Health and Wellness

Recorded five-minute presentations for the Undergraduate Scholarly Showcase in Category B: Health and Wellness, Projects B-01 through B-17.

B-01: Cognitive and Molecular Consequences of Prenatal Opioid Exposure and Early Life Stress

Tess Guzman, Neuroscience - Neuropsychology Concentration
Project Advisor: Dr. Brittany Smith
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Children exposed prenatally to opioids have an increased risk for behavioral problems and executive function deficits. Additionally, children with prenatal opioid exposure (POE) are more likely to be raised in an unstable, stressful environment. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala (AMG) regulate executive function and social behavior and are sensitive to opioids prenatally. Opioids can bind to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) to activate microglia, which may be developmentally important for synaptic pruning. Furthermore, early life stress seems to increase susceptibility to these behavioral deficits. To better understand how the AMG and PFC are affected by POE and early life stress we tested the effects of POE on social behavior in male and female mouse offspring, along with microglial outcomes. Dams were either given morphine sweetened by saccharin (MO) or just saccharin (SCH) in drinking water from 10 days prior to conception to postnatal day 21. A subset of morphine dams had limited bedding from postnatal day 2 to day 9 to stimulate an early stress environment (MOLB). After running pups through three behavioral assays, we found that POE alone increased exploratory and social behavior in males, however, this behavior decreased when combined with early life stress in males. Immunohistochemistry revealed differences in microglial and phagocytic protein activation in male and female PFC and AMG across groups. Overall, this builds upon our understanding of how microglia activity in the AMG and PFC may be associated with behavioral outcomes in POE.

B-02: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Associated Evidence-Based Interventions: A Review of the Literature

Mary Clare Finnegan, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anjanette Wells
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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a disorder that research is proving to be more common than the amount it is being diagnosed. This is especially true for young children with the disorder. Despite the disorder being very common, there are very few interventions that have been used to treat fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Early intervention is an evidence-based practice that is becoming more commonly provided due to research supporting its efficacy. Early intervention is a treatment method that research supports being an effective method for children with this fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Early intervention is a healthcare intervention that has not been researched thoroughly for all of its potential. There is also a disparity in research for doctors to confidently diagnose young children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. This study analyzes the current literature that covers evidence-based intervention methods that would be most effective when treating this disorder for young children. This study also surveyed social workers with different levels of education and experience to answer relevant questions regarding early intervention being used as an intervention method for this disorder.  The findings of this study indicate that early intervention would be effective for children with this disorder based on the symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The findings of this literature review also state that this disorder is rarely diagnosed during childhood, that in order for early intervention to be used as treatment for this disorder specifically, more research would need to be done for doctors to diagnose their

B-03: Parent Confidence Ratings Surrounding Multidisciplinary Feeding Team Therapy

Lindsey Goldsberry, Speech Language Hearing Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Claire Miller
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The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of multidisciplinary feeding team therapy by comparing parent confidence ratings pre and post treatment. The goal of this study was to better understand both parent confidence and mealtime stress levels before and after Multidisciplinary Feeding Team (MDFT) therapy.  Parents were given a verbal survey asking 2 questions related to confidence in managing feeding behaviors and levels of mealtime stress, using a rating scale of 1-10.  A rating of one indicated low confidence and/or high levels of mealtime stress. A rating of ten indicated high confidence and/or low levels of mealtime stress.  A retrospective review of 14 MDFT patients was completed.  Patients aged 2 to 9 years with primary underlying diagnoses that included feeding difficulties, feeding disorders, dysphagia, congenital and genetic diseases, gastroesophageal reflux disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, constipation, oral aversion, limited food acceptance, and neurological disorders were present.  This small sample of data was analyzed, and new data continues to be collected to broaden the sample size and strengthen the results of the data.

B-04: The Challenges of Diagnosing People With ADHD

Melanie Bernstein, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Gary Dick
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Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, more widely known as ADHD, is an extremely prevalent disorder among children and adults. ADHD has a wide range of symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of many other mental health disorders. This overlap leads to many cases of incorrect diagnoses, whether it being over diagnosing people with ADHD or under diagnosing people with ADHD, in the belief that the presenting symptoms are that of a different disorder than what they truly are. It is imperative that limitations in research surrounding the diagnosis process are acknowledged and minimized. Research from several sources has been gathered to highlight the issues surrounding the diagnosis process when dealing with symptoms which are indicators of several different disorders. The study found that it is extremely common for people to have both ADHD and at least one other, mainly due to the overlap that ADHD has with so many disorders. This leads to excessive diagnoses and often patients receiving inapt treatment due to inaccurate diagnoses. The findings indicate that improvements need to be in order for the diagnoses processes when dealing with mental health disorders that have overlapping symptoms, especially ADHD.

