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UOHS 2023 Elevator Pitch Winners

$200 PRIZE

Sabrina Dubien Bertrand
UOHS 2023 - 1st Place Elevator Pitch Winner 

Psychedelic therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder

Introduction: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represents a serious disability due to its chronicity and resistance to pharmacological treatments. An advantage of using 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) as an adjunct to psychotherapy is that beneficial effects can appear after as little as twosessions. Since sexual assault is a leading cause of PTSD diagnoses, my study focuses on women only. I hypothesized that subjects undergoing an MDMA-assisted compound psychotherapy intervention will demonstrate greater change in their PTSD scores compared to subjects in the control group.

Methods: This study requires the use of an experimental design with a control group to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. The sample would consist of 50 women diagnosed with PTSD for over a year, randomized into two experimental groups and one placebo group. Participants will undergo two sessions of the intervention, with a six-week interval in-between each session. The intervention’s effects will be measured with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5).

Results: The expected effect is a reduction in symptoms for both experimental groups after two sessions. To affirm the intervention’s effectiveness, the CAPS-5 score will have to demonstrate a decrease of at least 30 points.

Conclusion: If shown to be effective, many of the participants will no longer meet the criteria for PTSD

Marwan Bakr
UOHS 2023 - 2nd Place Elevator Pitch Winner 

Inhibition of T cell proliferation by mesenchymal stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells

Introduction: Stem cell-based therapies show immense promise as a viable treatment for age-related macular degeneration and have elicited positive results in animal models of retinal degeneration. Amniotic-fluid mesenchymal stem cells (AF-MSC) have been shown to be a promising candidate for retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell replacement. This study aims to establish the capability of AF-MSC-RPE cells to inhibit T cell proliferation.

Methods: PBMC cells will be cultured alone, and with AF-MSC-RPE cells and the effect on T cell proliferation will be analyzed by means of fluorescent dye dilution and flow cytometric assays. Controlled variables will include blood and stem cell donors, culture medium, incubation periods, external antibodies, and stem cell concentration.

Conclusion: Successful results would establish a base for further research with respect to other immunological properties of AF-MSC-RPE cells, including induction of T cell apoptosis, expression of human leukocyte antigen molecules, etc. This study, in tandem with further studies, will potentially address the need for or extent of immunosuppression therapy following clinical allotransplantation of AF-MSC-RPE cells. Unsuccessful results will nonetheless contribute to scientific knowledge in the field and will allow further research in the field to be directed toward potentially preferable stem cell therapies for AMD.

$150 PRIZE

$100 PRIZE

Hamed Tavakoli Dastjerdi
UOHS 2023 - 3rd Place Elevator Pitch Winner 

Impact of telemedicine intervention on blood pressure, patient satisfaction, and adherence to treatment for hypertensive patients

Introduction: Hypertension is a prevalent risk factor worldwide. Telemedicine is an approach to managing chronic diseases, particularly for patients in remote areas. This study evaluated the impact of a telemedicine intervention on hypertension management.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted on 50 hypertensive patients. The telemedicine group received weekly virtual consultations, while the standard care group received in-person consultations. Primary outcomes were mean systolic blood pressure, patient satisfaction, and adherence to treatment over a period of 12 weeks.

Results: The telemedicine group showed a lower mean systolic blood pressure (131 mmHg) than the standard care group (135 mmHg; p<0.05). The satisfaction rate was higher in the telemedicine group (4.5) than in the standard care group(4.0; p<0.05). Adherence to treatment was comparable between the two groups (78% vs. 80%).

Conclusion: The telemedicine intervention resulted in a lower mean systolic blood pressure and higher satisfaction rate compared to standard care for hypertension management over 12 weeks. Findings support the use of telemedicine for managing hypertension, particularly for patients in remote areas. However, this study has some limitations, such as a small sample size and short duration. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of telemedicine for hypertension management.

To learn more about the top 5 abstracts from the 2023 Pitch-O-Rama and view videos of the presentations 

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