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With a focus on learning, we employ a range of strategies to support innovation, collaboration across centers, and university-wide discussion and decision-making

 

Third Annual Award Winners 2002-2003

This year, there were 36 submissions from 87 faculty members representing 14 academic units. President Ray Ferrero, Jr., approved the awarding of 19 President's Faculty Scholarship Awards for fiscal year 2002-2003. The awards, totaling $89,719, were distributed to 46 faculty members from 13 academic units. Combined with the matching funds from the deans, the grand total of awards this year was $179,438.

In the three-year history of the awards, 89 faculty members have shared $341,984 in financial support of research and scholarship at NSU. This is a remarkable accomplishment for the university and fine testimonial to the Board of Trustees' commitment to building quality programs at NSU.


Reviewer's Photo

E. Eugenie Hartmann, Ph.D. HPD College of Optometry
Cyril Blavo, D.O. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Richard Sorkin, D.O. HPD College of Optometry
Howard P. Apple, Ph.D. CEO, President AMT Technologies

Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry
Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Ocular Biometry: Integration of Vision Screening into the Pediatric Primary Care Setting

Abstract: The goal of vision screening in young children is to eliminate preventable blindness and identify treatable conditions early enough to implement effective intervention. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently endorsed the need for more extensive studies of photoscreening technologies as a specific tool for increasing the currently low national rate of vision screening in young children (AAP, 2002). There are a number of different photoscreening optical devices that have been used in both general population screening and with specific clinical populations. Results from the available studies vary dramatically in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values, and none of the current technology meets the standards required for universal acceptance (Freedman and Preston, 1992; Atkinson, et al., 1996); Tong, et al., 1998; Simons, et al., 1999; Granet, et al., 1999; Watts, et al., 1999; Enzenauer, et al., 2000; Hartmann, et al., 2000).

The purpose of the proposed study is to use a new device, the AMT Ocular Biometer, which is a combined wavefront sensing and eye tracking apparatus. This instrument is capable of dynamically measuring ocular alignment and accommodation of both eyes simultaneously. It can be accurately thought of as a dual video recorder. The subject looks through a glass window at real targets for a period of 30 seconds. The videotape is processed to evaluate ocular alignment and refraction of each eye using a computer program. It is only necessary to get good pictures when and if the child is looking at the targets. We propose to evaluate this device in a pediatric primary care setting as a vision screening tool with very young children. Children between 3 and 6 years of age will be tested using the Ocular Biometer and the findings will be compared with results from a comprehensive, dilated eye examination. Children will be recruited from the Pediatric Clinics in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The complete eye examination will be performed in the Pediatric and Binocular Vision Clinic in the College of Optometry. This work will be a collaborative effort within Nova Southeastern University between the Colleges of Optometry and Osteopathic Medicine, as well as an external collaboration with AMT Technologies Corp., the developer of the Ocular Biometer. The study is designed to evaluate the specificity and sensitivity of the device as well as its efficacy in the primary care setting for vision screening. The findings of this work are expected to launch a sophisticated, state-of-the-art vision screening technology into the primary care setting.


Andrew Mariassy, Ph.D. HPD College of Medical Science
Maung A. Khin, M.D., Ph.D. HPD College of Medical Science
Anthony Ottavani, D.O. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Kathleen Khin, M.D. HPD College of Medical Science
Darren Sommer (Student)

Dean Harold Laubach - HPD College of Medical Science
Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Morphometric Assessment of the Airwall Structure in Severe Asthmatics and Control Subjects

