News Archive


Author: Penny Nigh

Published Date:June 26, 2014

University of Illinois Speech and Hearing Science Professor Fatima Husain

Patients with persistent ringing in the ears – a condition known as tinnitus – process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report in the journal Brain Research.


Published Date: June 26, 2014

Center of Health, Aging, and Disability Pilot Grant used to Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices among African American Women

Author: Nathaniel Leonardi

Published Date:May 13, 2014

In an age of increasing health risks, it is important to promote healthy lifestyle choices that will expand life expectancy and quality of life.  In order to implement those healthy lifestyle choices in African-American women during their college years, Jacqueline McDowell and Kim Shinew, through the use of a Center of Health, Aging and Disability (CHAD) Pilot Grant, alongside other fitness and nutritional experts on campus, developed a program entitled Sport Intervention with Support, Training, Education, Realization and Socializing (SISTERS).  The purpose of this program is to increase physical activity levels through recreational sport andexercise and increase their knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices through weekly educational meetings.

Through the use of these educational meetings, the individuals in the program have been given the tools necessary to make informed decisions when shopping for groceries, such as implementing more fruits and vegetables into their diet as well as how to cook healthier versions of the foods they already eat.  The group utilized a cardio tennis program in order to implement aerobic exercise, due to various running activities, and muscle toning to raise heart rate and burn more calories.  The group recently participated in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon on April 25th.  Although the program has concluded, individuals in the group still exercise regularly. 

It is important to target young adults who are enteringcollege due to the increase in sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits that they frequently engage in..  The SISTERS program focused on African-American women because of the greater risk for developing obesity and other related diseases.  In order to continue to receive the benefits of healthy and active lifestyles, the activities must be enjoyable, easily accessible, and create social opportunities. 

Individuals in the program were freshman, sophomores, or juniors in order to track the impact that this program has on an individual’s lifestyle choices and fitness levels.  According to the preliminary analysis, all of the women that were enrolled in the study improved their cardiovascular fitness, increased their overall physical fitness, and furthered their ability to choose better nutritional options.  This study is just one of the studies on campus that have received CHAD pilot grant funding.  

For the Full Inside Illinois Article, please visit:

Published Date: May 13, 2014

Half of Adults with Disabilities get no Aerobic Physical Activity

Author: Alex Cukan

Published Date:May 13, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 82 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-64 with disabilities were more likely to be physically active if it was recommended by their doctor. CDC

ATLANTA, May 6 (UPI) -- Nearly half of U.S. adults with disabilities who are able to do aerobic physical activity do not, increasing their risks of heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

A Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 82 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-64 with disabilities were more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it, but only about 44 who saw a doctor in the past year were advised to increase physical activity.Adults with disabilities who do not get any aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely than their more active peers to have chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, or heart disease.“Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement.“Unfortunately, many adults with disabilities don’t get regular physical activity. That can change if doctors and other healthcare providers take a more active role helping their patients with disabilities develop a physical fitness plan that’s right for them.”

The CDC analyzed data from the 2009 to 2012 National Health Interview Survey involving physical activity levels.The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends all adults, including those with disabilities, get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic physical activity each week, Frieden said.

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Published Date: May 13, 2014

Most Infant Death Rates will not reach goals for Healthy People 2020

Author: Nathaniel Leonardi

Published Date:April 9, 2014


The issue of health disparities is a large one in the healthcare industry.  Each decade, the nation sets goals that they plan to reach in regards to the overall health of the nation, titled Healthy People, and specifically for this decade, Healthy People 2020.  When concerning the infant mortality rate, only one demographic group is on target to decrease the infant mortality rate to below the goal rate and that group is white mothers with higher education levels.


Illinois faculty Flavia Andrade and her recent doctoral graduate Shondra Loggins have been looking at the infant mortality rates between different demographic groups and applying them to create better strategies and resources for individuals in demographic groups that will not reach the goals stated in Healthy People 2020. The duo also found that the infant mortality rates for white women are around half the infant mortality rate of black women (5.5 per 1000 vs 12 per 1000). The researchers focused on three plausible risk factors, marital status, maternal education, and prenatal care.  However, these risk factors only partially explained the disparities present in society.  Both marital status and higher education levels lowered the infant mortality rate for all races; however the disparities were still present. 


Although disparities are still very largely present in society, both Andrade and Loggins predict that the nation’s infant mortality rate will drop to around 5.5 deaths per 1000 in 2020, below the Healthy People 2020 goal.  In order to resolve disparities, prenatal care is a necessity, shown by the infant mortality rate of around four times greater for those who do not receive prenatal care as compared to those who do.  The affordable care act, through Medicaid, will allow more individuals to receive prenatal care.  Another cost effective technique is increased contraceptive availability to lower unplanned pregnancies and potentially infant deaths.  Increasing education and lowering the number of those who smoke are two important topics for campaigns targeting lowering the rate of infant mortality. 


The full article can be found on the Inside Illinois website at

Published Date: April 9, 2014

SHS Professor Maps Brain Areas Vital To Language Comprehension

Author: Nathaniel Leonardi

Published Date:December 18, 2013


Recently, Dr. Aron Barbey, Professor of Speech and Hearing Science, as well as the director of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at the Beckman Institute, carried on his research on mapping the brain regions associated with certain aspects of brain functioning. In his latest published article, his team found the regions of the brain associated with language comprehension.   His latest journal article continues with his prior research topics which also dealt with mapping regions of the brain dealing with other various aspects of cognitive function. 


The research followed a similar research design to the emotional intelligence mapping research, by using a large group of male Vietnam War veterans who sustained head injuries during combat.  Researching these individuals allowed researchers to allow for specific structures that are critically important to comprehension of various cognitive functions.  Through a CT scan of the cerebral cortex, Dr. Barbey and his team were able to find that regions in the frontal and parietal cortex are required for comprehension of language.   With these results, individuals can understand the impressive cognitive and neural systems of the brain, and professionals could develop new techniques for clinical interventions to better facilitate patients with cognitive communication disorders. 


For Dr. Barbey’s full article, please visit the publications page of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at

For the Inside Illinois Article, Please visit


Published Date: December 18, 2013