NFL grant funds international research on the role of active rehabilitation strategies in concussion management

For immediate use

 

NFL grant funds international research on the role of active rehabilitation strategies in concussion management

 

Led by scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Medical College of Wisconsin, research will involve international collaborations and diverse participants — high school, college and professional athletes — across a variety of sports.

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Wednesday, June 14, 2017) – The NFL will fund a $2.6 million international study on the role of active rehabilitation strategies in concussion management, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

 

The project was identified as a priority at the NFL’s International Professional Sports Concussion Research Think Tank, where medical representatives of many of the world’s leading sports leagues convened to share best medical practices and protocols and collaborate on ways to advance science through research.

 

The study, one of the first of its kind, will examine the efficacy of two clinically supervised management strategies, including both the international concussion return-to-play protocol and early therapeutic interventions on concussions.

 

Professional athletes from the Canadian Football League and New Zealand Rugby, as well as amateur athletes from American and Canadian colleges and universities and Wisconsin high schools, will be included in the study. The research will cover a variety of sports, including football, rugby, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and ice hockey. The three-year study will enroll more than 200 concussed athletes, both male and female.

 

“Player health and safety is a high priority for the CFL,” said Kevin McDonald, the league’s vice-president, Football Operations and Player Safety. “This research on concussion management is innovative and important, and our participation is consistent with our commitment to advance player health and safety initiatives.”

 

New Zealand Rugby’s Medical Director Ian Murphy is also very supportive of the research.

 

“Concussion is a significant issue in our game, and we believe that through multi-sport collaboration on research projects like this, we can take steps to ensure that our respective games are as safe as possible for all those who play them,” Murphy said.

 

“Currently there’s little information available about the most effective strategies to manage and treat concussion,” said Johna Register-Mihalik, the co-principal investigator at UNC, assistant professor of exercise and sport science in the College of Arts & Sciences and faculty member of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and the Injury Prevention Research Center. “We want to see how early, clinically guided activity could benefit recovery from concussion.”

 

“A major goal of the study is not only to find out what works best in terms of rehabilitative strategies for concussion, but to also determine the real-world application of these approaches and return-to-play strategies,” added Michael McCrea, the co-principal investigator at the Medical College of Wisconsin. McCrea is director of the Brain Injury Research Program and a professor of neurosurgery and neurology.

 

“What help do clinicians need to implement these types of management strategies, and do the athletes find them beneficial? Concussions affect each individual differently,” he said. “Most of all, we want to maximize the translational impact of this study for athletes and clinicians.”

 

United States colleges and universities included in the study are Catawba College, Elon University, Lynchburg College and North Carolina Central University. Canadian universities include the University of Alberta and York University.

 

Other members of the UNC-Chapel Hill investigative team include co-principal investigator Kevin Guskiewicz (dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Gfeller Center), Stephen Marshall (Injury Prevention Research Center and epidemiology), Jason Mihalik (exercise and sport science and Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center), Shabbar Ranapurwala (Injury Prevention Research Center and epidemiology), Karen McCulloch (division of physical therapy) and Paula Gildner (project manager, Injury Prevention Research Center). UNC undergraduate and graduate students are also involved in the research.

 

U.S high schools included in the study are Arrowhead High School, Mukwonago High School, Waukesha South High School, Waukesha West High School, Waukesha North High School and Kettle Moraine High School, all in Wisconsin.

 

In addition to McCrea, members of the MCW investigative team include Jennifer Hill (program manager, Brain Injury Research Program), Lin Nelsen (assistant professor of neurosurgery, Brain Injury Research Program) and Anna Klotz (research assistant, Brain Injury Research Program.)

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

College of Arts & Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962–4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu

Office of University Communications contact: Media Relations, (919) 962–8596, mediarelations@unc.edu

 

 

 

Study finds children with ADHD have questions for their doctor but don’t ask them

For immediate use

 

Study finds children with ADHD have questions for their doctor but don’t ask them

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. — April 18, 2017) — Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder want to ask their physicians about their condition and medications but often don’t, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The study could help doctors and parents leverage this interest to help children better manage their ADHD.