Abstract: Asthma is a chronic, recurring inflammatory lung disease characterized by reversible bronchial obstruction-constriction and an increased responsiveness of the tracheobronchial tree to a variety of stimuli. This results in hyperemia, edema, submucosal gland and smooth muscle hyperplasia and eventually connective tissue deposition and airway remodeling. We hypothesize that all of these morphological components of the asthmatic response results in one common endpoint: increased thickness of the airway wall, with encroachment on the airway lumen. This outcome may result in a much more drastic narrowing of the susceptible airways when a subject is exposed to a minimal asthmatic stimulus, eliciting a disproportionally large effect on the chronically impaired asthmatic airways as compared to controls. In the present proposal, we intend to investigate the quantitative relationships between the airway wall thickness, its morphologic components and lumen size. We will measure connective tissue compartments, including smooth muscle, cartilage, vasculature, edema and submucosal glands in subjects that died in status asthmaticus and compare these with control subjects. This comparison is possible because the length of the internal airway perimeter remains remarkably constant even during the severe bronchial constriction due to the folding of mucosa. The major question asked here is which constituents of the airway wall are most responsible for the narrowing of airways in a severe asthma attack. To resolve this question, we propose to measure the airway wall structures in histological sections of human bronchial tissue with an image analysis program, Image-Pro® Plus. Our preliminary data from the morphometric analysis of small airways suggest that the submucosal glands in bronchi of asthmatic subjects are larger as compared to controls. This may not only contribute to the potentially more copious mucus secretion, but also to the increase of the airway wall volume, consequently contributing to the narrowing of the airway lumen.


Charles Messing, Ph.D. Oceanographic Center
Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D. Oceanographic Center

Dean Richard Dodge - Oceanographic Center

Project Title: Recognition of Species in the Crinoidea: Comparing Genetics with Traditional Taxonomy Including a Lecture Series and Laboratory on Crinoids in Science and History

Abstract: Crinoids, commonly known as sea lilies and feather stars, are abundant and diverse in many marine environments. Yet, because they are difficult to maintain in aquaria, have never been bred in the laboratory, and because many species are known from few specimens, they remain among the least understood of marine animals. Recognition of crinoid species is particularly ambiguous. Yet, accurate identification of these animals is critical for: 1) understanding their roles in marine ecosystems, where some may be harbingers of environmental change; 2) collecting specimens as potential sources of new pharmaceutical products, and 3) understanding their extensive fossil record. To clarify what constitutes a crinoid species, we will compare how genetic compositions (i.e., DNA) vary relative to the physical, or morphological, traits currently used to differentiate species in traditional taxonomic classification. Much of the crinoid body is plankton-feeding apparatus, which varies with growth and environmental conditions (e.g., current velocity). Analysis of specific portions of crinoid DNA will clarify the identities of 1) similar forms that differ in different habitats or at different depths, 2) unusually variable species, and 3) multiple species that may be growth stages of one species. DNA sequences should be similar within a species and differ between species. Analytical methods will follow established protocols already used successfully by us to study crinoids and other organisms. We will disseminate results via at least two peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and one international conference presentation. The interdisciplinary component of this project is a lecture series and hands-on laboratory for the University School science program that covers 1) taxonomy, evolution and the species concept, 2) crinoid ecology, 3) crinoids in the early history of deep-sea exploration, and laboratory exercises in taxonomy, identification and analyses of deep-sea skeletal remains using crinoids as a model.


Michelle Clark, Ph.D. HPD College of Pharmacy

Dean William Hardigan - HPD College of Pharmacy

Project Title: The Regulation of Astrocyte Growth by Angiotensin II

Abstract: Angiotensin II (Ang II) is an important peptide of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) that is important in regulating fluid balance, sodium intake, thirst and blood pressure. The RAS is highly activated in inflammatory diseases such as shock and encephalitis. An important characteristic of central nervous system inflammatory disease is an increase in the growth and proliferation of astrocytes, a condition known as reactive astrocytosis. Reactive astrocytosis is known to alter the blood brain barrier and to inhibit axonal regeneration. Studies that elucidate the mechanisms involved in astrocyte growth and proliferation will be important in providing treatment strategies for inflammatory disease states of the central nervous system. I hypothesize that Ang II plays a role in astrocyte growth and proliferation and thus in reactive astrocytosis. In previous studies, the P.I. and colleagues have found that Ang II stimulates the astrocyte growth by activating mitogen-activated protein kinases through an effect on tyrosine kinases. The P.I. is requesting funding to determine the mechanisms by which Ang II controls astrocyte growth and proliferation. Specifically, I will investigate: a) which of the tyrosine kinases is involved in Ang II-mediated astrocyte growth and proliferation; b) the role of the intracellular signaling molecules phosphoinositide 3-kinase and p90 KDa ribosomal s6 kinase in Ang II-mediated astrocyte growth and proliferation; and c) the transcription factors involved in Ang II-mediated astrocyte growth and proliferation. The P.I. is experienced in preparing primary cultures of astrocytes, in running gel electrophoresis and performing other experimental techniques necessary to complete the project. The results of the studies will be submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals (Hypertension or Glia) and presented at National Scientific Meetings (such as Experimental Biology). The P.I. will also apply for a National Institute of Health grant or an American Heart Association grant using data garnered from this proposal.


Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jennie Lou, M.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Maryellen Antonetti, M.P.H., PA-C HPD College of Allied Health

Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dean Rick Davis - HPD College of Allied Health

Project Title: Evaluation of Serum Levels and Dietary Intake of Vitamin D in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Factors associated with disease onset include genetic predisposition, environmental and host factors, such as nutrition. Evidence is limited on the role of nutrition in MS disease progression. This preliminary study will assess the association between disease progression and nutrient intake, particularly vitamin D.
Defective CNS myelin production and maintenance characterize MS pathophysiology and clinical manifestation. Evidence suggests that cell-mediated autoimmunity is important in disease pathogenesis, specifically cytokine production. An imbalance in cytokine production is thought to play a major role in immune activation/ deactivation in MS patients. Experimental data suggest the active form of vitamin D can prevent or suppress MS progression, by impacting on cytokine production. There are no reported data on vitamin D profile in MS patients. Possibly, MS patients are genetically predisposed to develop abnormal vitamin D metabolism when coupled with environmental insult (e.g., ultraviolet exposure) or other host susceptibility factors. Nutrient intake data alone may be insufficient to evaluate vitamin D adequacy in MS patients.

The sample will be 50 MS patients (cases), characterized by clinical subtype, and 25 controls without MS. Food frequency questionnaires will measure dietary intake; serum levels of active vitamin D with be assayed, as an indication of bioavailibility. Univariate and multivariate analyses will be used to evaluate associations. Vitamin D levels will be continuous and categorical (i.e., deficient/ not deficient, or quartiles). Odds ratios and confidence limits from logistic regression models will estimate the risk of disease status with specific dietary variables. Pearson's correlation coefficients will be used to assess the relationship between dietary intake and serum vitamin D. These data will help define further research to evaluate the practical implications of vitamin D as a clinical tool in optimal MS disease management and health promotion.


Arthur DeCarlo, D.D.S., Ph.D. HPD College of Dental Medicine
Dawn DeCarlo, O.D. HPD College of Optometry
William Balton, D.D.S. HPD College of Dental Medicine

Dean Robert Uchin - HPD College of Dental Medicine
Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry

Project Title: Periodontal Disease and Other Complications

Abstract: Complications of diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2) such as nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy, peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease develop over time in relation to the level of serum glucose control in diabetics. Periodontal disease has only recently been recognized as a complication of diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2). Recently we have found that control of hyperglycemia improves control of periodontal disease in diabetics. Interestingly, control of periodontitis also improves control of hyperglycemia in diabetics. Furthermore, there are similarities in the pathophysiologic presentation of periodontitis with other diabetic complications related to the accumulation of basement membrane proteins, which suggests that similar biochemical mechanisms are involved in periodontal disease and the various diabetic complications.

It would be of great interest to know which of the other diabetic complications present more frequently with periodontitis in diabetes. This information has not been gathered in a comprehensive manner, most likely due to the historical absence of periodontitis as a diabetic complication in the literature. These data acquired in this project may be of diagnostic or of predictive value, allowing health care providers to assess the relative risk of developing certain diabetic complications based on the presence of other complications including periodontitis. Further, identification of a link between periodontitis and any other diabetic complication should provide greater understanding of involved pathophysiologic mechanisms, bringing the community closer to controlling or preventing such complications.

The aim of this project is to measure the association of periodontitis with other complications of diabetes. We will collect medical history, measure diabetic retinopathy, measure glycosylated hemoglobin, measure urine protein levels, and measure a serum marker of nephropathy from consenting diabetic patients of the College of Dental Medicine. Interactions among the diabetic complications will be revealed by ANOVA.


