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East Carolina University Scientists Make Amazing Discoveries

East Carolina University continues to move forward on its research initiatives.

By Jason Zasky on August 8, 2014

Decades ago, scientists at the East Carolina University Diabetes and Obesity Institute discovered that Type 2 diabetes, previously thought to be incurable, can be reversed within several weeks to months after a patient undergoes bariatric surgery. That discovery, along with many others, continues to boost East Carolina University’s status as a major research university.

East Carolina University’s commitment to serve as a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation is evidenced by new discoveries that will benefit eastern North Carolina and beyond. Reversal of Type II diabetes following bariatric surgery is one example of the positive effect of research and innovation conducted at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine.

Another example of translational research is a product called SpeechEasy. Licensed and produced by a local company, SpeechEasy is worn by people who stutter and has been found to improve speech fluency by as much as 80 to 90 percent, says Marti Van Scott Director of the ECU Office of Technology Transfer. Research supported by the Michael J. Fox Foundation has shown that this platform technology also improves fluency of patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Another ECU research project involves studying post-traumatic stress disorders in military personnel, with the university developing new tools for soldiers to moderate their body rhythms, breathing and nervous system.

“We are working with video game companies to develop games for soldiers to practice their slow breathing at times of stress,” Van Scott says. “Practicing their calming skills is vital when they feel a stress attack coming on, and ECU is also working on those video games for soldiers to utilize even prior to being deployed into active duty.”

The university has also initiated a program called MATCH – Motivating Adolescents with Technology to Choose Health – that teaches wellness-themed lessons across the entire technology-based academic curriculum to middle school students.

“We’re finding that many students are taking these lessons home to teach family members how to live healthier lives,” Van Scott says. “ECU is rooted in our region and will continue to conduct research in a variety of life science areas.”

Read more about Eastern North Carolina’s schools.


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