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Allegrante Joins Clinical Trials for Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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John Allegrante

John Allegrante

John Allegrante, Professor of Health Education, will participate in a consortium from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to support three clinical trials on new ways to help patients with cardiopulmonary disease make beneficial changes in their behavior.

The consortium will evaluate over 1,000 patients to assess a strategy of promoting positive mood, with a goal of changing their behavior and improving their outcomes after angioplasty or when being treated for asthma or hypertension. The trials will pay special attention to the African-American and Latino populations, and scientists from those groups will be included in the investigation team.

The hypothesis is that positive mood may help patients with cardiopulmonary disease make beneficial changes in their behavior such as stopping smoking, exercising more, taking their medications, or changing their diets.

A multi-disciplinary consortium will carry out the study, combining the talents from several institutions. Along with Allegrante, members of the study include Mary Charlson, Executive Director of the Weill Cornell Medical Colleges Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CCIM); Alice Isen, the S. C. Johnson Professor in the Johnson School of Management, and a Professor of Psychology in the Arts College, of Cornell University (Ithaca); Laura Robbins, an Associate Scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Assistant Professor of Psychosocial Science at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences; and four scientists in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College-Godwin Ogedegbe, James Hollenberg, Carla Boutin-Foster, and Carol Mancuso.

Three randomized clinical trials over a five-year period comprise the study, enrolling nearly 1,200 patients. Participants will first be evaluated in one-on-one interviews, and this information will be used to guide and tailor the interventions. The three trials focus on: (1) Promoting multiple health behaviors in angioplasty patients; (2) Improving exercise and physical-activity behavior in asthma patients; and (3) Increasing medication adherence in hypertensive African-American patients.

In asthma, the investigators observe, "Up to 60 percent of patients avoid needed exercise because they are concerned it will exacerbate their respiratory symptoms. This study will evaluate whether a novel intervention of positive mood will increase physical activity in Caucasian, African-American, and Latino patients with asthma."

With hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a pronounced problem in the African-American population, more than half of hypertensive patients have poor adherence to prescribed medications. Again, the study will examine if positive mood can help these patients stick to their medications.

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