Cristina Gwaltney, M.S. University School
Andrew Rogerson, Ph.D. Oceanographic Center/Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
D. Esiobu, Ph.D. Florida Atlantic University
M. Samadpour, Ph.D. University of Washington

Dean Jerome Chermak - University School
Dean Richard Dodge - Oceanographic Center
Dean Norma Goonen - Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title: Application of Molecular Methods to Investigate the Levels of Fecal Contamination on South Florida Beaches

Abstract: There is growing concern that traditional indicator organisms (a group of microbes currently used to gauge levels of fecal contamination) may be inappropriate for Florida's sub-tropical waters. Moreover, regulatory agencies traditionally determine the hygienic quality of recreational beaches through monitoring the water; there has been no consideration for public health risk due to contact with sand. Both of these shortcomings are currently being addressed by in an EPA funded study to assess levels of fecal contamination at south Florida's beaches (AR, principal investigator). Results from this study have shown that sand accumulates high numbers of fecal indicator organisms, much higher than the water. The question now becomes - are there correspondingly high numbers of fecal pathogens? If so, then exposure to sand may pose an increased health risk to beach users, especially children. The alternative scenario is that fecal indicators are surviving and growing in sand and giving a false impression of health risk due to fecal pollution.

Because of a recent contact with Dr. Samadpour of the University of Washington and Molecular Epidemiology Inc., we now have the opportunity to employ molecular methods to analyze beach sand for specific sewage-derived pathogens. This would take the beach research along a new direction and address the issue of why there are so many fecal indicators are present in sand. Since the techniques to be utilized are relatively straightforward, there is an opportunity to partner with the University School and train several (5 per year) advanced placement students from the School in molecular biological techniques. The students will benefit by being involved in an exciting, ongoing research program and the project benefits by additional laboratory help. At the University School, the students would be mentored by Ms. T. Gwaltney . At the OC they would be supervised and trained by Dr. Rogerson.

This proposal asks for equipment and consumable money to make this cooperative research and educational activity a reality. Although initially for one-year, the infrastructure would be in place to allow high school students to be trained in molecular methods indefinitely.


Devada Singh, Pharm.D. HPD College of Pharmacy
Leanne Lai, Ph.D. HPD College of Pharmacy
Stan Hannah, Ph.D. Fischler Graduate School of Education
& Human Services
Morton Diamond, M.D. HPD College of Allied Health

Dean William Hardigan HPD College of Pharmacy
Dean/Provost H. Wells Singleton Fischler Graduate School of Education & Human Services

Project Title: Impact of Pharmaceutical Care on Congestive Heart Failure Patients

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to determine if the pharmaceutical care intervention can improve the quality of life and lessen the mortality of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF).

Broward General Medical Center is a 744-bed hospital with 24,000 patients admitted annually. The study population is characterized by a preponderance of minority and underserved patients, groups known to have more unmet post-hospital needs and lower levels of adequacy of care.

This longitudinal population-based study is designed to determine the impact of a CHF intervention program by comparing the 9-month period before (October 2001 through June 2002) and the 9-month period after (July 2002 through March 2003) implementation of the intervention. Clinical pharmacists will work in the CHF clinic alongside other medical clinicians and will assess the patient's pharmacotherapy regimen (prescription, OTC, herbal), and make recommendations on dosage adjustments, drug interactions, and changing medications. The clinical pharmacists will also recommend what necessary labs should be ordered, distribute pillboxes, blood pressure kits, weight scales, educational materials. In addition, the patients will be asked to complete a quality of life - SF 12 questionnaire at baseline and at three-months intervals.

Statistical methods will include both descriptive analysis and paired t-tests to compare baseline to end-of-study results of each outcome variable under 0.05 alpha level. The SF-12 physical (PCS-12) and mental (MCS-12) components summary scales will be scored using norm-based methods.

The significance of this pilot study may be profound. If the program is shown to make significant impact on patients, the pharmaceutical intervention will become an important component in the future CHF treatment. The results will be used as the foundation for a major grant request from the federal government or national foundation.


