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Patricia Molina, M.D, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Physiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans, was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Molina’s term began in November of 2012 and will end in October of ’16. A major responsibility on this council is to make recommendations regarding grant applications to support research and training activities. Her research at LSU focuses on the interaction of alcohol and drug abuse on the behavioral, metabolic and immune consequences of HIV/AIDS; she also studies the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the cardiovascular, metabolic and immune consequences of acute traumatic brain injury and hemorrhagic shock.

Ochsner Medical Center is currently participating in a randomized clinical trial that evaluates the effectiveness of a new cell-based technology in patients with non-reconstructable limb ischemia, which is a severe condition of peripheral artery disease that decreases blood flow to the legs and feet to the point of severe pain or skin ulcer formation. The breakthrough trial, which is called “bone marrow aspirate concentrate” uses a patient’s own cells, including stem cells from their bone marrow, to stimulate growth of new blood vessels in the lower extremities. Ochsner is one of 22 sites in the United States participating in this approach, and is the only location to offer this trial in the greater Gulf South region.

Melinda Sothern, Ph.D., CEP, Professor and Director of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program at LSUHSC School of Public Health, has been awarded grant funding for her research on the role of social, environmental and behavioral determinants of future obesity. Five years ago, Sothern worked with children age 7 to 9 who had early predictors of metabolic syndrome. She had documented evidence that supports relationships seen in adolescents between insulin sensitivity and fatty liver, belly fat and total body fat. She will be re-measuring BMI and also analyze blood tests for metabolic and genetic parameters in 100 healthy obese and non-obese adolescents. Dr. Sothern’s group will examine the role of genetically determined pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds, and the change in obesity and biomarkers from pre-adolescence to adolescence. They will also examine the contribution of social determinants that can modify these compounds.

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