 

“We have found that there has been very little research into how providers, parents and youth communicate about ADHD and ADHD medications,” said Betsy Sleath, the lead author of the study and the George H. Cocolas Distinguished Professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “What we do know is that kids often aren’t part of the conversation when their parents and doctors are talking ADHD. We wanted to know how the kids felt about that.”

 

Sleath’s team recruited 48 boys and 22 girls ranging in age from 7 to 17 years at two private pediatric practices in North Carolina who had been diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medicine, and examined how children with ADHD perceive communication with their pediatric care providers, whether they say they take their ADHD medications correctly and where they prefer to learn about their condition.

 

The children were also asked if they wished their doctor talked to them more about ADHD. They were asked what made it hard to talk to their doctor about ADHD and what would make it easier to talk to their doctor about ADHD.

 

One-third of the children said they wished their physician talked with them more about ADHD during visits. Study participants had at least eight unasked questions on average about ADHD and its treatment. Common questions included will I grow out of ADHD, how will my medicine affect me and what are the side effects of my ADHD medicine?

 

Most of the children said they wanted to learn about ADHD at their provider’s office and wanted their providers to engage them more during visits, the researchers found.

 

“These results highlight the fact that children with ADHD want their physician to focus more on them during doctor visits,” said Sleath, who also chairs the School’s Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. “Health-care providers should take advantage of this interest to engage youth more in discussions regarding ADHD and its treatment.”

 

Sleath suggests that physicians work to make children feel more comfortable talking about their ADHD and should make a special effort to ask the children what questions they have.

 

“By asking children questions and letting them talk more during visits, both the provider and parent might learn more about the youth’s perspective on ADHD and what they would like to learn about their condition.  Improving provider-youth communication about ADHD and ADHD medications could increase medication adherence and improve outcomes. 

 

The study was published in Community Mental Health Journal.

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

Eshelman School of Pharmacy contact: David Etchison, (919) 966-7744, david_etchison@unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill, Russian scientists create biological shield against nerve gas, pesticides

For immediate use

 

UNC-Chapel Hill, Russian scientists create biological shield against nerve gas, pesticides

 

Potential treatment could protect against sarin gas and VX before exposure

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – April 3, 2017) – Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Moscow State University have created a new way to package and deliver a potent enzyme that can reverse — and even prevent — poisoning by pesticides and nerve gas, including sarin, which has been used worldwide as a chemical weapon and estimated to be 26 times more deadly than cyanide, and VX.

 

The team, led by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor, figured out how to wrap the powerful enzyme, called organophosphorus hydrolase, in a tiny nanoparticle, which could be taken before, during or after exposure to organophosphate-based toxins.

 

“It could provide complete protection even if injected many hours before exposure to a lethal dose of toxin,” said Kabanov, who is also director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “The enzyme is so effective that just one molecule of the enzyme can decompose several thousand of molecules of toxin every second, so the nanozyme appears to be effective at much lower doses than other potential treatments.”

 

Currently, animals and humans can be treated only after exposure. If caught early, treatment is very effective at reversing symptoms but the knockdown on some of these toxins is so fast that there is not enough time to respond or the toxin’s effects are not realized until treatment cannot reverse damage. For something like VX or sarin gas, it’s a matter of seconds before victims can no longer treat themselves.

 

Working with mice, Kabanov and his team showed that the nanozymes circulated for at least 17 hours after a single injection, but they believe that time can be extended with more work. One approach would be to make the nano-packaging, which is currently 25 to 100 nanometers in diameter, even smaller. The smaller the packaging, the better it is to hide it from the body’s immune system, which tends to see large molecules like the life-saving enzyme as a foreign invader to be attacked and cleared.