Rachel A. Coulter, O.D. HPD College of Optometry
Cyril Blavo, D.O. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Josephine Shallo-Hoffman, Ph.D. HPD College of Optometry
Pamela R. Oliver, O.D. HPD College of Optometry

Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry
Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Determining Key Differences in Preschool Vision Screening

Abstract: Vision screening of preschool children detects problems that can cause irreversible loss. The most targeted condition in this population is amblyopia (lazy eye) occurring in approximately two to five percent of the population. This collaborative public health study of preschool vision screening compares screening tests in two socio-economically distinct populations. Methods: Preschool children, aged two to six years, will be recruited from: 1) the NSU affiliated preschool programs and 2) Caridad Health Clinic serving indigent children of Mexican farm workers. Each child will be screened with two visual acuity tests and two stereoacuity tests. Each test attempt will be timed. Children who do not complete the initial testing attempt will be retested. If a child does not complete the test on the second attempt, he or she will be classified as failing that test. To pass the vision screening, the child must pass one visual acuity test and the stereoacuity test. Each child who fails the screening will be referred for a complete eye examination. In addition, a control group, every fourth child who passed the screening, will be referred for an eye examination. Neither the parents, nor the children, nor the clinical examiner who performs the eye examination will know whether the child passed or failed the screening prior to the eye examination. Data Analysis: Data collected will be used to calculate the testability, sensitivity, and specificity of each test. Results will be analyzed for differences by age and population using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post-hoc LSD tests. Significance: This study will yield 1) benefits for the communities that it serves and 2) scientific contributions in vision science. The study is double-blind and is unique, in that eye examinations are also offered to children who pass the screening to measure the effectiveness of the instruments under investigation.


Luigi X. Cubeddu, M.D., Ph.D. HPD College of Pharmacy

Dean William Hardigan - HPD College of Pharmacy

Project Title: Alpha-Adducin Polymorphism and Salt-Induced Hypertension

Abstract: Genes encoding for alpha-adducin, angiotensin converting enzyme and nitric oxide synthase levels have been considered as candidate genes for hypertension (HT). Alpha adducin is a cytoskeletal protein present in the renal tubules and is involved in sodium reabsorption. Point mutations in this protein (Gly460Trp) are associated with HT. Because alpha adducin regulates sodium reabsorption, mutations in the adducin gene may be associated with salt-sensitive forms of HT. In this study, we propose:

  • To develop an assay with the purpose of genotyping the alpha-adducin point mutation. The assay should detect subjects carrying the wild type of alpha adducin (Gly/Gly), as well as those who carry the heterozygous (Gly460Trp) and homozygous (Trp460Trp) mutants.
  • To determine if the presence of alpha-adducin polymorphism is associated with salt sensitive HT.

This is the first of a series of studies devoted to evaluate the contribution of candidate genes to the development of salt sensitive hypertension.


Alina M. Perez, J.D., L.C.S.W. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jennie Lou, M.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Maryellen Antonetti, M.P.H., PA-C HPD College of Allied Health

Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dean Rick Davis - HPD College of Allied Health

Project Title: Evaluating Hispanics' Satisfaction with Hospice Care: A Cultural Diversity

Abstract: Statistics demonstrate that Hispanics in the United States are under-represented in hospice and palliative care. Studies suggest that this under-utilization may be due to cultural barriers that exist when the language, experiences and cultural perspectives of the patient differs from that of the provider. In response to this problem, Hospice by the Sea, in Boca Raton, Florida, has created a new program called the Cultural Diversity Initiative. One of the goals of this program is to improve the delivery of health care services to dying Hispanic patients and their families through strategies designed to ensure that they receive care that is culturally and linguistically responsive to their needs. Among these strategies is the creation of the Hispanic Interdisciplinary Team (The Hispanic Team), which will focus directly on the delivery of care to Hispanic hospice patients.

This proposal seeks to obtain funds to determine how this culturally sensitive intervention (The Hispanic Team) will affect patient and caregiver satisfaction with hospice services. The methodology will involve qualitative measures of patient/caregiver satisfaction collected through focus groups and interviews. In addition, results will be supported by quantitative analysis of data collected from satisfaction surveys. Data analysis will compare pre- and post -study levels of patient and caregiver satisfaction. Information collected from this study will help to determine if the use of a culturally sensitive team could be integrated into a best practice model for hospice care that will eliminate some of the barriers to utilization of end-of-life care experienced by Hispanics and other minority groups.


