Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Medical College of Wisconsin Researcher Receives Award to Study Spina Bifida

March 10, 2012 

Michele Polfuss, Ph.D., R.N., CPNP-AC/PC, a Pediatric Endocrine & Diabetes Nurse Practitioner with the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a researcher with Children’s Research Institute, has received funding from the Spina Bifida Foundation to further her work.

Dr. Polfuss was awarded the “Ashley Rose Advancement in Research Award” for her project to study the body composition in children with spina bifida. The award supports projects in spina bifida research conducted by young investigators, under the mentorship of senior investigators.

The pilot study will examine the feasibility of obtaining and comparing four methods of measuring height, and five methods of obtaining body composition measurements, in 26 children with spina bifida. The study will explore cost, as well as the efficacy of using a preparation manual developed by a child life specialist, to assist children with understanding the project and coping with the different measurements.

The findings will provide the basis for a larger multi-state study that will begin to characterize the growth, body fat, and distribution of body fat in patients with spina bifida. Additionally, researchers hope to create a formula to accurately predict fat mass from clinically available body measurement data.

Dr. Polfuss is leading an interdisciplinary team which includes professionals in nursing, medicine, physical therapy, and child life. The study will be primarily conducted in the Pediatric Translational Research Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Kathleen J. Sawin, Ph.D., CPNP-PC, FAAA, Research Chair in the Nursing of Children (a position jointly supported by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and UWM College of Nursing); and Greg Liptak, M.D., M.P.H., Upstate Foundation Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics, College of Medicine, Upstate Medical University, State University of New York, will serve as mentors for Dr. Polfuss.

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