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Georgia Prevention Institute Bulletin

A Valentine Just For You

Click on the card above to see a special message from our heart to yours. 

American Heart Association

It's that time again! A great way to celebrate Valentine's day! How many lives will you help save this month? Donate or join the GPI team today! 

GPI Facebook

Help us share all the exciting things you do! Were you featured in the bulletin this month? Tag us and share your success. Find link at bottom of page.

Did Somebody Say Snacks?!

Snack Shack is back! All products are $1.50. Every dime of revenue goes directly to the American Heart Association. Come support this great charity while enjoying your favorite afternoon snack. Snack Shack is located at the GPI front desk.   

Grants Received

Martha Tingen, PhD, RN, is awarded a 1.35M dollar competitive state grant from the Dept. of Behavioral Health, State of Georgia for research on working with children and families in preventing alcohol and e-cigarette use. This is a five-year grant! 

Published Manuscripts

Is the association between exhaled nitric oxide and asthma symptoms altered by body weight in rural adolescents?
Dinetz SF, Waller JL, Tingen MS

Objective: Some studies have found that increased levels of exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) correspond to more frequent asthma symptoms.However, recent studies in adult and adolescent patients have suggested that obese or overweight individuals with asthma have decreased eNO levels compared with their normal weight counterparts. If this decreased eNO hypothesis in obesity is correct, then the association between eNO and asthma symptoms is likely to vary by body mass index (BMI; calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by square of height in meters). The purpose of this study was to determine whether the association between eNO and asthma symptoms varied by BMI in a population of teenage high school students in rural Georgia. Conclusion: This is the first study, to our knowledge, to examine the association of eNO to asthma symptoms by BMI category in a southern, rural, largely black, adolescent population. Although these results did not find a direct effect of BMI on eNO, our results suggest that when clinicians use eNO for assessing asthma in patients, consideration of BMI may not be required.
See Full Manuscript
Blood pressure trajectories from childhood to young adulthood associated with cardiovascular risk: Results from the 23-year longitudinal Georgia Stress and Heart study

We presented this abstract in the December bulletin, here is the full manuscript.

Guang Hao, MD, PhD, Xiaoling Wang, MD, PhD, Frank A. Treiber, PhD, Gregory Harshfield, PhD, Gaston Kapuku, MD, PhD, Shaoyong Su, PhD 

Objective: To identify subgroups of individuals with similar trajectories in blood pressure (BP) from childhood to young adulthood, and to determine the relationship of BP trajectories with carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and left ventricular mass index (LVMI). Conclusion: We for the first time reported the association between SBP trajectories derived from childhood with subclinical cardiovascular risk in young adulthood, indicating that monitoring trajectories of BP from childhood may help identify a high cardiovascular risk population in early life.
See Full Manuscript
The Dynamic Role of Breathing and Cellular Membrane Potentials in the Experience of Consciousness

Ravinder Jerath, Shannon M. Cearley Vernon A. Barnes, & Santiago Junca,

Understanding the mechanics of consciousness remains one of the most important challenges in modern cognitive science. One key step toward understanding consciousness is to associate unconscious physiological processes with subjective experiences of sensory, motor, and emotional contents. This article explores the role of various cellular membrane potential differences and how they give rise to the dynamic infrastructure of conscious experience. This article also explains that consciousness is a body-wide, biological process not limited to individual organs because the mind and body are unified as one entity; therefore, no single location of consciousness can be pinpointed.
See Full Manuscript
Fitness, sleep-disordered breathing, depression symptoms and cognition in overweight inactive children: Mediation models.

Monika M.K. Stojek, Ph.D., Amanda K. Montoya, Christopher F. Drescher, Andrew Newberry, M.S., Zain Sultan, B.S.,Celestine F. Williams, M.S., Norman K. Pollock, Ph.D., & Catherine L. Davis, Ph.D.

Objectives: Childhood obesity and inactivity adversely affect sleep, mood, and cognition. Poor physical fitness is linked with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), and SDB with depression symptoms, but these relationships are understudied. This study tested a mediation model of the association between fitness and depression via SDB, and evaluated further links with cognition. Conclusions: These results are consistent with the conclusion that childhood fitness is associated with sleep, mood, and cognition. This study suggests that inactive children’s sleep difficulties affect mood.
Further, this study suggests that poor sleep and lower mood may in turn contribute to poorer cognition among children with low fitness levels. This study furthers the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the relationships among sleep disturbance, mood, and cognitive outcomes, with a broader goal of improving youth’s well-being. Experimental and longitudinal studies are needed to develop practical population-wide interventions to optimize child health and functioning. 

Paper still in the publication process, look for the full article in a future issue. This will be a Public Health Reports publication which, is published by the CDC
Whole-body vibration mimics the metabolic effects of exercise in male leptin receptor deficient mice.

Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence, Karl H. Wenger, Sudipta Misra, Catherine L. Davis, Norman K. Pollock, Mohammed Elsalanty, Kehong Ding, Carlos M. Isales, Mark W. Hamrick, Joanna R. Erion, Marlena Wosiski-Kuhn, Phonepasong Arounlet, Mark P. Mattson, Roy G. Cutler,8 Jack C. Yu, & Alexis M. Stranahan

Objective: Whole-body vibration has gained attention as a potential exercise mimetic, but direct comparisons with the metabolic effects of exercise are scarce. To determine whether whole-body vibration recapitulates the metabolic and osteogenic effects of physical activity, we exposed male wildtype (Wt) and leptin receptor deficient (db/db) mice to daily treadmill exercise or 6 whole-body vibration for three months. Conclusion: Both interventions reduced body weight in db/db mice and normalized muscle fiber diameter. Treadmill exercise and whole-body vibration also attenuated adipocyte hypertrophy in visceral adipose tissue and reduced hepatic lipid content in db/db mice. Although the effects of leptin receptor deficiency on cortical bone structure were not eliminated by either intervention, exercise and whole-body vibration increased circulating levels of osteocalcin in db/db mice. In the context of increased serum osteocalcin, the modest effects of TE and WBV on bone geometry, mineralization, and biomechanics may reflect subtle increases in osteoblast activity in multiple areas of the skeleton. Taken together, these observations indicate that whole body vibration recapitulates the effects of exercise on metabolism in type 2 diabetes.

Paper still in the publication process, look for the full article in a future issue. This will be a Endocrinology publication. 

Book Chapters Published

Stress and Salt Sensitivity in Childhood Hypertension.

Coral Hanevold, MD & Gregory A. Harshfield, Ph.D.

Abstract: The pressure response to sodium is heterogeneous among individuals with normal blood pressure and in hypertensives.  Nevertheless, sodium restriction is typically recommended for everyone with hypertension.  As reviewed here, categorization of an individual as salt sensitive has important prognostic and therapeutic implications.  Determination of salt sensitivity is typically accomplished by assessment of the pressure response to administration of an oral or intravenous sodium load.  We discuss an alternative way to administer a sodium load through stress exposure.  Animal and human studies have demonstrated significant sodium retention during and after stress which in effect generates positive sodium balance and thus delivers a sodium load.  Individuals demonstrating this response develop a volume-dependent elevation of the blood pressure.  Similar to findings in salt-sensitive populations, target organ changes have also been associated with impaired sodium handling during stress.  This pattern of sodium retention in response to stress has been improved or reversed after treatment with antihypertensive medications that block the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.  The variability of the pressure response to dietary sodium intake and to stress should be considered in our strategies to prevent and control hypertension.  

Publication not yet ready. This will be a book chapter in Pediatric Hypertension.

Published Abstracts


Relaxing Music Stabilizes Hemodynamics and Elicits Oxytocin Secretion in Prehypertension.
James Halbert, Debra VanTuyll, Carl Purdy, Ayman Al-Hendy, Michael Diamond, Julian Thayer, & Gaston Kapuku

Will be Presented in a March 
Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, March 15-18, 2017 in Sevilla, Spain.  
Objective: Prehypertension increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Relaxing music may lower blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), and therefore, decrease the risk of CVD. We also examined whether music promotes secretion of oxytocin, which regulates social behavior. Conclusion: Listening to relaxing music stabilizes hemodynamics irrelevant of tuning systems. A trend toward oxytocin increase was shown, suggesting that music has a greater social effect than quietly resting.
See Full Abstract

GPI Faculty in Action

Catherine L. Davis, Ph.D, has made an impressive mark in childhood obesity and diabetes prevention. In the past, she was invited to present her work at Governor Deal's childhood obesity initiative called Georgia SHAPE. Georgia SHAPE is the Governor’s statewide, multi-agency and multi-dimensional initiative that brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic and business communities to address childhood (0-18) obesity in Georgia. Dr. Davis's research has inspired SHAPE representatives by showing if kids exercise vigorously for 20 min (like in her PLAY study) their fitness and diabetes risk will improve, and that this takes 30 min in free-living activity. The SHAPE program is sponsored by Coke to train elementary schools how to incorporate 30 min of physical activity per day, outside of PE.    
See Dr. Davis in action. Click on picture to see Video

GPI Seeks to Improve Translational Research

Shaoyong Su, PhD, presents a new proposal for a pediatric strategically focused center grant on the impact of childhood blood pressure on middle-age brain health. Both Dr. Su and Catherine Davis, PhD, shared valuable input in the first MCG's SOCRATES meeting, which is a forum of discussions seeking new ways to strengthen translational research. 

This information was presented in the Deans Diary. 

Saying Goodbye

Sharika Leverett's last day at GPI was January 27th. She has accepted another position across campus. We wish you the best Sharika, many thanks for all your contributions to cardiovascular research. 

Call for Abstracts

American Physiological SocietyExperimental Biology. Transforming the future through Science. Meeting take place in Chicago on April 22-26th.  Late-Breaking Abstract Submission Deadline:Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 11:59 PM PST.

Submit Abstract here

Events in February  

American Heart Association Drive - All Month 
National Wear Red Day - 3rd
GPI Valentine Exchange - 14th
Anas Raed's Farewell Party - 27th

12-Sheree Cartee
James Halbert, MS
 Deborah Stewart, BS
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