Edward O. Keith, Ph.D. Oceanographic Center/Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
Bart Baca, Ph.D. Oceanographic Center
Steven Dale John U. Lloyd Beach State Park

Dean Dick Dodge - Oceanographic Center
Dean Norma Goonen - Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title: The Natural History of John U. Lloyd Beach State Park

Abstract: John U. Lloyd Beach State Park ("The Park") consists of 251 acres of barrier island beachfront lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Its natural setting contrasts sharply with the urban development of Ft. Lauderdale and provides an underutilized laboratory for the teaching of ecology and environmental sciences in a field setting. The climate, geology, and vegetation have been relatively well characterized. In contrast, the fauna, especially small mammals, are poorly characterized and incompletely documented. Standard survey methods for terrestrial fauna, including small mammal live-trapping, early morning bird counts, and vegetative transects, etc, will be utilized to gather the data. Standard methods will be used to analyze these data and incorporate them into a book that represents the output work product of this project. Graduate students will be utilized to the collect data, providing both financial assistance and thesis research topics that further their education at the Oceanographic Center.
A secondary goal of this project is to develop an undergraduate science course in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences entitled "The Natural History of John U. Lloyd Beach State Park". This course will meet the needs of students in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences for field-based education, as required for their major. The course will provide education in the fields of ecology, natural history, environmental science, and oceanography, and prepare students for internships at the Park where they could lead educational tours for the general public and school groups; assist with habitat restoration, remediation, and management; and assisting Park personnel with other priority activities. A peer-reviewed paper in the open literature, and the output volume, provide the mechanisms for the dissemination of the results of this effort, as well as an educational resource for the general public.


David Reitman, Ph.D. Center for Psychological Studies

Dean Ronald Levant - Center for Psychological Studies

Project Title: Parent-Mediated Sports and Social Skills Training For ADHD-Diagnosed Children

Abstract: Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder frequently experience social problems. Initial attempts to promote the acquisition of social skills via medication, group therapy, or through cognitively-oriented didactic instruction have proven of limited value. Recently, researchers have developed multimodal treatment protocols that have incorporated parents, teachers, peers, and medication into social skills intervention packages. Less frequently, training in athletic and social competence (i.e., sports skills and sportsmanship) has been used in an attempt to facilitate social relationships. Researchers have demonstrated that athletic and social competence can be improved in training settings, but few attempts have been made to promote generalization of these skills to settings outside of the treatment sessions. In the present study, we will evaluate a parent-mediated social skills training program using a multiple baseline design across four participants. Outcome assessment will focus on direct observation of the children's behavior in the sports setting; before, during, and after intervention, but measures of social skills, treatment acceptability, and global measures of behavioral improvement (rating scales) will also be obtained. If effective, these methods could be evaluated in a larger study examining the social impact of such training on the social status of rejected ADHD children over an extended period of time. Training parents to effectively coach their children in social skills may also prove useful in preventing some of the negative effects of social isolation that commonly accompany an ADHD diagnosis.


Michael M. Patterson, Ph.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Eric Shamus, P.T., Ph.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Determination in Palpatory Diagnosis and Manipulative Treatment by Osteopathic Physicians and Physical Therapists

Abstract: Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder frequently experience social problems. Initial attempts to promote the acquisition of social skills via medication, group therapy, or through cognitively-oriented didactic instruction have proven of limited value. Recently, researchers have developed multimodal treatment protocols that have incorporated parents, teachers, peers, and medication into social skills intervention packages. Less frequently, training in athletic and social competence (i.e., sports skills and sportsmanship) has been used in an attempt to facilitate social relationships. Researchers have demonstrated that athletic and social competence can be improved in training settings, but few attempts have been made to promote generalization of these skills to settings outside of the treatment sessions. In the present study, we will evaluate a parent-mediated social skills training program using a multiple baseline design across four participants. Outcome assessment will focus on direct observation of the children's behavior in the sports setting; before, during, and after intervention, but measures of social skills, treatment acceptability, and global measures of behavioral improvement (rating scales) will also be obtained. If effective, these methods could be evaluated in a larger study examining the social impact of such training on the social status of rejected ADHD children over an extended period of time. Training parents to effectively coach their children in social skills may also prove useful in preventing some of the negative effects of social isolation that commonly accompany an ADHD diagnosis.


