Research

The Program on Integrative Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine is always looking for new opportunities and new partnerships to promote the study and use of Integrative Medicine.

Current Research Studies

Nutrition for Chronic Pain

Principal Investigator: Kevin Carneiro, MD
Project Manager: Kim Faurot
Funding: North American Spine Society (NASS), Mayday Fund

Lumbar radiculopathy is a syndrome of buttock/leg pain, weakness, and/or numbness/tingling caused by a pinched nerve in the back.  Although some people recover quickly from this problem, others go on to have chronic debilitating pain. Preliminary evidence suggests that dietary changes may help patients with chronic pain, but their effectiveness has not been well studied.

 The purpose of this research study is to learn whether dietary changes can improve symptoms and quality of life for chronic lumbar radiculopathy sufferers.

For more information about this study click here or contact our study team members at (919) 966-8586.


Nutrition for Migraine Prevention

Principal Investigator: J. Douglas Mann, MD
Project Manager: Kim Faurot
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Migraine is a widespread, debilitating, chronic pain disorder and a major public health challenge. Most conventional treatments fail to give satisfactory long-term relief and their repeated use can have serious side effects.

This project involves implementation of substantial dietary changes in adults with migraine. Our goal is to test the hypothesis that a causal relationship exists between migraine symptoms and the amount and proportions of foods consumed containing defined amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Significant findings supporting the hypothesis will lead to a major shift in both prevention and management of migraine and other chronic pain disorders. Emphasis is on low-cost, health improvement strategies utilizing specific dietary modifications for pain management, based on solid clinical research evidence.

For more information about this study click here or contact our study team members at (919) 966-8586.


Completed Projects

A Mindfulness School-Based Intervention for Adolescents (COMPLETED)

Principal Investigator: Karen Bluth, PhD and Rebecca A. Campo, PhD

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a mindfulness school-based intervention in students who had struggled in the traditional public high school setting. Additionally, we examined outcomes in psycho-social wellbeing and academic performance. This study took place at an alternative high school in North Carolina and the classes met for 50 minutes once a week, over the course of the school semester.


Exploring the Impact of a Mindfulness Intervention on Adolescents’ Self-Compassion and Emotional Well-Being (COMPLETED)

Principal Investigator: Karen Bluth, PhD
Funding: Varela Foundation

This study addressed the impact of a mindfulness intervention on the emotional well-being (i.e. perceived stress, positive and negative affect, and life satisfaction) of adolescents and examined mediators of intervention-related change. Specifically, we investigated whether: 1) mindfulness practice increased self-compassion and reduced physiologic responses to stress (blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, salivary cortisol), 2) positive changes in self-compassion and mindfulness predicted greater emotional well-being and reduced physiologic stress responses, and 3) self-compassion, mindfulness and physiologic stress reactivity functioned as mediating mechanisms through which mindfulness impacted emotional well-being. This study was funded by a Francisco J. Varela Research Award through the Mind and Life Foundation.


Post-traumatic Headache and Psychological Health: Mindfulness Training for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (COMPLETED)

Principal Investigator: Sutapa Ford, PhD
Funding: Department of Defense

This was a randomized, three-arm prospective, behavioral intervention study examining the effects of standard pharmacologic headache care with training in Mindfulenss Based Stress Reduction, in the treatment of chronic posttraumatic headache in soldiers with mild concussions. Chronic headaches were defined as frequent posttraumatic headache persisting for 3 months or more, following a recents head injury. We examined the influence of MBSR on PTSD symptoms, depression and psychological health as well as headache outcomes.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UNC (COMPLETED)

Principal Investigators: Johann Hsu, MD and Stuart Gold, MD 

The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of CAM use with a needs assessment in our pediatric hematology/oncology population while estimating the perceptions, needs, and demographics.


 Nutrition for Chronic Daily Headaches (COMPLETED --Data Analysis Underway)

Dates Active: April 1, 2010-December 30, 2012
Principal Investigator: J. Douglas Mann, MD
Funding: Mayday Foundation and the UNC Clinical and Translational Research Center

The purpose of this study is to learn whether dietary changes can improve symptoms and quality of life for headache sufferers.