The drug atropine, in combination with pralidoxime, has been the first line of treatment for organophosphate poisoning since World War II. However, atropine and pralidoxime cannot be given in advance to protect against poisoning and introduces a big, sometimes lethal, shock to the body.

 

“Two milligrams of atropine is a typical starting dose to counter organophosphate poisoning and it will make your heart to nearly jump out of your chest,” said Greene Shepherd, a specialist in clinical toxicology and emergency preparedness at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy who was not involved in the research. “A healthy person could probably survive it, but having something that could be administered in advance of exposure would be a very big deal.”

 

The team’s discovery was published in the Journal of Controlled Release.

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

 

 

Media invited to join UNC-Chapel Hill at celebration honoring new School of Dentistry dean on March 30

For immediate use

 

Media invited to join UNC-Chapel Hill at celebration honoring new School of Dentistry dean on

March 30

 

New dean to reveal his vision for the school, emphasizing innovation, accessibility to care and positioning the school as a global leader in dentistry

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – March 28, 2017) —The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate its new dean of the School of Dentistry, Dr. Scott De Rossi, on Thursday, March 30. Chancellor Carol L. Folt, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean Jr. and De Rossi will be addressing Carolina students, faculty, staff and University guests during the event, which will begin promptly at 4:15 p.m. in the West Lobby of Koury Oral Health Sciences Building.

 

De Rossi will share his vision for the dental program, emphasizing the need for expanding translational research and the school’s entrepreneurial capacity, while adapting to shifting demographics of disease and emerging technologies to reduce health disparities across the state, nation and world.

 

Before coming to Carolina, De Rossi held joint faculty appointments at Augusta University as professor oral medicine in the department of diagnostic sciences at the Dental College of Georgia – the state’s only dental school – and professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and dermatology at the Medical College of Georgia. He is an adjunct professor of oral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine.

 

Thursday, March 30

4:15 p.m.

Koury Oral Health Sciences Building, West Lobby

385 S. Columbia Street

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 

Media Check-In: Media must check in no earlier than 3:30 p.m. at the entrance of Koury Oral Health Sciences Building, at the corner of Manning Drive and S. Columbia Street. Joanne Peters (919-962-8431, joanne.peters@unc.edu) and Thania Benios (917-930-5988, thania_benios@unc.edu) will be the on-site contacts.

 

Media Parking: A limited number of spaces will be available in the patient drop-off circle on Manning Drive. Media can also park in the Dogwood Deck, whose approximate GPS address is 318 Mason Farm Road. We will not be able to reserve any parking spaces for the event.

 

— Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

School of Dentistry contact: Tiffany Brannan, (919) 264-6277, tiffany_brannan@unc.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers make discovery that could increase plant yield in wake of looming phosphate shortage

News Release:

 

For immediate use

 

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers make discovery that could increase plant yield in wake of looming phosphate shortage

 

Phosphate is vital for best crop yields, but global supply is limited and could peak in 30 years.

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – March 15, 2017) – Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have pinpointed a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria living on and inside a plant’s roots harvest a vital nutrient with limited global supply. The nutrient, phosphate, makes it to the plant’s roots, helping the plant increase its yield.

 

The work, published in the March 15 issue of Nature, raises the possibility of probiotic, microbe treatments for plants to increase their efficient use of phosphate. The form of phosphate plants can use is in danger of reaching its peak – when supply fails to keep up with demand – in just 30 years, potentially decreasing the rate of crop yield as the world population continues to climb and global warming stresses crop yields, which could have damaging effects on the global food supply.

 

“We show precisely how a key ‘switch protein’,PHR1, controls the response to low levels of phosphate, a big stress for the plant, and also controls the plant immune system,” said Jeff Dangl, John N. Couch Distinguished Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “When the plant is stressed for this important nutrient, it turns down its immune system so it can focus on harvesting phosphate from the soil. Essentially, the plant sets its priorities on the cellular level.”

