Wednesday, September 28, 2016

URSP Student Naomi Coles Investigates the Effects that Childhood Obesity has on Bone Mineralization

My project is investigating the effects that childhood obesity has on bone mineralization. I did not come into research with a project in mind, I just knew that after my stepfather passed away of colorectal cancer my freshman year of college, that I wanted to know if I was interested enough in research to want to pursue finding ways to preventing colorectal cancer medically. It was after talking to my introduction to nutrition professor, Dr. Sina Gallo, about potential research opportunities that she informed me of this project where I could analyze data from her larger project to find out if childhood obesity has an effect on bone mineralization.

This project was instantly interesting to me as I am pursuing a career in medicine, in hopes of becoming a Pediatrician. Knowing that this project would allow me to exclusively evaluate data for children I knew that the results from this research could be beneficial for me when entering the medical field. In addition, being able to work on this project and carrying out the research process will allow me to evaluate how much interest I have in research and whether I can do clinical research on colorectal cancer and ways to prevent it in the future.

Throughout the semester, what I do on a weekly basis changes. At the beginning of my project, most of what I did involved preparing for data collection and collecting data. I would assist several professors and graduate students in an intervention known as the Child Health Exercise and Wellness study. This study is a lifestyle intervention program geared toward treating childhood diabetes in Hispanic families. Here I would be present during 24-hour food recall interviews, collect anthropometric data, and assist with the dual x-ray absorptiometry for bone and adipose tissue data. Currently, I am analyzing that data by categorizing the data in tables and running the appropriate statistical tests to obtain results. I mainly run the statistical tests on my own after discussing appropriate testing with my mentor. During the time that I am not meeting with my mentors, I am analyzing the statistical results and writing up the results found. Currently, I am finalizing my poster to present at OSCAR’s Summer Research Celebration.

One thing that I discovered this week is that, the results we would expect are actually the opposite. For example, when graphing the data, it seems as though with an increase in Calcium consumption there is a decrease in bone mass density. Of course analysis is still taking place.