Navigation Links
Wayne State University researcher seeks to understand link between obesity, flu severity

DETROIT The recent H1N1 flu pandemic was found to be particularly dangerous to obese people, and a Wayne State University researcher is looking for clues as to why.

Emily Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has begun interviewing people hospitalized with influenza to study how weight impacts their illness, response to treatment, and recovery.

"The H1N1 was an unusual flu in that it affected middle-aged adults at higher rates than normal," Martin said. "Among that group, people with really high weight were more likely to die or have severe outcomes if they got the flu."

Obesity accounted for five of the six deaths from influenza at Detroit Medical Center (DMC) facilities in the 2010-11 season.

Martin's project, "Influenza and Obesity: A Prospective Study of Patient Outcomes and Antiviral Resistance," is supported by a one-year, $10,000 grant from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. She plans to meet with 120 DMC patients 18 years of age and older at all weights who have suffered flu symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization.

The study will monitor progression of their illness, especially pulmonary manifestations, which can land patients on ventilators or in intensive care.

Researchers will take nasal samples to determine specific characteristics of the virus and how it evolves in subjects' bodies over the first three days in the hospital. Among the characteristics to be examined is the virus's resistance to oseltamivir, a drug more commonly known as Tamiflu, which is used to treat the flu.

Martin's team will check the RNA sequence of the flu virus, as well as genetic components of an array other undiagnosed respiratory viruses patients may have.

"Depending on the population being examined, about one-third of the time other viruses are lurking in the background in these patients," she said. "We still don't know what kind of impact that has, and we will be looking for correlations among virus types."

Researchers also will follow up with patients about 30 days after their hospital discharges to assess the number of readmissions or additional medical care visits, duration of symptoms and changes in lifestyle factors.

"We're trying to see what specifically it is about people with high weight who get the flu that might be leading them to a really bad outcome from the disease," Martin said. "We're also surveying patients to see if there are lifestyle factors that might be influencing this."

Because hers is a pilot study, Martin doesn't expect definitive answers.

"It should give us some inklings of where the right path is," she said. "Ideally, if we get a really good clinical picture of why weight increases the number of more drastic outcomes from the flu, then we can start to build treatment pathways especially for this group of patients to counteract that."

Researchers then can determine whether types of flu treatment drugs or kinds of supportive care need to be modified. On the flip side, Martin said, health care providers can identify if patients with high body mass indexes should be given vaccination priority or can make lifestyle modifications that directly impact their health if infected with the flu.

"The more we understand the virus and the clinical course of people who are severely ill, the more effectively we can guide them when they show up at the hospital," she said.


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

Related medicine news :

1. Wayne State University researcher examines proteins role in diabetic retinopathy
2. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
3. New drug prevents spread of human prostate cancer cells
4. 2 genetic deletions in human genome linked to the development of aggressive prostate cancer
5. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy optimal for localized prostate cancer
6. Study examines adverse effects among different radiation therapies for prostate cancer
7. Study Casts Doubt on Value of Pricey Prostate Cancer Therapy
8. Warren Buffett Has Early Stage Prostate Cancer
9. Majority of states fail to address youth exposure to alcohol marketing
10. Genetic abnormalities in benign or malignant tissues predict relapse of prostate cancer
11. PSA screening to detect prostate cancer can be beneficial to younger and at-risk men
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... and SACC-USA through membership and leadership since 2008. Gary Bruce, President of PartnerTech ... . Gary has spent a significant amount of time in Sweden since joining ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... Center Enterprise Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) status from Cisco. This designation recognizes Tympani ... support Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions targeted to the high-end enterprise contact center ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The National ... 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized ... networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting 850,000 members and over 200 operating ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... extremely stressful. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, the Caregiver Support ... patients. “Caregivers have a difficult job. Seventy-four percent report that their role ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Thermi™, a world leader in thermistor-regulated ... ThermiRFR temperature controlled radiofrequency platform has received CE marking and may now be ... temperature as a clinical endpoint. The technology has been available in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... DUBLIN , Dec. 1, 2015 Research ... of the "Global Mouth Ulcer Treatment Market 2015-2019" ... --> --> According to the report, ... of the global population now affected by them. The ... hormonal imbalances, and tobacco smoking. Mouth disorders are also ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , 1 décembre 2015 ... exposition et conférence d,Asie portant sur ... sur l,industrie manufacturière, se tiendra à ... 20 au 22 avril 2016. ... Photo - ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  QT Vascular Ltd., together ... together with its subsidiaries, TriReme Medical LLC and Quattro ... engaged in the design, assembly and distribution of advanced ... disease, is pleased to announce that a three-judge panel ... of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Federal Circuit") has ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: