Health

Health: Conquering Physical, Mental, and Public Challenges

Julianna Prim

Julianna Prim is a PhD student in the Human Movement Science Curriculum within the Department of Exercise and Sports Science and the Department of Allied Health Sciences' Division of Physical Therapy. She helps develop concussion-testing protocols for active duty military members and uses brain stimulation to treat individuals with chronic low-back pain.

Tuned into Neuroscience

There are a host of ways neuroscientists can study the brain. Some analyze its chemistry, others its structure. UNC researcher Flavio Frohlich examines its electrical system, what he calls the "language of the brain," and investigates how miscommunication in these signals can play a role in psychiatric illnesses.

One Size Won’t Fit All

Nearly 35 percent of Americans are considered obese — a diagnosis that has become so common the American Medical Association recognizes it as a chronic disease. While the diagnosis is the same for all, the treatments vary; what works for one person typically doesn’t work for another. In response, researchers from across UNC have joined forces to tackle this ever-growing problem.

The Known Unknowns

In 2016, a group of North Carolina researchers published evidence of high rates of PFAS in the Cape Fear River basin. While this unregulated family of chemicals is used in the production of everyday goods, its impact on human health is largely unknown. For the past year, scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, five other UNC system universities, and Duke University, have researched these potentially dangerous chemicals found in drinking water sources across the state.

Military Mindset

Before 2001, the use of prescribed psychoactive medications in U.S. Army warzones was restricted. But an increase in mental health awareness, low recruitment numbers, and longer deployments during the War on Terror — the longest-running conflict in American history — has shifted the rules and regulations for military mental health treatment. UNC medical anthropologist Jocelyn Chua speaks with active duty service members, veterans, and health care providers to learn more.

Combating Concussions

There are a thousand ways service members can receive mild traumatic brain injuries during training and active duty. Ten years ago, basic concussion testing protocols didn’t account for the intense activities required of this population. UNC researcher Karen McCulloch has worked to change that.

Karen Sheffield

Karen Sheffield is a doctoral candidate in the UNC School of Nursing. Her research focuses on developing strategies to reduce the long-term health effects of psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression on women’s health and birth outcomes.

Augmented Health Care

Henry Fuchs is always looking 20 years ahead, and two decades from now the computer scientist thinks augmented-reality eyeglasses will be the norm. Fuchs and his team of students and colleagues are developing an augmented-reality program to aid in laparoscopic surgery training and, maybe one day, revolutionize minimally invasive surgery.

Tainayah Thomas

Tainayah Thomas is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Behavior within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on improving health care delivery and disease prevention for African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnically diverse populations.

Sprains and the Brain

Most people don’t think a sprained ankle is serious, but Erik Wikstrom disagrees. The UNC exercise and sports scientist studies the mechanisms and long-term impacts of lateral ankle sprains — exploring not only how they affect local tissues, but how they change the way the brain programs movement.