A failing heart’s effect on the short-term memory. The impact of telephone interventions on behaviors in Latinos, Depression and heart disease, and risk factors contributing to premature coronary atherosclerosis in premenopausal women.

These are just a few of the research findings that will be presented by faculty members of the UCLA School of Nursing at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions from Nov. 12 – 16 in Orlando, Florida. Mary Woo, RN, DNSc, FAAN, will present “Heart Failure is Accompanied by Loss of Brain Axons Between Short-Term Memory Areas.”

Heart failure patients have a fourfold risk of short-term memory impairment, which is linked to decreased survival and quality of life. Woo’s research studied the integrity of fornix fibers in heart failure and healthy subjects.

Fornix fibers connect the hippocampus and mammillary bodies and are important for maintaining memory function. Results of this study showed evidence of fornix fiber volume loss in heart failure subjects. Woo discusses her research here.

“Premature Atherosclerosis in Premenopausal Women: Does Cytokine Balance Play a Role?” Jo-Ann Eastwood, RN, Ph.D., CCNS, CCRN, will discuss research that suggests that premenopausal women with coronary artery disease have altered cytokine balance compared to premenopausal women without CAD. Cytokines are key in regulating the immune system.

Eastwood’s presentation is part of the “Go Red for Women Day,” a national health initiative by the American Heart Association to raise awareness of heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women.

Tuesday, November 15: “Benefits of Nurse-Guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression after Cardiac Surgery.”

Fifteen to 40 percent of patients undergoing cardiac surgery suffer from depression, but studies of treatment for depression have been limited. The studies of Lynn V. Doering, DNSc, found that nurses can have a critical impact on the successful recovery of cardiac patients in the home when cognitive behavioral therapy is utilized. In a session on intervention research, Aurelia Macabasco-O’Connell, RN, Ph.D., ACNP, will discuss “The Effect of Teach to Goal: Telephone Education and Counseling vs. Brief Education Intervention on Self-Care Behaviors and Heart Failure Symptoms in Low-Literacy Latinos.”

Heart failure has substantial morbidity and mortality in Spanish-speaking Latinos, in part due to literacy, language and cultural influences. Cardiac patients who received telephone counseling to encourage self-care behaviors were found to improve their health outcomes. In addition to these presentations, four papers co-authored by UCLA School of Nursing faculty will also be presented:

  • “Depression Screening by Nurses in Hospitalized Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients” and “Depressed or Not Depressed: Untangling the Somatic Symptom Conundrum in Hospitalized CHD Patients,” co-authored by Eastwood, Macabasco-O’Connell and Doering.
  • “Early Neurodevelopmental Outcome in Hypoplastic Left-Heart Syndrome and Related Anomalies: The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial” and “Risk Factors for Mortality in the Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial: Beyond Shunt Type,” co-authored by Nancy Pike, RN, Ph.D., FNP-C, CPNP-AC and assistant professor at the school.