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NIH-funded Research to Explore Oil Spill Health Effects

Gulf Of Mexico coastline

An NIH-funded network of researchers will evaluate potential harmful effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on reproduction and birth outcomes, the cardiorespiratory system, and behavior and mental health. The network of community and university partnerships, under the leadership of NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), will conduct research to evaluate the level of potentially harmful contaminants in air, water, and seafood, and assess their relationship to health outcomes.

The five-year, $25.2 million program will support population-based and laboratory research at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; Tulane University, New Orleans; the University of Florida, Gainesville; and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In contrast to NIEHS’ Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study, known as the GuLF Study, which is focused on the oil spill cleanup workers and volunteers, this new research will concentrate on the range of acute and long-term health effects to the general public.

As an integrated network, these four institutions will collaborate on approaches and share results to better understand the interplay and effects of multiple stressors on human health. The universities will partner with more than a dozen community organizations to incorporate local concerns and more effectively communicate research findings.

In addition to sharing data and research results, each of the four institutions will implement a community resilience project, which seeks to better understand how local populations respond to and recover from disasters. Through their partnerships with community-based organizations, researchers will assess how culture, social networks, and other determinants may enhance pre-event preparedness and post-event recovery.

For the complete press release, please see http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jul2011/niehs-07.htm

[Photo credit: http://estuaries.gov ]

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