 

Dangl, who worked with lead authors, postdoctoral researchers Gabriel Castrillo and Paulo José Pereira Lima Teixeira, graduate student Sur Herrera Paredes and research analyst Theresa F. Law, found evidence that soil bacteria can make use of this tradeoff between nutrient-seeking and immune defense, potentially to help establish symbiotic relationships with plants. Bacteria seem to enhance this phosphate stress response, in part simply by competing for phosphate but also by actively ‘telling’ the plant to turn on its phosphate stress response.

 

In recent plant biology studies, there have been hints of a relationship between plant phosphate levels and immune system activity – a relationship that some microbes can manipulate. In the new study, Dangl and colleagues delved more deeply into this relationship, using mutant versions of Arabidopsis thaliana, a weed that has long been the standard “lab rat” of plant biology research.

 

In one experiment, Dangl’s team found that Arabidopsis plants with mutant versions of the PHR1 gene not only had impaired phosphate stress responses, but also developed different communities of microbes in and around their roots when grown in a local native North Carolina soil. This was the case even in an environment of plentiful phosphate – where phosphate competition wouldn’t have been a factor – hinting that something else was happening in the plants to trigger the growth of different microbial communities. The researchers found similar results studying PHL1, a protein closely related to PHR1 with similar but weaker functions.

 

In another experiment, in lab-dish conditions, the researchers colonized roots of sterile-grown normal Arabidopsis plants with a set of 35 bacterial species isolated from roots of plants grown previously in the same native soil. In these re-colonized plants, the phosphate stress response increased when exposed to a low-phosphate condition.

 

Investigating further, the team showed that PHR1 – and probably to a lesser extent PHL1 – not only activates the phosphate stress response but also triggers a pattern of gene expression that reduces immune activity, and thus makes it easier for resident microbes to survive.

 

The findings suggest that soil-dwelling microbes have figured out how to get along with their plant hosts, at least in part by activating PHR1/PHL1 to suppress immune responses to them. Dangl’s team also thinks these microbes may even be necessary for plants to respond normally to low-phosphate conditions. It could be possible, then, to harness this relationship – via probiotic or related crop treatments – to enable plants to make do with less phosphate.

 

“Phosphate is a limited resource and we don’t use it very efficiently,” said Dangl, who is also an adjunct professor of microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine. “As part of fertilizer, phosphate runs off into waterways where it can adversely affect river and marine ecosystems. It would be better if we could use phosphate in a way that’s more efficient.”

 

Other co-authors were Omri M. Finkel, Piotr Mieczkowski, Corbin D. Jones, all of UNC-Chapel Hill; former UNC-Chapel Hill postdocs Natalie W. Breakfield and Meghan E. Feltcher; and Laura de Lorenzo and Javier Paz-Ares of Spain’s Centro Nacional de Biotecnología.

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill study: ‘no fat’ or ‘no sugar’ label equals no guarantee of nutritional quality

News Release:

 

For immediate use:

 

UNC-Chapel Hill study: ‘no fat’ or ‘no sugar’ label equals no guarantee of nutritional quality

 

Purchases featuring low- or no-nutrients claims do not necessarily offer the better overall nutrition implied by the claim.

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – March 15, 2017) – Terms such as no-fat or no-sugar, low-fat or reduced-salt on food packaging may give consumers a sense of confidence before they purchase, but these claims rarely reflect the actual nutritional quality of the food, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

The work, which appears in the most recent issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, rekindles an ongoing debate on what United States regulators consider healthy labeling, as producers and interest groups grapple over rules on nutrition claims on packaged foods and ready-to-drink beverages – and consumers contend with how to rationalize a purchase and make healthier choices.

 

“In many cases, foods containing low-sugar, low-fat or low-salt claims had a worse nutritional profile than those without claims,” explained lead investigator Lindsey Smith Taillie, a research assistant professor in the department of nutrition at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. “In fact, in some cases, products that tend to be high in calories, sodium, sugar or fat may be more likely to have low- or no-content claims.”

