Study launched to help adolescent asthma sufferers

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor will play a key role in a project designed to help adolescents suffering from asthma.

Dr. Mengjun Xie, UALR assistant professor of computer science, is serving as a co-investigator on a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences research study that recently received a pilot award from the UAMS Translational Research Institute. The project, “Exploring the Effects of Sleep Patterns and Physical Activity on Asthma in Adolescents with Wrist-Work Smart Devices,” is led by Dr. Tamara Perry of UAMS. Drs. Jiang Bian and Yi Guo of the University of Florida also are collaborating.

The project, which will primarily take place at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, will use data collected from activity trackers worn by participating asthma-diagnosed teens to uncover the triggers of asthma symptoms. The 20 participants, ages 14–17, will be able to go about their normal routines and activities during the eight-week study, unlike the participants of many asthma and sleep studies. The portability and usability of the activity trackers allow participants’ physical states and reactions to be monitored without causing inconvenience.

Researchers think this method of study will make it easier for individuals to participate and potentially improve the accuracy of results.

Xie will supervise a UALR graduate assistant, who will be heavily involved in the data collection and coding for the study.

Through the project, researchers plan to observe and draw significant conclusions on the roles of exercise and sleep patterns in causing asthma flare-ups. Those involved in the study hope the work will lead to the improvement of treatment methods for adolescent asthma and help researchers develop more accurate methods of predicting asthma attacks.

This project was supported by the Translational Research Institute, grant UL1TR000039, through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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