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Research

New Study Investigates Underuse of Generic Drugs

FDA taps PAMF Research Institute & Johns Hopkins Medicine study team

Generic drugs can save millions in health care costs, while providing the same quality, safety and efficacy as brand medications. Yet many doctors still prescribe brand-name treatments for their patients. Why?

To find out, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tapped a team at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and Johns Hopkins Medicine for a two-year study that will analyze factors that contribute to the underuse of generic drugs. Read More

PAMF Researchers Study Healthiness of U.S. Chain Restaurants

GrellinNew Website Points Consumers to Healthiest Places to Eat Out

In a recent study, researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) ranked the healthiness of 150 national chain restaurants in the United States. The 2013 study was lead by Primary Investigator Lenny Lesser, M.D., MSHS, a family medicine physician at PAMFRI, and funded in part by The California Endowment. Dr. Lesser presented the team’s research – and the launch of a new interactive rating system and website for consumers that shares information on which chain restaurants are healthier than others – on November 19, 2014 at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

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PAMF Research Institute Seeks Older Adults to Participate in Study

 PCORI-funded study aims to create user-friendly online tool for people to select Rx drug plans

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) has launched a new research study to create a more user-friendly online tool to help older adults select Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. PAMFRI is looking for older adults to participate in the study and share their experiences in a focus group. The research project is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D., MPH, PAMF Research Institute

Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, PAMF Research Institute

“Currently, Medicare beneficiaries often have to choose among more than 30 different Medicare Part D plans,” said Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D., MPH, PAMFRI senior scientist. “This is a difficult and confusing task. Through this study we hope to create a more effective tool that is easier to use and will help individuals select their prescription drug plans. In order to build a better tool, we want to understand what it’s like for older adults to select a Medicare Part D plan.

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PAMF Research Awarded $1.7M Grant by National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has awarded the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) a $1.7M three-year grant (R01HL119845) to study a new way to measure the effects of a disease and its treatment on patients’ lives. The study will focus on asthma to test the new approach.

Sandra R. Wilson, Ph. D.

Sandra R. Wilson, Ph. D.

Many tools already exist to help physicians and scientists measure patients’ symptoms, physical limitations and emotional well-being. However, “These measures alone don’t tell physicians caring for patients or scientists developing new medical treatments how the patient feels their quality of life is being affected, says Sandra Wilson, Ph.D., PAMFRI senior scientist and the study’s principal investigator. “Getting that information requires a new type of measure.”

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NIH Awards $3M Grant to PAMF Research Institute

Study on Benefits of Strength Training Regimen for Normal Weight Diabetics 

Researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) have been awarded a $3M grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to study the benefits of strength training for people with type 2 diabetes who are at normal weight.

With type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin properly to control blood sugar levels. Regular physical activity has been shown to help control blood sugar levels, and current guidelines emphasize aerobic exercise and weight loss for overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, up to one in five people with type 2 diabetes are at normal weight, with a body mass index (BMI) under 25. They may not need to lose weight. For these individuals, best exercise regimen is not yet known. There is evidence that strength training, which improves muscle mass while decreasing body fat, may be more beneficial for normal weight diabetics than other types of exercise. Read More

PAMF Researcher Reviews Impact of Employee Wellness Programs

Seventy-four percent of employers who offer health insurance also offer an employee wellness program. Options such as smoking cessation groups and walking programs encourage employees to set and achieve health goals in exchange for discounted health insurance premiums. In January 2014, the government allowed employers to increase the incentive discount, from 20 percent to 30 percent of the total health insurance premium cost.

But do employee wellness programs actually work? The Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) recently published a commentary in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on this question.

Lenny Lesser, M.D.

Lenny Lesser, M.D., MSHS

According to Lenard Lesser, M.D., MSHS, PAMFRI Assistant Research Physician, while monetary incentives may help employees start to make changes, sustaining those changes in the long term is far more challenging.

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