B-05: Do Caregiving Style and Adverse Childhood Experiences Play a Role in Disordered Eating Among College Students?

Abigail McCarthy, Psychology
Project Advisor: Dr. Cathy Odar Stough
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College students are vulnerable to developing disordered eating behaviors (DEBs), or maladaptive eating patterns and attitudes that occur to lose or control weight (Meyer & Stanick, 2018), given the stress of this transitional period and increases in autonomy (Shelton & Valkyrie, 2010). While prior research has established caregiving style and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as risk factors for DEBs in other populations, little is known regarding the role of these risk factors in development of DEBs among college students outside of the context of diagnosed eating disorders. The present study seeks to investigate whether ACEs or caregiving styles (e.g., controlling style, autonomy promoting) are related to DEBs in a college population. We hypothesized that ACEs would be positively related to DEBs. We also hypothesized that controlling caregiving styles would be positively related to DEBs, and that autonomy promotive caregiving styles would be negatively related to DEBs. Procedures: Undergraduates enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a Midwest public university, who were between the ages of 18-25 years, and who were not currently pregnant were eligible to participate. Participants were administered the following self-report measures as part of a one-time online survey in REDCap to gain course credit via Sona Systems: demographics questionnaire, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEs; Felitti, et al., 1998), the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire 6.0 (EDE-Q; Fairburn, et al., 2008) and the Perceived Parental Autonomy Support Scale (Mageau et al., 2015). Spearman correlations were computed to examine study hypotheses because study variables were not normally distributed.

B-06: The Tells of the Undiagnosed: Evaluating the Criteria for Diagnosis and Treatment in the ADHD Community

Ashya Tucker, Neuropsychology
Project Advisor: Dr. Annette Stowasser
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant impairments in attention and cognitive control. With a global prevalence between 4% to 7%, it is estimated between 15% to 65% of those diagnosed with ADHD in childhood continue to meet those criteria in adulthood. The relatively high prevalence has led to research into developing treatments to effectively meet the clinical needs of patients. Diagnosis and treatment has been complicated by the number of comorbid psychiatric conditions including anxiety and mood disorders and substance abuse disorders, that present characteristics similar to ADHD. This study will reflect on research into the neurobiological causes of ADHD, evaluate diagnosis criteria, psychiatric comorbidities, and treatments associated with the condition, and assess common attempts of self medication that arise in those untreated.

B-07: Barriers to HIV Care: Comparing Responses Between Men and Women Following an HIV Diagnosis

Emily Southworth, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Gary Dick
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Being diagnosed with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) goes far deeper than the initial diagnosis and can greatly affect every facet of someone's life if not addressed properly. Due to external factors, there's a significant difference in the response to an HIV diagnosis between men and women. A patient's willingness to be linked to care can be the result of gender expectations, internalized shame, or the lack of healthcare connections. This research study looks further into HIV positive men and women's overall response to their diagnosis and use the results to better understand the gender gap in HIV care.

B-08: Substance Use and Demographic Characteristics Among Individuals Diagnosed With HIV: A Descriptive Study

Dedra Brock, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anjanette Wells
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was first discovered in the U.S. in 1981 and was referred to as the "gay man's pneumonia." Today, there is still much stigma surrounding HIV and how it is contracted. At the University of Cincinnati's Medical Center (UCMC), heterosexual individuals made up the majority of HIV diagnoses in Early Intervention Program (EIP). HIV is transmitted via sharing needles when using intravenous substance, bodily fluids such as unprotected sex, or even from mother to baby through pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Additionally, substances can lead to individuals having unprotected sex, which can increase a person's risk of contracting HIV. In order to combat the stigma surrounding how one contracts HIV, or the stereotypical profile of who contracts it, it is imperative to see who is diagnosed more often. For instance, low-income people living with HIV (PLWH) are more likely to experience barriers in maintaining their HIV care management and decreasing the odds of persistent Anti-retroviral therapy (ART). The aim of this study is to compare rates of HIV diagnoses by year and substance use characteristics in 109 patients in UCMC's ED, with special consideration to racial and gender demographics, and linkage rates to HIV care. These comparisons were obtained via secondary data and the average age at diagnosis was 35 years old, with the majority of diagnoses being males and African Americans. These findings were congruent with Ohio statistics, having 80% of 973 diagnoses being males.

