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September 30, 2011

UI Awarded $5.8 Million Grant for Pediatric Migraine Study

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center (CTSDMC) in the University of Iowa College of Public Health a five-year, $5.8 million grant to help study migraine in children and adolescents between 8 and 17 years of age.

The CTSDMC will serve as the data coordinating center for the study that compares amitriptyline and topiramate, two medications often used to treat migraine in adults but which have yet to be proven effective for use in children.

"There are currently no medications approved by the FDA to prevent childhood migraine," said Christopher Coffey, Ph.D., UI professor of biostatistics and director of the CTSDMC. "The results of this study will have worldwide impact on the decisions made by pediatricians, family practitioners, neurologists and other health care professionals dealing with migraine in adolescents."

Migraine affects more than six million children and adolescents in the United States, according to the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, which will collaborate with the UI investigators and serve as the clinical coordinating center for the study. Migraine headaches are extremely painful, and can be accompanied by blurred vision or auras, nausea or vomiting, and even emotional changes such as anxiety if left untreated.

"Migraine can have such a severe impact on a child's quality of life," Coffey said. "Our hope with this study is to provide parents with a proven, effective option for treating migraine in their children, an option based upon sound scientific evidence."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bill Barker, 319-384-4277,

February 18, 2011

The Clinical Islet Transplant Consortium was recently highlighted on the College of Public Health Facebook Page:

    As Seen on TV: Recent episodes of Grey's Anatomy have featured islet transplants. The college's Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center coordinates the statistical and data management functions for multi-center, multi-national studies of islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes. Kudos to the show's writers for bringing mainstream attention to this cutting-edge procedure.

October 6, 2010

University of Iowa investigators in the College of Public Health have been selected to provide core statistical analysis for the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a landmark clinical study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The five-year observational study, being carried out at 18 sites in the United States and Europe, will seek to identify biomarkers of Parkinson's disease progression. A biomarker may be any objectively measurable physical characteristic associated with the presence of disease or any characteristic that changes over time in a way that can be tied to the progression of disease.

Finding a biomarker is critical to the development of next-generation therapies for Parkinson's disease, according to Chris Coffey, UI professor of biostatistics and director of the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center based in the UI College of Public Health.

"PPMI holds potential not only to accelerate the development of breakthrough Parkinson's treatments for the future, but also to improve diagnosis and treatment of today's generation of Parkinson's patients," Coffey said. "Nothing like this has been undertaken in the study of Parkinson's disease to date. It is an honor to have been selected as the statistics core for this groundbreaking international study."

The PPMI study will use a combination of advanced imaging, biologics sampling and behavioral assessments as it tracks 400 people newly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and 200 who do not have the disease. Data collected from study subjects will be housed in a central database.

The UI research team, working with the PPMI Steering Committee, will conduct a series of data analyses, such as comparisons among healthy subjects and Parkinson's subjects and examinations of short-term and long-term changes in progression endpoints. These analyses could suggest biomarkers for future studies of interventions in Parkinson's patient populations.

Said Michael J. Fox: "This is an ambitious undertaking, no doubt. But nothing worth having comes easily. Everything we've learned up to now, the partnerships we've worked to forge, the results of research we've funded? it's all put us in position to launch this effort. We're ready to roll up our sleeves and, hopefully, get this done."

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: This news release includes information provided by the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). More information about MJFF and the PPMI is available at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Hannah Fletcher, 319-384-4277, Writer: Dan McMillan

August 1, 2010

The staff of the CTSDMC welcome our new director, Christopher Coffey. The Center was established in 1989 under the directorship of R. Skip Woolson, PhD. Dr. Woolson was joined by William Clarke, PhD to lead the Center as it grew and new grants were obtained. Dr. Clarke became the director of the Center in 1999 through 2010. Over the past year, the directorship of the Center was transitioned to Dr. Coffey. Dr. Clarke remains at the Center to continue to direct several of the ongoing projects. Dr. Coffey comes to the Center from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he was on faculty in the Department of Biostatistics and the PI of the Statistical Coordinating Center for the Secondary Prevention of Subcortical Strokes (SPS3) project. Dr. Coffey and his family have settled in to living in a northern climate and are actually enjoying the winters!

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