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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

Bollywood Dance Benefits to be Assessed in Pilot Research Program

Researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) are exploring a new and creative way to manage Type 2 diabetes in South Asian immigrants. For the first time, Bollywood dance – a high-energy, cinematic dance style native to India –will be studied for its effectiveness in managing diabetes. 

In comparison to all other racial and ethnic groups, South Asians in the United States have one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes. For this group, encouraging lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise and making healthier eating choices, are an essential part of diabetes care.   


Amlu Natesan, a UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program student, has partnered with PAMFRI’s Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S. and her research team and the India Community Center (ICC) to address this issue. The Culturally Relevant Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes (CURE-D) study is piloting an innovative Bollywood exercise program in an effort to motivate and engage South Asian women in exercise.  

Read More

RENEW Clinical Trial – Evaluating a Treatment for Patients with Emphysema

More than three million Americans suffer from severe emphysema, a form of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This chronic, debilitating disease causes irreversible damage to delicate lung tissue, leading to shortness of breath and reduced capacity to manage activities of daily living, leading to diminished quality of life.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is collaborating with El Camino Hospital and Fogarty Clinical Research Inc. to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate the investigational use of the RePneu® (pronounced ‘RENEW’) Lung Volume Reduction Coil (LVRC) for patients experiencing symptoms of emphysema. Read More