research in focus

For People with Cancer Who Want to Return to Work, Turn to Your Health Care Team for Key Information and Support

With advances in cancer treatment, more and more people with cancer diagnoses are returning to work after treatment or continuing to work while being treated for their cancer. The effects of cancer such as fatigue, pain, depression, and cognitive difficulties can have an impact on work life. Cancer survivors may find they need information and resources regarding legal protections to prevent job loss, managing their employers’ expectations when they return to work, and benefits and services available to support them in the workplace.

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Changes in Policy May Mean Better Access to Interventions for Children with ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. Children with ASD may receive a variety of services in school and through their health care providers to meet their developmental needs, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, and behavioral and mental health services such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, many children with ASD may not have had access to these services due to insurance coverage, requiring families to pay for services themselves.

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How do you motivate smokers with serious mental illness to commit to quitting?

The health impacts of smoking cigarettes are well known and, while the number of smokers in the US has generally declined, rates of smoking among people with mental illness remain higher than those among people without mental illness. People with severe mental illness (SMI) are even more likely to be smokers. Research has shown that combining medication with support programs can help people with SMI who want to quit smoking. Brief motivational interventions can help these smokers get started on the path to quitting, but can these programs make a difference in quitting long term?

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What Do People with SCI Need to Know Before They Return to Work?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots within the spinal canal resulting in temporary or permanent loss of movement and/or feeling. Learning to manage health after SCI can be a long and complicated process that is dependent on numerous personal and environmental factors, and it is an important part of the overall recovery process. Employment has been shown to be a key part of recovery and strongly related to health, life-satisfaction, and longevity, but the effects of SCI can present barriers to finding and keeping a job.

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For People with ALS, Social Media Can Be a Key Communication Tool to Maintain Relationships and Expand Networks

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disorder that interferes with how the brain and spine transmit signals to muscles and causes loss of motor function including mobility and speech. People with ALS (pALS) may experience such significant speech impairments that they cannot rely on their natural speech to meet their communication needs in face-to-face interactions.

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SCI Advocates and SCI Practitioners Share Their Strategies for Successfully Navigating the Complex Healthcare System

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots within the spinal canal and resulting in temporary or permanent loss of movement and/or feeling. Individuals with SCI often experience complex health issues making them high users of primary care. At the same time, they face many barriers to receiving quality healthcare such as inaccessible medical offices or equipment, problems with transportation, lack of SCI knowledge among primary healthcare providers, issues with insurance and benefits, and difficulties coordinating services among multiple providers.

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What Can the Fields of Aging and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Learn from Each Other to Support Family Caregivers?

More than 65 million people in the US serve as caregivers to family members who have a disability or are seniors in need of assistance, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, and the number of caregivers is expected to grow in the coming years. These caregivers include families of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), many of whom are also experiencing age-related disabilities. For adults with IDD, families are the single largest provider of care with more than half of adults with IDD living at home with family.

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The Right Supports Can Improve Opportunities for Job Seekers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. ASD can affect how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns. For example: A person with ASD may express ideas and emotions differently, may exhibit repetitive behaviors, or may have difficulty adapting to new or changing situations.

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A New Program Shows Promise in Helping People with Serious Mental Illness Fight Obesity and Embrace Wellness

Obesity is a major public health concern and studies have shown that people with serious mental illness (SMI) may be at higher risk of being overweight or obese than people without SMI. Being overweight or obese can put people at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Wellness programs that promote healthy eating and exercise can help reduce these risks for people with SMI.

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For Young African American Men with Substance Use Disorders, VR May Be a Promising Path to Employment

The unemployment rate for young African American men was as high as 33 percent in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The problem of unemployment is even more profound for young African American men with substance use disorders who face additional stressors that may worsen symptoms of substance abuse and interfere with opportunities for employment.

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