Ronald Block, Ph.D. HPD College of Medical Science

Dean Harold Laubach - HPD College of Medical Science

Project Title: Synthesis and Testing of Gadolinium Derivatives of Hormones

Abstract: The detection of cancerous mammary tumors is usually achieved in the earliest stages by mammography, and in later stages by palpation. Early detection is advantageous for lumpectomy excision or treatment. However, in the case of either very dense breast tissue, the presence of fibrocystic disease or implanted prosthesis, these lesions can be obscured until their size is dangerously large. Advanced development of such lesions makes more likely the possibility that they have either spread to lymph nodes, or metastasized to distant locations.

Magnetic resonance imaging can under the right conditions give exquisitely detailed pictures of soft tissue lesions. In the case of mammary tumors, the complicating tissue components and the lower sensitivity of non-enhanced MRI than mammography to tumor size makes MRI less than optimal in its performance. For these reasons, the use of paramagnetic compounds has been explored by several workers in order to enhance breast tumor appearance in MR images. Currently, such contrast agents are non-specific, going throughout the bloodstream with no particular localization. This makes the utility of such agents with breast lesions very time dependent, because the agent will eventually be equally distributed throughout the vascular pool.

For the above reasons, I propose to synthesize gadolinium-DTPA derivatives of the hormones prolactin, placental lactogen, and oxytocin. It is well established that these hormones have membrane receptors in mammary tissues. If time permits, a DTPA derivative of estradiol will also be synthesized, although estrogens bind only transiently to cell surface proteins. The possible interaction of the gadolinium-DTPA-hormones with cultured mammary tumor cells will be measured by determining the proton T1 and T2 relaxation times of the water in samples of packed tumor cells both with and without the gadolinium-DTPA complexed to the various hormones, and bound to the cells.


Jennie Lou, M.D. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Steve Cohen, M.S., PA-C HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Family Wellness and Health Education Center: A Community Needs Assessment

Abstract: The purpose of this proposal is to conduct a needs assessment to determine the critical healthcare needs of the people in the city of Port Antonio, Jamaica. The goal of this needs assessment is to provide valuable information for health researchers to clearly identify the healthcare priorities of the target population and create a new healthcare delivery program that addresses those needs in such a way as to make it more feasible, practical, and desirable for people to make healthcare a priority in their daily lives. This new healthcare delivery program will be the establishment of a comprehensive, clinical-wellness center that is directed at family wellness and health education. The establishment of a comprehensive wellness center will provide multiple health services in one setting, promote health education, and make the financial cost of care more manageable to the average citizen. It is also the goal of the comprehensive wellness center to enable the target population to be more proactive in their healthcare. Additional benefits will be reduced national healthcare expenditure for intensive care, improved social welfare and public health. As a major interest for both the Public Health program and Physician Assistants Department, the center itself will provide a setting for rural health research, program evaluation, and invaluable information and experiences for future health policies and initiatives directed at health issues on the island of Jamaica, and for similar situations on other Caribbean islands. In keeping with the mission of the University, "the enhancement of the well being of multicultural and under-served populations", this center will also provide opportunities for NSU to expand its already existing medical mission program in under-served countries, and establish a community service site for the entire Health Professions Division. Supporting research like this one in Jamaica will significantly enhance NSU's profile in the Caribbean region.


Wiley Mittenberg, Ph.D. Center for Psychological Studies
Steven Friedland, J.D. Shepard Broad Law Center
Frederick Lewis, D.O. HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dean Ronald Levant - Center for Psychological Studies
Dean Joseph D. Harbaugh - Shepard Broad Law Center
Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title: Differential Diagnosis of Malingered Brain Injury Using Intelligence Tests