B-09: Literature and Market Research of Ingredients in Personal Care Products

Dana  Khoury , Chemistry
Project Advisor: Dr. KP Ananth
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Awarded Excellence in Research Communication

Personal care products are used to perform many daily hygiene tasks. Because of this demand, the personal care industry is incredibly large, offering a multitude of products available, all with different formulas. Recently, there has been a shift to formulate products without particular chemicals (i.e. sulfates, parabens, silicones, etc), with many marketing claims to support that they are ideal for the consumer. In this study, the goal is to find an understanding of the gap between what is found in literature about these popular claims in cosmetic products, versus the consumer understanding of these ingredients, to see if there is a sound foundation between the science and consumption base, as well as hopes of finding if there is misinformation in the market. This will be achieved through literature research, along with market research consisting of a survey to identify what consumers prefer to buy, moreover why they prefer to buy those products with the selected ingredients omitted or added.

B-10: Impacts on Therapeutic Relationships With the Use of Telehealth: Provider's Perspective

Paige Kitelinger, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anjanette Wells
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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way people interact and connect with their healthcare providers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not much interaction via telehealth in therapy due to many factors. Therapist often pick up on body language cues and observations throughout sessions to help with the therapeutic relationship and the client's progress in therapy.  This study examines the effects of telehealth on the therapeutic relationship from a providers perspective, including limitations and advantages of online care.

B-11: Understanding the 'Who' Behind Our 'Why': A Characterization of the Patient Experience at a Cincinnati Student-Run Free Clinic

Samir Siddiqui, Medical Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Joseph Kiesler
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The UC SRFC was established in partnership with a local ministry in Cincinnati called the Healing Center. Initial data collected in the first six months after opening suggested patients most often accessed the SRFC for respiratory, cardiac, or musculoskeletal concerns. However, substantial data on the demographics of the patient population and patient perspective was lacking. It is important to quantify who is utilizing the clinic and understand their experience to tailor our volunteer program and offerings to patients.     Patients presenting to our clinic for either an acute care visit or a health screening were given pre- and post-visit paper questionnaires-offered in English and Spanish-on the day they were seen. Questionnaire data was entered into REDCap by SRFC leaders. The pre-visit questionnaires focused on quantitative population metrics including demographic information and post-visit questionnaires contained quantitative evaluation on satisfaction and options to share comments on the patients' experience and suggestions for improvement. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analyzed for emerging themes.     Data collection remains underway, with a goal of surveying 30 patients. Preliminary results include, 35% of patients seeking care preferentially speak Spanish language and 60% of patients who access the UC SRFC leave with at least one referral.     The main outcomes assessed include access to other healthcare options, transportation to and from the clinic, satisfaction with experience, understanding of patient educational topics discussed, and suggestions for future improvement. This study was approved by University of Cincinnati IRB and deemed non-human subjects.

B-12: Monitoring Chronic Cough in Patients at Night: A Pilot Study on Smartphone App Usability

Paige Dixon, Speech Language Hearing Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Victoria McKenna
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Chronic cough, defined as daily cough that last longer than 8 weeks, is a common clinical problem that affects approximately 5% of individuals in the United States. However, there are few objective measurements to assess the frequency and severity of the cough or to help track treatment progress. The long-term goal of our work is to develop a phone app that will monitor a person's cough at home. The present research study aims to (1) Gather audio data to assist in future acoustic cough detection algorithm development and (2) Assess the participants perceptions of using an app at home. Thus far, 3 subjects (Mean age = 64 years, 1 male, 2 female) have enrolled in a 3-day long monitoring study in which they record their sleep at night and noted cough events. Participants slept an average of 6.06 hours, reported 0-3 cough events per night and a score of 12.04 on the Leicester Cough Questionnaire, indicating a negative impact of cough on daily life. Our preliminary results showed high comfort and usability ratings, with a Likert ratings of 4.93/5 and 5/5, respectively. The participants were asked about using a monitoring app during the day and a lower Likert average of 3/5 was observed, due to concerns about privacy. Apps on a smartphone device are a feasible way for patients to provide quantifiable data on their chronic cough while asleep but more information is needed on how to protect privacy when using apps during the day.