 

For example, a three-cookie serving of reduced-fat Oreos contains four-and-a-half grams of fat compared to seven grams in a serving of full-fat Oreos, but both still contain 14 grams of sugar per serving, which could provide the appearance that the low-fat version is “healthy.” Chocolate low-fat milk is another example. It has the lower fat content but it is higher in sugar relative to plain milk and higher in sugar and fat relative to other beverages.

 

The issue stems, in part, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowing packaged food and beverage manufacturers to assign labels in different ways for different foods.

 

As with the examples above, if you are a consumer trying to make a healthy choice, you assume reduced means a healthier product. But that product only has to be reduced in reference to the original food of the same product for that specific nutrient – a reduced-fat cookie, for example. That cookie could also contain higher sugar or sodium, so if consumers are only relying on the reduced claim, they could potentially end up with a less healthy cookie. ”Essentially, reduced claims are confusing because they are relative and only about one nutrient,” said Taillie.

 
“A low-fat brownie could have three grams of fat per 40 grams, whereas a low-fat cheesecake” would have to have three grams of fat per 125 grams. So if a consumer were trying to find a lower-fat option for a dessert, the low-fat brownie would have relatively higher fat than the low-fat cheesecake.”

 

After looking at data that included more than 80 million food and beverage purchases from more than 40,000 households from 2008 to 2012, Taillie and her colleagues at the UNC-Duke USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research found that 13 percent of food and 35 percent of beverage purchases had a low-content claim (including no, free, low or reduced) and that low-fat was the most common claim, followed by low-calorie, low-sugar and low-sodium.

 

Investigators also looked at the groups who were more likely to purchase foods that made these statements. While differences in purchasing patterns by race/ethnicity were not statistically significant, non-Hispanic white households were most likely to buy products with a low-calorie claim and Asian households purchased more foods with low-fat or low-sodium claims. Non-Hispanic black households were the least likely to purchase food groups with any low-content claim.

 

There was also a connection between socioeconomic status and food purchases. Researchers found that high-and middle-income level households were more likely to purchase food and beverages with low-content claims.

 

A key question for future research, said Taillie, will address how these claims affect consumer choice and how claims interact with other common strategies, such as sales or price promotions, to influence purchasing behavior and ultimately, dietary quality.

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs receive high rankings by U.S. News & World Report

News Release:

 

For immediate use

 

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs receive high rankings by U.S. News & World Report

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – March 14, 2017) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received high ratings on multiple lists of schools, degree programs and specialty areas newly ranked by U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

 

U.S. News ranks business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine programs annually, while other disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and other areas, including selected health specialties, are only ranked periodically. In recent years, the University has received high rankings in a number of these periodically ranked areas. A comprehensive list of all UNC-Chapel Hill rankings, both graduate and undergraduate, can be found here.

 

Following are the complete UNC-Chapel Hill rankings and specialty listings that will be available in the “Best Graduate Schools 2018” guidebook and usnews.com/store in early March and on newsstands in April.

 

School of Medicine

Overall

 

  • Primary care, 2nd
  • Research, 24th

 

Specialty areas

 

  • Family medicine, 6th
  • Rural medicine, 5th

 

Library & Information Studies

Overall

 

  • 3rd (master’s degree)

 

Specialty areas

 

  • Digital librarianship, tied for 1st
  • Health librarianship, tied for 1st
  • Archives and preservation, tied for 3rd
  • Law librarianship, 3rd
  • Services for children and youth, 3rd
  • Information systems, 7th
  • School library media, 8th

 

School of Nursing

Overall

 

  • 17th (master’s degree)
  • Tied for 20th (doctor of nursing practice)

 

Specialty areas

 

  • Nurse Practitioner: Family, tied for 11th

 

Kenan-Flagler Business School

Overall

 

