Academics & Research

Research

2017

Gene Linked to Higher Risk for Premature Menopause

While most women experience menopause around 51 years of age, women with primary ovarian insufficiency go through menopause before the age of 40, with some going through the life-altering event as early as in their teens. Corrine Welt, MD, professor of internal medicine at University of Utah Health, believes an answer may lie in the scores of genetic data housed in the Utah Population Database (UPDB).

How Cells Repair the “Bubble Wrap” that Protects DNA

Our DNA is wrapped in a bubble, a double membrane called the nuclear envelope, which protects it and directs molecular traffic to and from the nucleus. Many natural processes, such as cell division, create holes in the nuclear envelope, and for years, scientists have puzzled over how these gaps are filled. New research from the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Oncological Sciences has helped to elucidate this process, finding how an ancient pathway is recruited to do the job.

Relief at Their Fingertips: Phone Monitoring Program Reduces Suffering of Chemotherapy Patients

Patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience difficult but treatable symptoms – including fatigue, pain, and nausea - in between healthcare appointments. But because providers are often not aware of them, some patients undergo unnecessary suffering. A new study by investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the College of Nursing at the University of Utah shows that relief could be just a phone call away.

When it Comes to Preventing Clots, Deviating from Recommended Dosing Could Come with a Cost

For patients affected by atrial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat, increased risk for blood clots and stroke is a serious concern. Medicines used to thin the blood offer a relatively simple treatment that can significantly reduce the risk of clots and strokes. Steinberg and colleagues found that 13 percent of patients did not receive proper dosing of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), a specific kind of blood thinner, doubling risk for death in over dosed patients. Compared to patients receiving the appropriate dosage, the risk of death was nearly doubled in over-dosed patients, and under-dosed patients experienced increased rates of hospitalization due to cardiac events.

Prevention Program Eliminates Bloodstream Infections in Burn Trauma Unit Patients

By implementing a program to prevent bloodstream infections associated with central-line catheters, the University of Utah Health Care Burn Trauma Intensive Care Unit eliminated those hazards entirely, a multidisciplinary committee of the health care system’s nurses and physicians reported in JAMA Surgery. Central-line catheters are inserted into patients’ veins to serve as a main port for delivering medications, antibiotics and other IV fluids, eliminating the need to insert new catheters each time a patient requires fluids or drugs. Such lines, however, can attract germs and lead to bloodstream infections in patients, an especially important issue in burn trauma intensive care units. The prevention program focuses on key elements to prevent central-line infections, such as ensuring that lines are inserted according to federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommendations, using alcohol-impregnated caps and following updated central-line care standards. The physicians and nurses looked at de-identified records of 478 patients who received central lines in University of Utah Hospital’s Burn Trauma Intensive Care Unit (BTICU) between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2015. Study patients were divided into two groups: those who received burn care before Oct. 1, 2013, when the prevention program was started, and those who received burn care after that date. In the 30 months before the program started, 11 patients got central-line infections in the BTICU. But in the 18 months following the program’s inception until the end of the review period, the patient records showed no such infections, the researchers reported.