B-13: Utilizing Statistical Analysis to Improve Weaning Strategies For Chronically Ventilated Pediatric Patients

Daniel Hinrichsen, Biomedical Engineering
Project Advisor: Dr. Lara Kanbar
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Awarded Excellence in Research Communication

Many studies have been conducted on mechanically ventilated patients; fewer studies have been conducted regarding patients undergoing long-term mechanical ventilation (>14 days); even fewer studies have been conducted regarding pediatric patients undergoing this treatment, and almost no studies within this population have provided clear and quantitative approaches to weaning these patients from the ventilator. These chronically ventilated (148-2211 days) pediatric patients do not have a nationwide standard for their weaning strategies, potentially limiting the effectiveness of their treatment.      Utilizing data of ventilator parameters collected over the full course of 78 Cincinnati Children's patients' ventilation terms, we analyzed the distribution and correlation between specific ventilator parameters and the resulting length of ventilation. Based upon the distribution of ventilation duration, two populations were identified as either taking more or less than 1500 days to wean. These populations were used to identify which ventilator parameters were associated with a difference in ventilation duration. Statistical analyses including the Wilcoxon Rank Sum test will be performed. From this analysis, quantitative indicators of mechanical ventilation duration and weaning readiness will be identified. These indicators may be able to impact or inform a physician's decisions during weaning, based upon a quantitative and standardized metric.

B-14: Alzheimer's Effects on Primary Caregivers

Kendyl Edwards, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Gary Dick
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Awarded Excellence in Research Communication

This qualitative research study examined caregiver stress of those caring for an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. "The effects of being a family caregiver, though sometimes positive, are generally negative, with high rates of burden" (Brodaty & Donkin, 2009, p. 217). The purpose of this study was to determine the negative stressors, and discover ways to alleviate those along with rates of burden. It is hypothesized that when the cognitive decline becomes more severe, so does the level of stress. The implications of practice are to use the findings from this study and apply them to social work practice.

B-15: Caring For Dementia Patients: Symptoms That Cause Stress and Burnout for Health Care Professionals

Madison Lindeman, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anjanette Well
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Individuals with moderate and late stage dementia in acute care settings present with a range of challenging behavioral and psychological symptoms that lead to job stress and burnout in healthcare professionals. This research study is designed to evaluate which specific dementia symptoms healthcare professionals at Clermont Mercy Hospital report cause the highest level of job stress and burnout. Survey participants include medical doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nutritions and psychologists. The research methodology includes administration of a structured electronic survey that was distributed to healthcare professionals in the behavioral health institute at Clermont Mercy Hospital. Aggregate data with regard to participant demographics including age range, gender, occupational title and length of experience working with dementia patients along with survey data ranking dementia symptoms highest to lowest for causing job stress and burnout will be overviewed. The research study will provide recommendations for future research to develop strategies and interventions to reduce job stress and burnout for healthcare professionals.

B-16: Gender Differences in the Autism Diagnosis: A Qualitative Study: A Comparison of Male and Female Autistic Symptoms

Gabriel Atkins, Social Work and Psychology
Project Advisor: Dr. Gary Dick
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Many people are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) each year, and the prevalence for autism has increased each year in the United States. Moreover, the ASD diagnosis has continued to be redefined over time as scientists and clinicians gain insight.  An ASD diagnosis can be a useful tool to help individuals understand the way they function differently than neurotypical individuals. Individuals and family members may experience expected symptoms but there may be many more unexpected symptoms outside of what is included in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  In addition, individuals may be surprised to discover that symptoms could vary significantly depending on their sex/gender and age. Therefore, we asked: What are the autistic traits and symptoms among boys and girls with autism, and are there distinct differences among genders?  We used a quota sample to compare the symptoms of ASD by sex/gender and age. The researchers reviewed clinical interviews and assessments, individualized treatment plans, and progress notes to identify symptoms that required support from counselors, behavioral mangers, or quality mental health specialists at a behavioral health agency. Observations of these symptoms were analyzed with variable cross-case analysis. The findings show that in both male and female subjects the most frequent symptom is social communication challenges and expressing emotions. Male clients in this study were more likely to exhibit destructive or violent behaviors. More research needs to be done on the effect that sex/gender plays a role in diagnosing individuals with ASD by conducting larger studies.

B-17: Examining drug intervention on stress responses after traumatic brain injury

Rohan Bellary, Medical Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Shelby Hetzer
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No abstract was submitted.