  • 18th (MBA programs)

 

Specialty areas

 

  • Executive MBA, 11th
  • Accounting, tied for 9th

 

School of Law

Overall

 

  • Tied for 39th

 

Specialty area

 

  • Legal Writing, tied for 18th

 

School of Education

Overall

 

  • 31st

 

Specialty areas

 

  • Secondary Teacher Education, tied for 20th
  • Special Education, tied for 17th

 

Social Sciences & Humanities

 

  • Economics, tied for 29th
  • English, tied for 18th
  • History, tied for 11th
  • African-American History, tied for 2nd (specialty)
  • Political Science, 11th
  • Psychology, tied for 13th
  • Sociology, tied for 6th
  • Sociology of Population, 3rd (specialty)

 

 

Methodology: U.S. News first ranked graduate programs in 1987 and has done so annually since 1990. Its annual business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine rankings are based on expert opinion on program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students, according to U.S. News officials. Its periodic rankings of additional disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, health area and other areas are based solely on the ratings of peer academic experts, including deans, program directors and faculty.

 

The data come from statistical surveys sent to administrators at more than 1,970 graduate programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 16,500 academics and professionals in the disciplines. Surveys for the 2018 rankings were conducted during the fall of 2016 and in early 2017.

 

In addition to the new rankings, U.S. News republishes older rankings – dated 2011 or before – on its website and in the guidebook. These older rankings are based on peer ratings in various health disciplines, nursing schools and Ph.D. programs in the sciences.

 

Scoring system: U.S. News examined the data for individual indicators and standardized the value of each one about its mean. The weight applied to each reflects their judgment about its relative importance, as determined in consultation with experts in the field. Final scores were rescaled so the highest-scoring institution was assigned 100; the others’ scores were recalculated as a percentage of that top score. Scores were then rounded to the nearest whole number. Schools with a score of 100 accumulated the highest composite score. An institution’s rank reflects the number of schools that sit above it; if three are tied at No. 1, for example, the next will be ranked 4. Tied schools are listed alphabetically.

 

–Carolina —

 About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu
U.S. News contactEducation-PR@usnews.com

Ninety percent of predatory fish gone from Caribbean coral reefs due to overfishing

For immediate use

 

Ninety percent of predatory fish gone from Caribbean coral reefs due to overfishing

 

If protected, supersites could support an enormous number and diversity of predatory fishes, boost economy

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Monday, Feb. 27, 2017) – Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that up to 90 percent of predatory fish are gone from Caribbean coral reefs, straining the ocean ecosystem and coastal economy. The good news? They identified reefs, known as supersites, which can support large numbers of predator fishes that if reintroduced, can help restore the environmental and economic setback inflicted by overfishing.

 

The work, led by former UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student Abel Valdivia working with John Bruno, a marine biologist at UNC College of Arts & Sciences, suggests that these supersites – reefs with many nooks and crannies on its surface that act as hiding places for prey (and attract predators) – should be prioritized for protection and could serve as regional models showcasing the value of biodiversity for tourism and other uses. Other features that make a supersite are amount of available food, size of reef and proximity to mangroves.

 

“On land, a supersite would be a national park like Yellowstone, which naturally supports an abundance of varied wildlife and has been protected by the federal government,” said Bruno, whose work appears in the March 1 issue of Science Advances.

 

The team surveyed 39 reefs across the Bahamas, Cuba, Florida, Mexico and Belize, both inside and outside marine reserves, to determine how much fish had been lost by comparing fish biomass on pristine sites to fish biomass on a typical reef. They estimated the biomass in each location and found that 90 percent of predatory fish were gone due to overfishing.

 

What they didn’t expect to find was a ray of hope — a small number of reef locations that if protected could substantially contribute to the recovery of predatory fish populations and help restore depleted species.

