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Pilot Studies

Pilot Study 1

“Probiotic Supplementation in Obese Pregnant Women – A Feasibility Study”

Project Leader:      

Eva Diaz, MD
Instructor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Mentor(s):                 

Aline Andres, PhD
Associate Director for Clinical Research
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
 

Kartik Shankar, PhD, DABT
Associate Director for Basic Research, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Diaz will determine the acceptance and compliance associated with a long-term probiotic supplementation in obese pregnant women. The project focuses on the critical period of pregnancy as the first opportunity to intervene to prevent childhood obesity. It has been demonstrated that probiotic intervention during pregnancy can improve maternal metabolism, thereby reducing offspring risk for obesity.  

Pilot Study 2

“FGF-21: An Adjunct Biomarker for Early Detection of NAFLD in Children”

Project Leader:      

Emir Tas, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Mentor(s):                

Radhika Muzumdar, MD
Chief, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Cell Biology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Miriam Vos, MD MSPH
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Director, Mason Transplant and Wellness
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Dr. Tas will assess the utility of a single blood test to identify pubertal children at risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fatty liver disease occurs when there is too much fat accumulation in the liver. In the beginning, the disease is reversible, but ultimately can lead to permanent and irreversible liver damage if it is not recognized and treated early. Obesity is the leading cause of NAFLD, and the elucidation of an early biomarker (blood test) could help identify children who need to be treated more aggressively earlier to avoid development of the disease.

Pilot Study 3

“Determining the Effect of Maternal Obesity on Offspring Cardiovascular Health”

Project Leader:      

Keshari Thakali, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Section of developmental Nutrition
College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Mentor(s):                

Aline Andres, PhD
Associate Director for Clinical Research
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Kartik Shankar, PhD, DABT
Associate Director for Basic Research, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Thakali will study how maternal obesity affects the cardiovascular function of children. Maternal obesity increases offspring risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The project will look at blood vessel function in 5 year old boys and girls from mothers who were either lean or obese before and during pregnancy using ultrasound technology. The long-term goal is to determine if there are any maternal interventions during pregnancy that can offset the negative effects of maternal obesity of offspring cardiovascular health.

Pilot Study 4

“Supporting Implementation of Obesity Prevention Practices in Childcare”

Project Leader:      

Taren Swindle, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Swindle will study the comparative effect of two implementation approaches for an obesity prevention intervention in childcare. One approach will be consistent with the standard in the field, a day of training for educators and monthly reminder newsletter. An enhanced implementation approach will include stakeholder-selected strategies to support implementation throughout the school year. This pilot project, building on funded K01DK110141, will support analytic enhancements for soliciting stakeholder input and expand the trial to include all classrooms at the partner agency.

 

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The Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM109096. The content of this website and research reported in publications resulting from work performed under this Award are solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.