Queen's University

Health researchers receive $1.7M in funding

 
2009-03-17

Three health researchers with Queen's and Kingston General Hospital have been awarded $1.72 million to conduct studies in the areas of ankle injuries, pain relief and the effects of nutrition supplementation on burn patients.

The new funding comes from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Rob Brison, professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Community Health and Epidemiology at Queen's and director of the Clinical Research Centre at KGH, will receive $703,000 over three years to study ankle sprains – a common injury treated in Canadian emergency departments – and one that can result in chronic problems. Dr. Brison and Brenda Brouwer, a professor in the Schools of Rehabilitation Therapy and Kinesiology and Health Studies, will investigate the optimal care for these injuries over three years. The research team hopes to recruit 500 patients to study outcomes of those treated with varying levels of intensity of physical therapy. Participants will be followed for six months following treatment.

Dr. Brison hopes the study will result in improved care for patients with ankle sprains. “While evidence exists that physical therapy can be effective in the treatment of ankle injuries in athletes, similar treatments have yet to be tested in more general populations such as those treated in emergency departments,” he explains. “The results of this study may demonstrate that early use of physical therapy in patients with these injuries may reduce the burden of chronic pain and/or disability that is seen with them.”

Pain affects about one-third of the population and costs $165 billion a year in North America. Ian Gilron, director of Clinical Pain Research at Queen's and KGH anesthesiologist, has been awarded $416,000 to determine if combining different kinds of pain relievers will improve effectiveness and reduce side effects. The three-year study will follow diabetic patients with pain due to nerve disease using a combination of the antidepressant nortriptyline and the opioid morphine. Studies show that, on their own, both drugs partially relieve pain associated with nerve disease.

“Individual pain-relievers provide incomplete relief and can often produce troubling side effects,” explains Dr. Gilron. “Some drug combinations have been proven better than each of their own components alone. Through this study, we expect to determine whether this combination is more beneficial than either drug alone.”

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and critical care researcher Daren Heyland is a co-investigator on a feasibility study that will look at whether glutamine – a supplement shown to decrease infections in patients treated in intensive care settings or after surgery – is of benefit to adult burn patients. The $600,000, two-year study involving burn centres across North America is being coordinated by the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at KGH and led by a physician affiliated with the University of McGill Medical School.

“These important projects demonstrate the leading-edge research that takes place every day in Kingston,” says. Roger Deeley, Vice Dean of Research in the Queen's Faculty of Health Sciences and Vice-President of Research Development at KGH. “These studies each aim to improve the way patients are treated for chronic and critical injuries and are yet another example of how, together, KGH and Queen's are always working to find the best and safest outcome for patients.”

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