 

“Some features have a surprisingly large effect on how many predators a reef can support,” said Courtney Ellen Cox, a coauthor and former UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral student now at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. For example, researchers believe that the Columbia Reef within the fisheries closures of Cozumel, Mexico, could support an average 10 times the current level of predatory fish if protected.

 

Not long ago, large fishes were plentiful on coral reefs, but are now largely absent due to targeted fishing. Today, predators are larger and more abundant within the marine reserves than on unprotected, overfished reefs. But even some of the marine reserves have seen striking declines, largely due to lack of enforcement of fishing regulations.

 

The bottom line is protection of predatory fish is a win-win from both an environmental and an economical perspective, explained Bruno.

 

“A live shark is worth over a million dollars in tourism revenue over its lifespan because sharks live for decades and thousands of people will travel and dive just to see them up close,” said Valdivia, now at the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland, Calif. “There is a massive economic incentive to restore and protect sharks and other top predators on coral reefs.”

 

— Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Photo caption: Image of a Caribbean reef shark in the Bahamas, taken by Neil Hammerschlag.

Diagram caption: Illustration of the relative fish biomass on reefs varying in fishing intensity and natural capacity to support large predatory fishes. Drawing by Adi Khen.

 

UNC Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

Youth with type 2 diabetes develop complications more often than type 1 peers

 

Youth with type 2 diabetes develop complications more often than type 1 peers

 

Health complications emerge earlier and are more aggressive in youths diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than peers with type 1 diabetes.

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – March 1, 2017) – Teens and young adults with type 2 diabetes develop kidney, nerve and eye disease, as well as some risk factors for heart disease, earlier than their peers with type 1 diabetes within eight years of diagnoses. The results, co-authored by a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are the latest findings of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, which has been monitoring the burden of diabetes in youth under the age of 20 nationwide since 2000.

 

The work, reported in the Feb. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, is the largest, most comprehensive longitudinal study to date to compare type 1 and type 2 diabetes diagnosed early in life and provide a followup perspective on how early medical complications emerge in the two conditions.

 

“This is the only study that exists in the country that is set up to compare type 1 and type 2 diabetes when conditions are diagnosed early in life,” said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, the SEARCH study’s co-chair, co-author of the study and chair of the department of nutrition at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

 

The study is significant because this is the first time that the health burdens of the two conditions could be compared at the same time, providing an unprecedented look at the emergence of health complication of the two diseases.

 

The researchers studied 1,746 adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes and 272 with type 2 diabetes and looked at five health complications of diabetes: retinopathy (eye disease), diabetic kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy (altered sensation in the feet), arterial stiffness and high blood pressure.

 

Overall, they found that health complications emerge faster in type 2 diabetes than type 1 diabetes, especially in minority youth with the disease. Specifically, one-third of teenagers and young adults with type 1 diabetes and almost 75 percent of those with type 2 diabetes had at least one health complication after eight years following a diagnosis. The effect was seen in diabetic kidney disease, retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy, but not in arterial stiffness or hypertension.

 

Other key findings include:

 

  • For youth with type 2 diabetes, nearly 20 percent developed a sign of kidney disease by the end of the study, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1 diabetes.
  • For youth with type 2, about 18 percent developed nerve disease, versus about 9 percent with type 1.
  • For youth with type 2, about 9 percent developed eye disease, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1.
  • Measures for two risk factors for heart disease (hypertension and arterial stiffness) were greater for youth with type 2 but close to equal for a third risk factor (cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy).

 

“In terms of chronic complications, type 2 seems to be more aggressive,” said Mayer-Davis. “These results would not necessarily be expected because acute complications like extremely high or low blood sugar that can lead to emergency room visits or hospitalization are more common in type 1 diabetes.”

 

Mayer-Davis explained it is critical to learn more about the best ways to reduce risk for longterm complications, in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. “Both conditions emerge from a combination of genes and environment, but different genes and different environments,” she said. “We need to figure out how to reduce risk for complications in order to improve long term health for these young individuals.”

