SOBC Spotlight: EHPS Interview with Dr. Jennifer Sumner

Dr. Jennifer Sumner, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and member of the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Research Network Resource and Coordinating Center, recently returned from a roundtable event at the 31st meeting of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS). The conference was held in beautiful Padova (Padua), Italy from August 29th to September 2nd. The roundtable was titled “Behaviour change: Investigating mechanisms of action” and was co-chaired by Dr. Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) at University College London, and Dr. Rachel Carey, an Associate Consultant of the CBC.  read more »

 

Be ‘Mindful’ of the Hype

“Mindfulness” is touted as a cure-all for many modern ills, from stress and pain to depression.

But little to no scientific evidence backs up most of the health claims surrounding the practice, said Willoughby Britton, director of Brown University’s clinical and affective neuroscience laboratory.

There’s not even an agreed-upon definition of mindfulness that researchers can use to test the concept’s effectiveness, Britton said.

“Meditation researchers are concerned the exaggerated claims of mindfulness benefits will mislead vulnerable people and keep them from receiving evidence-based treatment,” Britton said.

In a new paper, Britton and 14 other experts say it’s time to replace the hype with serious scientific rigor.

Mindfulness has become a billion-dollar industry. Countless practitioners and more than 1,500 smartphone apps promise to help people become calm and focused despite the turbulence surrounding them, Britton said.

The idea is based on an obscure Buddhist concept dating back 2,600 years, according to the American Psychological Association. It generally refers to a state of moment-to-moment awareness of existence, without any judgment placed on that awareness — essentially, living in the moment.

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UIC Researchers Create Voice-Enabled Coach to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

More than 30 million Americans had diabetes in 2015, according to the American Diabetes Association. That’s just over 9 percent of the U.S. population.

The vast majority of those with the disease have Type 2 diabetes, which most often occurs in middle-aged adults and older adults, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

While there is no cure for the disease, it can be managed through medication and healthy behaviors such as exercising, eating nutritious meals and quitting smoking.

“A lot of these lifestyle changes can be very stressful,” said Olusola Ajilore, associate professor of psychiatry in the University Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. “I teach a class on diabetes and emotions for patients with Type 2 diabetes and some of the challenges they bring up are having to change their diet or increasing their physical activity or exercise.” read more »

 

Postdoctoral Fellowship | Division of Women’s Health and Department of Psychiatry | Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Position: The Holsen Lab is seeking a full-time Postdoctoral Fellow to contribute to our work in clinical neuroscience related to reward processing, hormones, and appetite phenotypes in depression (PI: Dr. Laura Holsen). The focus of our lab is on understanding factors that drive appetite, mood-related eating behaviors, and weight change, with a broad goal of ameliorating negative health outcomes and chronic diseases associated with disordered eating. Current projects cover stress-induced eating in major depressive disorder, postmenopausal neurocognitive decline in women with obesity, and neurohormonal predictors of response to weight loss therapies including bariatric surgery, neuromodulation techniques, and glycemic load diets. In our work, we explore these themes using multimodal neuroimaging in combination with neuroendocrine measurements and behavioral assessments. We work in close collaboration with colleagues in psychiatry, nutrition, endocrinology, and radiology/functional neuroimaging.

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New SOBC Funding Opportunities

The NIH is now accepting revision applications to R01, U01, and R34 clinical trials as well as new R21 awards to accelerate the adaptation, validation, and translation of SOBC assays. Eligible assays can be found on the SOBC Measures Repository page.
Applications are due December 5, 2017.

For more information, please visit our Funding Opportunities page.

Two informational webinars will be held for potential applicants:

  • Thursday, October 26, 2017 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM, EST (Register)
  • Monday, October 30, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, EST (Register)

Each webinar will cover the same information and address all four funding opportunities.

 

Health Equity Institute Director

The Health Equity Institute (HEI) at San Francisco State University seeks a new Director.

HEI is a campus-wide multidisciplinary research unit that facilitates scientific research and community related to health equity. The HEI Director directs administration of the unit; creates an intellectual home at SF State for health equity research and practice; mentors faculty and works collaboratively in the development and management of externally funded projects; and maximizes funders’ understandings of HEI’s capacities to address issues of health equity. The Director also works collaboratively to strengthen the university’s research environment, supporting faculty in their diverse health-related scholarly pursuits, and ensures the participation students in HEI’s work, bolstering the university’s overarching efforts to increase student success.

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Dr. Santosh Kumar Presents: Sensor-triggered Mobile Interventions Using Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K)

 Sensor-triggered Mobile Interventions Using Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K)

Monday, September 25th, 2017

2:00-3:00pm (EST)

Santosh Kumar, Ph.D. is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Memphis where he holds the Lilian & Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence. His research focuses on mobile health (or mHealth). He and his student have developed computational models to infer human health and behavior such as stress, conversation, smoking, craving, and cocaine use from wearable sensor data. He leads several large multidisciplinary projects in mHealth funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and IARPA. He currently leads NIH-funded national Center of Excellence on Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K) that involves over 20 scientists in computing, engineering, behavioral science, and medicine from 12 universities. MD2K has developed and released open- source software platforms (mCerebrum and Cerebral Cortex) to support discovery and validation of new digital mHealth biomarkers and sensor-triggered interventions. Santosh was named one of America’s “Ten Most Brilliant Scientists Under The Age of 38” by Popular Science in 2010. In 2015, he was named Tennessee’s “First Chair of Excellence in Computer Science”.