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FYINewsFive-Year NIH Grant on Mind-Body Interactions and HealthSeptember 2004Chapel Hill, NC - The UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to foster interdisciplinary research on the interactions among the mind and body in health and disease. The Center will receive a total of $4.3 million over a five-year period to establish a Gastrointestinal Biopsychosocial Research Center focused on the causes and treatment of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.The UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders is a center of excellence within the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In a joint statement, the Center's co-directors William E. Whitehead (Professor of Medicine) and Douglas A. Drossman (Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry) said: "We are very pleased to be funded through the NIH initiative on Mind-Body Interactions and Health. This grant will enable us to carry out longer-term collaborations with other disciplines and with a variety of institutions nationally and internationally in mind-body and health studies. We are excited about the prospects for using this award to build on our longstanding record of NIH-funded research in this area and to develop new research partners and new areas of research."Funding for mind/body centers is provided through the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the NIH Office of the Director, as a cooperative effort of about a dozen institutes within NIH. This broad-based initiative evolved from growing evidence that interdisciplinary research which integrates the study of social, behavioral, psychological and biological factors holds particular promise in understanding disease etiology and promoting health. The first five centers were funded in 1999. An additional five centers were selected for funding in 2004. The UNC grant was funded through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).Research at the UNC Center has included studies on the pathophysiology and treatment of such prevalent functional GI disorders as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, functional abdominal pain, fecal incontinence, and constipation. These disorders greatly impair quality of life and result in aggregate health care costs exceeding $25 billion annually. Research themes at the Center have included the role of visceral pain perception and its modulation by cognitive and psychological processes, neuroimaging studies of central nervous system mechanisms modulating visceral pain, effects of reproductive hormones on IBS, the role of stress, abuse history and other psychosocial factors on clinical outcomes, intergenerational transmission of IBS through heredity and social learning, and excess comorbidity of IBS with other somatic disorders. Clinical trials research at the Center includes evaluation of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), hypnosis, antidepressants, and patient education of IBS, and biofeedback for fecal incontinence and constipation.The new Gastrointestinal Biopsychosocial Research Center funded through the NIH/NIDDK grant will be used to support core resources in a number of areas -- a Research Network to facilitate large-scale, multi-center studies with other institutions; a Data Technology Core for internet-administered questionnaires, automated telephone systems for data acquisition, and internet software to track enrollment and manage multi-center studies; a Biometry Core providing biostatistical support and data management; a Seed Grant Core with funds for pilot projects by young investigators; and an Education Core to disseminate research findings to patients and other professionals. With the help of this grant, the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders will become university wide and will include investigators from psychology, psychiatry, surgery (gynecology division), neuroradiology, dentistry, the school of public health, and other disciplines.www.med.unc.edu/medicine/...2004-2.htm
 
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