March 15, 2012

SLU AT Professor Awarded MAATA Research Grant

SLU Receives Grant for Pilot EID Study
By: Casey Critchlow (

Saint Louis University Athletic Training faculty member Katherine Newsham, PhD, ATC was awarded a research and education grant from the Mid-America Athletic Trainer's Association (MAATA). Her proposal, titled "Evaluation of Exercise Induced Dyspnea in Athletes," will evaluate the efficacy of various diagnostic measures used for exercise induced dyspnea (EID) and vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) in athletes. This is a multi-disciplinary project, including providers from pulmonology and speech pathology, in addition to athletic training.

According to Newsham, exercise induced dyspnea (difficulty breathing) is a relatively common complaint among athletes. When this reaches the point that the athlete seeks medical care, he or she is often diagnosed with exercise induced bronchospasm. Unfortunately, as many as 40 percent of these diagnoses are inaccurate, meaning some other condition is causing the problem. The inaccurate diagnoses contribute to increased physician visits, increased medical testing and increased cost of managing the condition to say nothing of the frustration experienced by the athletic patient.

"We believe that a diagnostic testing protocol that emphasizes 'point of care' testing and minimal specialized equipment could provide the athletic health care team with objective measures to guide the development of an appropriate plan of treatment while minimizing costs and time often associated with evaluation of EID," said Newsham, who is an assistant professor in the athletic training education program.

"This grant provides us with funding to purchase test kits that evaluate exercised induced bronchospasm and we are utilizing the facilities, equipment, and expertise of the SLU faculty in various disciplines to evaluate other conditions, including vocal cord dysfunction," Newsham said.

The team working with Newsham on the grant includes Ethel Frese, DPT, PhD of the Program in Physical Therapy; Blakelee Noyes, M.D., of Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center; Dennis Fuller, Ph.D., of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; and Richard McGuire, Ph.D., also of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Newsham was notified that her proposal was selected for funding Feb. 15, and she will formally accept the grant March 16 at an awards dinner in Topeka, Kansas.

Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers 13 diverse undergraduate programs and seven post-baccalaureate degrees. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.

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