 

Five U.S. clinical centers and principal investigators participated. Along with Mayer-Davis, the SEARCH co-chair at UNC’s Gillings School who also collaborated with the University of South Carolina’s School of Public Health, the researchers and centers included: the study’s first author and study co-chair Dana Dabelea at Colorado School of Public Health, Catherine Pihoker at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jean Lawrence at Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Larry Dolan at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The study’s central laboratory is at the Northwest Lipid Research Laboratory and overseen by Santica Marcovina. Its coordinating center is at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, co-directed by Ralph D’Agostino and Lynne Wagenknecht.

 

–Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of University Communications contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962–8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill initiative will combat opioid use disorders and overdose deaths

News Release:

 

For immediate use

 

UNC-Chapel Hill initiative will combat opioid use disorders and overdose deaths

 

New project will increase medication-assisted treatment in rural North Carolina

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Feb. 15, 2017) — A new research initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill will seek to combat the opioid epidemic by helping to reduce barriers to rural physicians treating opioid use disorders in North Carolina. The project is the first focus of a new effort to increase North Carolinian’s access to specialty care through an innovative medical education model that gives rural health practitioners access to training, experts and resources not usually available to them.

 

The UNC Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes for Rural Primary Care Medication Assisted Treatment (UNC ECHO for MAT), in collaboration with University of New Mexico Project ECHO, will reduce barriers to primary care providers offering medication assisted treatment (MAT) to persons with opioid use disorders and reduce deaths from accidental overdose in North Carolina, which exceeds the national average and has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.

 

“One effective way to combat opioid addiction and thereby opioid overdoses is MAT,” said Sherri Green, a research fellow at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research and assistant professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. “There is both a shortage of MAT providers, especially in rural counties, and a need to support MAT providers through case-based learning, practice supports, and a collaborative community response with treatment and other social and medical supports for patients receiving MAT.”

 

The UNC-ECHO for MAT will seek to better understand what prevents primary care providers from offering MAT in their practices, evaluate strategies to overcome those barriers, and work closely with providers and community and state partners to expand access to MAT with associated community supports in 22 rural and underserved counties. Furthermore, the UNC ECHO for MAT will serve as a venue for Project ECHO capacity building in North Carolina. The three-year, $2.9 million project is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

 

Some of the barriers to physicians providing MAT include lack of training for primary care providers, concerns about a patient’s ability to follow through with treatment, workload practice resource limitations, isolation or lack of support for the practitioner, difficulties in connecting patients with community treatment resources, and stigma associated with substance use disorders and use of MAT. The UNC ECHO team will collaborate with Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organizations for mental health and substance use disorder services (LME/MCO) staff and providers, Community Care of North Carolina, the Governors Institute, AHECs and the NC Harm Reduction Coalition to address these concerns.

 

The project will offer participating providers continuing medical education (CME) credits to be certified as MAT providers, physician to physician case consultation, CME through tele-trainings and tele-case conferences to help implement a MAT program, as well as practice based office staff support. The research team will track how many practitioners prescribe MAT and the effectiveness of provider level interventions to reduce barriers to providing MAT. Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield claims data and a robust systematic qualitative research plan will help the team evaluate the intervention.

 

“AHRQ has provided North Carolina with a unique opportunity to leverage the good work and knowledge of many partners working across systems in the state, from behavioral health to public health, concerned about and invested in finding solutions to this public health crisis,” said Green.

 

The Centers for Disease Control estimated the national opioid overdose death rate for 2014 to be 9.0 per 100,000. In 2014, 45 counties in North Carolina had overdose death rates over 9.0 per 100,000. According to the North Carolina Division of Public Health, 1,101 people died in 2012 from unintentional poisoning in the state, with 92 percent of all unintentional poisoning deaths being drug or medication related.

 

— Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

Sheps Center contact: Sonya Sutton, (919) 608-0480, ssutton@unc.edu