Central Michigan University College of Medicine student Leslie Markun was awarded the $1,000 first prize in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation’s 2015 Excellence in Research Award for Students.
Nasir Hussain of Toronto, also a CMU College of Medicine student, took third place and was awarded $500 in the program, which honored three student research projects.
Doctoral candidates or medical students enrolled in Michigan universities could be nominated. The foundation aims to recognize student-level research in health policy or clinical care.
Markun’s article, “Shorter Disease Duration Correlates with Improved Long-Term Deep Brain Stimulation Outcomes in Young-Onset DYT1 Dystonia,” was published in Neurosurgery in 2012. Markun, from Mill Valley, Calif., worked with an interdisciplinary team from the University of California San Francisco led by senior author and neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem.
Dystonia, the third-most common movement disorder and one that affects more than 500,000 adults and children in North America, involves muscular contractions, twisting movements and abnormal postures. The team examined primary torsion dystonia, which often begins in childhood and can progress over time, according to the study.
“Our team found children with a shorter duration of dystonia symptoms improved most significantly with deep brain stimulation,” Markun said. “Our findings highlight the sustained benefit from DBS and the importance of early diagnosis and referral for DBS in children with DYT1 dystonia.”
Hussain’s project, “A Comparison of the Types of Screening Tool Administration Methods Used for the Detection of Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was the result of a six-person team led by Dr. Mohit Bhandari at McMaster University in Canada. The analysis found adult women were more likely to disclose “intimate partner violence” when using computer-assisted self-administered screening when compared to face-to-face interviews or a self-administered written screening. The analysis, which could provide insight into strategies for improving screening rates, was published in Trauma, Violence and Abuse in 2013.
The second-place award went to Adam Horwitz from the University of Michigan.