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MCG student receives national medical honor society research fellowship
Date:7/18/2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. A student at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University is among 47 recipients of the 2012 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship from the national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha.

The $5,000 award is enabling Puja Chebrolu to spend her summer pouring over a huge federal database in an effort to help predict kidney dialysis patients' risk of bacteremia, a potentially lethal infection. It's also helping her better prepare for her likely future in public health.

While looking for ways to optimize her summer, Chebrolu learned of Dr. N. Stanley Nahman's desire to mine the U.S. Renal Data System's extensive data set of about 600,000 patients with more than 13 million hospitalizations to find what puts dialysis patients at risk for bacteremia. Chebrolu figured it was a good way to marry her interest in data and infectious diseases.

Years before, Nahman, an MCG nephrologist, had looked at a much smaller sample of 100 patients and found that hemodialysis patients with bacteremia most often also were infected with the blood-borne infection, hepatitis C. Nearly 25 percent of the patients in the U.S. Renal Data System have bacteremia, which tends to result from infection by multiple organisms normally found on skin. Inside the body, they can cause flu-like symptoms or worse. Intensive-care patients are another easy target for bacteremia, Nahman noted.

Conceding that even with excellent preventive measures, needles likely are a common cause of bacteremia in dialysis patients, Nahman and Chebrolu along with MCG Epidemiologist Dr. Kristina Kintziger want to objectively assess risks.

"When you start sticking needs into people you may introduce bacteria," Nahman said. "There is no question that the risk of blood-borne infection is higher in patients on hemodialysis," he said since, barring a kidney transplant, these patients spend the rest of their lives having blood re
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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