We interviewed Jason Bosley-Smith, winner of the President’s Award at this year’s Research Day for his research poster on using mindfulness-based stress reduction to alleviate emesis, nausea, and food aversion among cancer treatment patients.
1. Can you share some details about your research project and what sparked your interest exploring mindfulness-based stress reduction as a strategy for improving food tolerance and reducing nausea among cancer patients?
The concept for my research design proposal stemmed from recent experiences and coursework in which we investigated the various physiological and psychological effects of mindfulness on various health outcomes. As MBSR is the most clinically studied and standardized form of mindfulness intervention, I decided it would be an ideal modality to examine. From a nutrition perspective, I wanted to explore the potential for a mindfulness intervention to assist a special population. Since MBSR has shown efficacy in subjects (including cancer patients) around anxiety, quality of life and stress response, I examined the potential for MBSR to improve a specific complication with cancer patients during treatment – namely chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
2. How would you explain the broader significance of your research?
The primary implication of CINV is that it may results in dose delay or dose reduction for patients. Reducing the dose of medication or delaying the next treatment has been shown to result in greater relapse and increased mortality rates among cancer patients. Evaluating the potential efficacy of MBSR to help reduce CINV may provide a significant benefit to outcomes in cancer patients – not only greater survival rates but also by allowing patients feel better and have better tolerance and appetite so they can take in some healthy nutrition to support their bodies during treatment.
3. More generally, as a student in the nutrition program, what are some of your other areas of interest in the field?
One of my current main areas of interest involves Nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is a branch of nutritional genomics and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. In my opinion, as the technology around genetic assessment continues to advance in clinical application, the field of nutrition will undergo a dramatic shift towards personalizing nutritional programming and dietary interventions.
4. Do you have any plans on incorporating MBSR techniques in your work as a clinician after leaving MUIH?
Definitely. I plan on educating clients on its basic principles and am looking to partner with a credentialed MBSR practitioner for referrals and networking. Ideally, my intention is to conduct a case report in collaboration with an MBSR expert with a cancer patient undergoing their primary round of chemotherapy utilizing my research design and examining anxiety/stress response as a primary outcome and reduction of CINV as a secondary outcome.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to add about your research project?
I would encourage students to rely on existing scientific literature and build upon that evidence when pursuing a research design; examine what has been proven to be efficacious and develop a hypothesis based upon this evidence in tandem with an area of health about which they are passionate. Additionally, I would encourage individuals interested in pursuing research to focus on patient-centered outcomes – interventions or research areas that are meaningful to the function and quality of patients’ every day lives.
See the interesting abstracts of all faculty and student Research Day submissions.