For more information about this study click here.


We Can Prevent Diabetes Study (COMPLETED --Data Analysis Underway)

Dates Active: July 1, 2010-June 30, 2013
Principal Investigator: Susan A. Gaylord, PhD and Cheryl Giscombe, PhD
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The major goal of this research study is to work with pre-diabetic African American adults to prevent diabetes. This study will evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of behavioral techniques in decreasing diabetes risk, including mindfulness based stress management and educational activities aimed at decreasing diabetes risk.

For more information about this study click here.


Mindfulness Program for Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: July 1, 2006-June 30, 2009
Principal Investigator: Susan Gaylord, PhD
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This research study evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as an intervention in women with IBS. This research determined the feasibility of developing a larger, definitive clinical trial comparing efficacy of two treatment groups (a mindfulness-based stress reduction group and an IBS Support Program group) in reducing severity of IBS symptoms.

To read an article about this study, click here.


Craniosacral Therapy in Migraine: Feasibility Study (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: July 1, 2006-June 30, 2008
Principal Investigator: J. Douglas Mann, MD
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This study compared and evaluated the therapeutic effects of craniosacral therapy compared to magnet therapy for migraine headaches in adults.

To read an article about this study, click here.


Integrative Diabetes Management Program (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: January 1, 2006-February 28, 2007
Principal Investigator: Susan Gaylord, PhD
Funding: Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC Foundation

Worked with Prospect Hill Community Health Center to develop and pilot community outreach and education to improve screening, prevention, and management of Diabetes Mellitus.


Integrating CAM into Health Professions Education in North Carolina (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: September 28, 2000-July 31, 2005
Co-Principal Investigators: Susan Gaylord, PhD and J. Douglas Mann, MD
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The major goals of this project were to accelerate the integration of CAM education into the curricula of health professions schools at UNC, selected medical residency programs, and continuing education efforts, including CAM seminars and workshops taught in the AHEC System. Emphasis was placed on patient centered care; investigation of evidence of efficacy and mechanisms of action of CAM therapies (in comparison with conventional care); appreciation of the theoretical and philosophies of alternative therapeutic systems; knowledge of the practitioners of alternative systems of care; communication skills development; interdisciplinary collaboration among educational specialists, CAM practitioners and other health professionals in developing and implementing curricula; and active, experiential learning.


Korean Acupuncture in Central Nervous System Disorders (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: September 21, 2003 - March 31, 2005
Principal Investigators: J. Douglas Mann, MD and Michael Lee, MD (Co-P.I.)
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The major goal of this project was to develop infrastructure for collaborative research with Korean investigators in the use of acupuncture for four neurological disorders -- Parkinson’s disease, stroke, chronic pain and neurogenic bladder.


Painful HIV Neuropathy: Treatment with Alpha-Lipoic Acid (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2005
Principal Investigator: J. Douglas Mann, MD
Funding: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The major goal of this project was to evaluate the effects of oral alpha-lipoic acid in painful HIV-related neuropathy in adults over six months.


Teaching Hand and Foot Massage to Care Partners in an In-Patient Setting (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: July 1 2003 - June 30, 2005
Principal Investigators: Susan Gaylord, PhD and J. Douglas Mann, MD (Co-P.I.)
Funding: Press-Ganey Association, Inc.

Feasibility study on teaching hand and foot massage techniques to nursing staff, who in turn teach care partners to massage patients, for relief in pain, stress, anxiety and to increase quality of life.


Developing a Sustainable Medicinal Herbs Market for North Carolina (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: August 1, 2003 – October 31, 2004
Principal Investigators: Susan Gaylord, PhD and Jeanine Davis, PhD (Co-P.I.)
Funding: GoldenLEAF, Inc.

Educated growers, consumers and health professionals about the farming, processing, and safety and effectiveness of herbal products which can be grown and marketed in North Carolina.


Distance-Learning in Alternative Nursing Paradigms (COMPLETED)

Dates Active: May 1, 2004-October 31, 2004
Funding: UNC Interdisciplinary Programs

Developed a video module on Traditional Chinese Medicine for a distance learning program.