INDIANAPOLIS A $4.15 million, four-year National Institutes of Health grant will enable researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine to conduct the first health study of teenage boys using cellular telephones.
The researchers, led by Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., M.S., professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, will use text messaging to follow 72 males, ages 14-17 years, for three years. The adolescent males will be provided with cell phones and unlimited, free text messaging as long as they remain enrolled in the study.
A requirement of the study is that the teens answer a series of questions daily to enable the researchers to track and evaluate the behavior of the teens. Regular urine tests will be used to identify changes in microorganisms in the male genital tract.
"This is a fresh approach to behavioral studies our research group has used for a dozen years involving written daily diary entries used to track the behavior of adolescents," said Dr. Fortenberry. "That NIH-funded research has provided insights into young people's health risk and health protective behaviors."
The objective of the study is to identify and characterize changes in the microorganisms in the urethra of the adolescent male. The urethra connects the male bladder to the outside of the body. Participants will submit urine samples to be analyzed. The answers from the daily questions transmitted by their cell phone will be coordinated with the urine tests to determine how behavior influences changes in the microorganisms of the urethra.
In the past, physicians thought that the male urethra normally didn't have any microorganisms. It now is known this isn't true, but little else in known, said Dr. Fortenberry.
Researchers will look at the microorganisms to understand what organisms or communities of organisms are normally present and how they change naturally as young men get older and through the course
|Contact: Mary L. Hardin|