evidence-based, home-exercise intervention that doctors can share with HIV patients, researchers from Case Western Reserve, Kent State University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center wanted to first find out whether people with HIV even exercise at home. They recruited 102 HIV patients to study their weekly exercise habits and found that most did exercise, but not intensely enough.

Read more on think.

Study finds more weight-loss approaches needed for people with neurological disabilitiesDecker

A review of nutrition and weight-loss interventions for people with impaired mobility found strategies are sorely lacking for people with neurological disabilities, according to a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic.

Interventions are overwhelmingly geared toward muscular disorders, leaving a gap in approaches that could help people with neurological disabilities become more active, eat healthier and lose weight, they conclude.

Unhealthy eating and lack of exercise can lead to weight gain that increases the likelihood of developing other illnesses, such as diabetes and heart problems. Such ailments, in turn, present additional challenges for people to engage in healthy behaviors, said Matthew Plow, assistant professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Read more on The Daily.

Why Do We Feel Tired After A Good Night's Sleep?Decker

While there are several possible explanations for this unappreciated feeling of cloudiness, Michael Decker, Ph.D., a sleep specialist and associate professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, first suggests that something called sleep inertia may be to blame.

"As we sleep, our brain rotates through several stages known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM), slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep," Decker told The Huffington Post. "Although asleep, our brain is metabolically very active in REM sleep, and fairly active in NREM sleep. In the morning, we typically awaken from NREM sleep. As our brain is already metabolically active, the leap to consciousness is very short."

However, when we are still in SWS, the brain reduces metabolic activity, which significantly limits our conscious awareness and responsiveness, according to Decker. If we happen to be in SWS when the alarm clock goes off, the leap to consciousness is a more disruptive one than experienced from NREM or REM sleep.

Read more on Huffpost Healthy Living.

Researchers conclude cancer experience triggers thoughts of healthy lifestyle, changes in survivors and familySusan Mazanec

After studying cancer survivors and their family caregivers, researchers at Case Western Reserve University concluded that the period between the final cancer treatment and first post-treatment checkup may be an ideal time for the entire household to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.

“A window of opportunity exists during the post-treatment transition period for oncology clinicians to reach out to patients and their caregivers who want to have a healthy start on life after cancer,” said Susan Mazanec, PhD, RN, AOCN, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Mazanec, also a nurse scientist at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, was lead investigator of the study, “Health Behaviors in Family Members of Patients Completing Cancer Treatment,” recently reported in Oncology Nursing Forum.

Read more on The Daily.

Depression symptoms of African-American cancer patients may be under-recognized, study finds Amy Zhang

Nurse scientist Amy Zhang, who has long examined quality-of-life issues in cancer patients, wondered whether depression in African-American cancer patients has been under-recognized for treatment.

Accurately assessing depression in cancer patients is difficult in general because the physical symptoms of cancer and depression—low energy, lack of sleep and loss of appetite—are so similar.

“African-American cancer patients are often sicker and have more severe physical symptoms,” said Zhang, PhD, an associate professor at Case Western Reserve’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, “So I wanted to see if something was missing in how and what we were asking patients.”

Among other important implications, identifying and treating depression in cancer patients is critical because those with a more optimistic outlook tend to live longer.

Read more on think.

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  • Evanne Juratovac, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, assistant professor, received the Alumni Legacy Award from the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health.
  • Ana Laura Solano López, PhDc, BSN, RN, doctoral student, received an award from the Alumni Association of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing for her study, "The Relationships Among Body Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Management, and Blood Pressure in Adults with Hypertension."
  • Allison Webel, PhD, RN, assistant professor, received an ACES+ ADVANCE Opportunity Grant from Case Western Reserve for "Improving Exercise and Cardiometabolic Fitness in HIV-Infected Adults: Dissemination of Findings."
  • Michael J. Decker, PhD, RN, RRT, Diplomate ABSM, associate professor, received an award from the Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative at CWRU for "Biologic Determinants of Exercise-Mediated Symptom Reduction in Chronic Fatigue."
  • Lenette M. Jones, PhD, ACNS-BC, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of Nursing, received the MNRS Self-Care Research Dissertation Award for "Reducing Disparities in Hypertension among African-American Women through Understanding Information Seeking and Information Use."
  • Norman Carl Swart, PhD student, received a conference scholarship from the International Society for Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC), covering all expenses for the July conference. Swart's abstract was also accepted.
  • Shanina Knighton, PhD student, was accepted for a pre-doctoral fellowship position in the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program

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