Abstract: Traumatic brain injury is the most common cause of neurological disorder in the United States, with an annual incidence of over 1.5 million cases. Although acute space occupying lesions may be visualized by radiographic methods such as CT or MRI, diffuse shearing of neuronal projections is thought to be the primary cause of chronic cognitive impairment caused by traumatic brain injury. Axonal shearing occurs at the microscopic level and cannot be directly visualized by radiographic methods. Objective diagnosis of chronic intellectual impairment typically involves examination with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-3 (WAIS-3). Traumatic brain injury may significantly reduce IQ, and differentially affect component abilities such as short term memory and reasoning. In clinical settings the extent of intellectual impairment cannot be predicted by existing radiographic methods, and must be directly tested with the WAIS-3. Test results are used by physicians to make judgments about prognosis and treatment. IQ tests are also used by the courts to determine the amount of compensation awarded in personal injury litigation and for determinations of criminal competence and sanity. Attempts to exaggerate or malinger intellectual impairment are frequent in these cases, and account for about 40% of litigating or compensation seeking head trauma claims. The current study is designed to provide an empirically tested method for identification of malingered intellectual impairment. The WAIS-3 will be administered to 40 individuals who have sustained medically documented brain injury, and 40 normal neurologically subjects who simulate deficient intelligence. Test scores will be statistically analyzed by stepwise discriminant function analysis. This will produce an algebraic equation capable of making differential diagnoses between actual and malingered impairment in IQ. The resulting procedure can be applied to clinical cases to determine if intellectual impairment is present or exaggerated.


Bai-chuan Jiang, Ph.D. HPD College of Optometry
Yin Tea, O.D. HPD College of Optometry

Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry

Project Title: Accomodative Therapy for Delaying Presbyopia

Abstract: Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye's ability to change focus (accommodation) for seeing near objects. The long-term goal of this research is to understand the physiological mechanism in presbyopia progression. In this study we will test whether a method of accommodative training can keep the ciliary muscle and the lens flexible, and therefore delay the progression of presbyopia

During training, the subject will be asked to view a moving target through an optical device which will exercise each eye slowly and rhythmically over its full range of accommodation. We will use both subjective and objective measurements to assess the subject's accommodative amplitude before and after training. The subject will exercise each eye for 5 minutes per day for two weeks. We are going to compare 1) the accommodative amplitudes before and after training at each visit; 2) the accommodative amplitude before the training period to that after the two-week training period; and 3) the results obtained from objective and subjective measurements.

Presbyopia progression is associated with aging and occurs in essentially every person over age 45. The result of this study may lead to a new strategy for delaying the onset and progression of presbyopia among pre-presbyopic subjects. In addition, the result will also help to assess two existing theories related to the mechanism of presbyopia, i.e. the Donders-Duane-Fincham theory and Helmholtz-Hess-Gullstrand theory.


Vincent B. Van Hasselt, Ph.D. Center for Psychological Studies
Gregory M. Vecchi, M.S. (Student) Graduate School of Humanities &
Social Sciences

Dean Ronald Levant - Center for Psychological Studies
Dean Honggang Yang - Graduate School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Project Title: Development of a System for the Classification of Hostage Takers

Abstract: Hostage-taking, the holding of one or more persons against their will, with the actual or implied use of force, has become a growing problem for law enforcement personnel worldwide. However, despite the increased public, media, and professional attention to this phenomenon, few investigative efforts have been directed to determining the characteristics and types of individuals who engage in such criminal behavior. The purpose of the proposed project is to carry out the initial phase of a large-scale program to develop an empirically-derived, behaviorally-based system for the classification of hostage-takers. This will be a collaborative effort with the FBI Crisis Negotiations Unit (CNC). Further, the project will adhere to the assessment model originally constructed by the FBI Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) in their landmark investigations which generated psychological profiles and taxonomies of serial killers and sexual predators through in-depth evaluations. Funding sought through this application is specifically for consultation and collaboration with CNU and BSU personnel at the FBI Academy to: (1) design a standardized Structured Interview protocol that will be administered to hostage-takers, (2) develop a Record Review protocol that will be employed to obtain archival data (i.e., information from psychiatric and criminal records, etc.) pertinent to their evaluation, and (3) conduct a pilot test of these protocols with 10-12 incarcerated hostage-takers. Completed protocols and collected data from this study will serve as pilot data for a joint grant application (with the FBI) to the U.S. Department of Justice to fund a large-scale evaluation program involving approximately 200 hostage-takers. It is predicted that the resulting classification system will: a) help to further threat assessment methodology, b) increase non-lethal resolutions through use of more prescriptive strategies in the hostage-negotiation process, and c) improve the design of violence prevention and intervention programs.