Dr. Joyce Anastasi awarded $2.5 million from NINR

Joyce K. Anastasi, PhD, RN, FAAN, LAc, Helen F. Pettit Professor of Clinical Nursing, has been awarded $2.5 million by the National Institute of Nursing Research to study acupuncture for chronic nausea in HIV patients.

Dean Mary O. Mundinger commended Dr. Anastasi for her creative and unique program of research focusing on the HIV/AIDS population and the excellence of her research designs. "Joyce has made pioneering contributions to health care by investigating non-invasive and cost-effective interventions designed to reduce symptomatology associated with HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Mundinger. Dr. Mundinger also noted Dr. Anastasi's superb record of grant funding. "This is another first for Joyce, as it's the largest grant ever awarded the School." The recent award is Dr. Anastasi's third from the NIH. In 1996, she was the first Columbia University School of Nursing faculty member to receive NIH funding.

Dr. Anastasi's study, entitled "Acupuncture for Chronic Nausea in HIV: A RCT," will test the use of acupuncture to reduce the severity of nausea among HIV-positive individuals. Nausea is a common symptom with HIV disease. Although opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS have decreased due to new drug cocktails, many of these medications have nausea as a side effect. Anti-emetics prescribed for nausea are commonly ineffective in this group, and acupuncture shows promise in serving as an adjunctive therapy with conventional medical interventions to manage chronic nausea.

In Asian countries, acupuncture has been widely used to treat various gastrointestinal (Gl) disorders. To date, only one published report used acupuncture for the management of Gl symptoms inclusive of nausea in persons with HIV/AIDS. Despite the paucity of well-designed studies on acupuncture for nausea in HIV, there is substantial information regarding the physiological effects of acupuncture on the gastrointestinal system. The information obtained from the literature, the clinical experiences of the Dr. Anastasi's research team, and her preliminary studies provide a strong foundation to conduct a rigorous controlled clinical trial of acupuncture for the management of chronic nausea in persons with HIV/AIDS.

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