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NORC and Office of Energetics investigators take top prizes at 2016 Postdoctoral Research Day

March 9, 2016

Researchers from UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) and Office of Energetics distinguished themselves in Session 1 at the 13th Annual Postdoctoral Research Day competition. Presentations were scored on clarity, the significance of the research, and the scientific approach to the problem.

TaShauna U. Goldsby, PhD (center), postdoctoral fellow in the NORC and Office of Energetics, was awarded first place for “Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data,” which seeks to examine whether changes in body mass index (BMI) z-score were associated with the construction of Railroad Park. This study found that proximity to a park was not associated with reductions in BMI z-score. Additional efforts to understand how park construction and access will increase physical activity are warranted. UAB co-investigators are Brandon J. George, PhD, statistician in the Office of Energetics; Bisakha P. Sen, PhD, professor in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy; and David B. Allison, PhD, distinguished professor and director of NORC and Office of Energetics.

Marissa Gowey, PhD (left), postdoctoral scholar in the NORC, was awarded second place for “Timing and Magnitude of Post-meal Glucose Peak Is Associated with Food Cue Responsivity in Children,” which examines whether glucose response following a standardized liquid meal test was associated with eating behavior in 31 children between ages 5 and 10. The study found that children whose mothers perceived them as more likely to respond to environmental or external food cues had an earlier glucose peak following a meal, while the concentration (or level) of their peak glucose was not as important. These findings might suggest that children’s response to external food cues could be partially attributable to their underlying glucose metabolism. In particular, those children whose glucose peaks earlier after a meal may be more likely to eat in the presence of (external) food cues, even when they are not expected to be hungry, possibly making them more susceptible to excess weight gain over time. Continuing to identify and understand bio-behavioral relationships in pediatric obesity such as these could potentially inform the development of more effective assessment and treatment strategies. Her UAB co-investigator is Paula C. Chandler-Laney, PhD, assistant professor in the NORC and Department of Nutrition Sciences.

Patrice L. Capers, PhD, MSCR (right), a MERIT post-doctoral scholar in the Office of Energetics, was awarded third place for “The Future of Evidence-Based Medicine is Not So Bright: A Meta-Analysis of the PROSPERO Systematic Review Registry,” which aims to evaluate the time and effort required to conduct and publish systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The team utilized the PROSPERO registry to retrieve 195 records that were marked as complete and contained a link to a publication. From each publication and PROSPERO record, they recorded logistic information that included the number of authors, initial number of references found in databases searches, number of included studies, search dates, and publication dates. The average yield rate (ratio of studies included compared to number of references found) was 2.96 percent, the average number of authors was 5 plus or minus 3, and the time lapse between the search date and when the paper was published was 66.8 weeks. It was concluded that more efficient methods for conducting systematic reviews must be developed. Co-investigators are Rohit Borah, Science and Technology Honors Program; Andrew W. Brown, PhD, scientist in the NORC and Office of Energetics; and Kathryn Kaiser, PhD, instructor in the NORC and Office of Energetics.