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o b s s r connector monthly

August 15, 2017

Director's Voice

The Impacts of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Last month, the National Academies held a public event on their recent publication, “The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities: Report for the National Science Foundation.” This report provides many examples of the impacts of social, behavioral, and economic sciences on business, industry, welfare, and prosperity of our country. The report also describes the impacts of social, behavioral, and economic sciences on the health of the nation. These impacts include a better understanding of how environmental factors interact with genetic influences to impact health, the wealth of empirically-based strategies to promote health and prevent illness, and the role of social and economic factors on health.

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Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research


Loneliness but not isolation can make people feel worse when sick

Loneliness and social isolation have been found to be risk factors for poor health outcomes, yet less is understood about the impact of these risk factors on patient reported outcomes such as illness-related pain or fatigue. This study, funded by NCCIH, NIAID, and NHLBI, sought to understand how both loneliness and social isolation separately may influence self-reported cold symptoms. More than 200 healthy adults were exposed to a common cold virus after reporting on several psychosocial measures such as self-reported experience of loneliness, depressive affect, and social isolation, measured by size and diversity of one’s social network.
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Smartphone data reveals global variation in physical activity equality

The level of physical activity inequality within a country is a better predictor of obesity prevalence than the average volume of physical activity (i.e., steps/day) according to a new study funded by NIBIB and NICHD. The largest of its kind, the study used accelerometer data from smartphones to assess the physical activity of over 700,000 individuals across 111 countries to quantify disparities in physical activity levels globally and understand the relationship of these disparities with obesity. Results indicate that higher levels of physical activity inequality are associated with higher obesity levels.
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HIV/AIDS-related behavioral and social sciences research associated with geographical proximity to the epidemic

HIV/AIDS morality rates and lower GDP per capita are associated with an increased number of behavioral and social sciences-related studies, according to a new study by grantees funded by NIGMS and OBSSR. The study conducted a review of all HIV and AIDS-related academic papers indexed in Scopus and published between 1985 and 2012. Textual analysis was used to track frequency of word appearance and co-appearance within the abstracts of the more than 200,000 articles included in the study.
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In the Know

Events and Announcements

OBSSR Welcomes New Deputy Director Dr. Christine Hunter

OBSSR is pleased to welcome Christine Hunter, Ph.D., ABPP, as its new Deputy Director. Dr. Hunter previously served as the Director of Behavioral Research at the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the NIH, and is a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service.  For more than a decade at NIDDK, Christine built a strong and vibrant behavioral science research community studying diabetes and obesity. Among her accomplishments at NIDDK, she led the revision of the NIH Obesity Research Strategic Plan, developed and led the NIDDK Centers for Diabetes Translation Research, and expanded the relevance and impact of the behavioral and social sciences at NIDDK by expanding scientific staff and leading numerous funding opportunity announcements.
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NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

SAVE THE DATE: December 8, 2017 — NIH Campus, Natcher Conference Center (Bldg. 45). The Annual NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival will be hosted by OBSSR and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee. The purpose of the festival is to highlight recently funded behavioral and social sciences research that the NIH supports; bring together behavioral and social scientists within the NIH extramural and intramural communities to network with each other and share scientific ideas; and explore ways to advance behavioral and social sciences research.

Updated Information, Tools, and Resources Regarding the Definition of a Clinical Trial

NIH is currently in the process of implementing several polices to improve its stewardship of clinical trials, an effort which was announced in September 2016. NIH’s definition of a clinical trial was revised in 2014 in anticipation of these stewardship reforms to ensure the definition was clear and responsive. Over the next several months, NIH will be providing updated information, tools, and resources to the community as guidance about the definition of a clinical trial. The aim of this guidance is to help researchers understand their responsibilities under NIH’s broader clinical trial stewardship efforts and to ensure consistency in identification and management of clinical trials across the agency.
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Discovery Documentary First in Human

First in Human is a three-part documentary capturing the real-life experiences of doctors, researchers, staff, patients and their caregivers, at the NIH Clinical Center. The documentary airs on three sequential Thursday evenings on August 10, 17, and 24, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery. For over a year, Discovery, in collaboration with John Hoffman, was embedded in the NIH Clinical Center to capture the challenges faced in diagnosing and treating diseases. Narrated by Jim Parsons the three-episode series showcases the innovative work that takes place within the NIH Clinical Center and provides an in-depth look at the reality of experimental medicine in clinical trials.
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Director's Series Webinar on Social Intelligence Intervention

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 2 pm ET, Frank Infurna, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, will present on "Does Resilience to Childhood Adversity Improve with Social Intelligence Training?" The goal of this seminar is to showcase findings from the social intelligence intervention, which is focused on improving social relationship quality and mental and physical health in adulthood and old age, with an emphasis on those who experienced childhood adversity. An overview will be provided of the research study, preliminary analyses that motivated the social intelligence intervention, and the research methods behind the study and data collection.
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Nutritional Interventions to Promote Healthy Aging Workshop 

The National Institute on Aging Office of Nutrition cordially invites you to attend a workshop on needs and opportunities for research relating to human nutritional interventions on September 5-6, 2017 at Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine (Bldg. 38A). The 2-day workshop will explore research needs relating to possible clinical trials of different nutritional interventions that have been shown, or proposed to influence, mechanistic pathways and/or biological mediators affecting aging processes. The workshop will discuss potential follow-up studies of caloric restriction trials and will further explore other types of nutritional regimens which may influence human health span.  It will also consider clinical translational research opportunities based on different types of dietary interventions demonstrated to affect health and life span in model organisms.
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NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop Report

The NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) has just released the Federal Partners Meeting Report for the Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Workshop: Total Worker Health®—What's Work Got to Do With It? This report is the culmination of a two-year effort by the NIH to evaluate the current state of knowledge on integrated approaches to worker safety, health, and well-being, and to assist in identifying future research needs.
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Registration Open for 2017 D&I Conference

Registration for the 10th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health is now open. The conference will be held December 4-6, 2017 in Arlington, VA.
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Funding Announcements

Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network Centers

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to solicit Research Center applications for the Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN). POCTRN’s purpose is to drive the development and application of appropriate point of care technologies through collaborative efforts that merge scientific and technological capabilities with clinical need. The POCTRN Research Centers will create a national research network that works to build expertise in the development of integrated systems that address unmet clinical needs in point-of-care testing and treatment through the creation of multidisciplinary partnerships. This opportunity is open to existing POCTRN grantees as well as new applicants.
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Social and Behavioral Research eLearning Course

Good Clinical Practice in Social and Behavioral Research

Complete the free NIH Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Training through the Society of Behavioral Medicine. In September 2016, the NIH issued a Policy on Good Clinical Practice Training for NIH awardees involved in NIH-funded clinical trials. The principles of GCP help assure the safety, integrity, and quality of clinical trials. Certificates will be given upon completion of the training.
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