Session D: 3:30PM – 5PM

Health and Medicine. Session D – Oral Presentations, Saltair, Union

SESSION D (3:30-5PM)
Location: Saltair,  A. Ray Olpin University Union



Effects of Tea Tree Essential Oil on Escherichia Coli & Staphylococcus Aureus
Jed Whetten, Utah Valley University
Taylor Eakins, Utah Valley University

Faculty Mentor Olga Kopp, Utah Valley University

SESSION D 3:30-3:45PM
Saltair, Union
Health and Medicine

Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaves have been used throughout many cultures around the world to help heal wounds and injuries because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Some essential oil companies claim that tea tree essential oil contains purifying capabilities for air and contaminated surfaces. Essential oils are synthesized by many methods, the most popular being steam distillation. The essential oils, once purified, are sold to customers so they can use the oil to benefit from the plant’s physiology and metabolic processes. In attempts to inform the scientific community about the antibacterial properties of the essential oil, we tested whether tea tree oil possesses the ability to fight common infections to any significant degree. We grew Escherichia coli & Staphylococcus aureus and measured the zones of inhibition in response to different concentrations of the essential oil. We also tested two different brands of tea tree oil, dōTERRA and Lagunamoon. We found that dōTERRA tea tree oil exhibited antibacterial properties while the Lagunamoon oil did not.




Preventing Eating Disorders by Promoting Healthy Weight Management and Health
Youssef Harraq, Utah Tech University

Faculty Mentor Dannelle Larsen-Rife, Utah Tech University

SESSION D 3:50-4:05PM
Saltair, Union
Health and Medicine

Among rising rates of obesity, healthy weight loss is a common and elusive goal. A prevailing  misconception is that the most effective method to lose weight is to eat as little as possible. However, research does not support this idea. Extreme dieting may result in disordered eating with severe consequences. Eating disorders disproportionately affect adolescent girls and young women, as they are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa than men with an average age of onset around fifteen (Morris, 2007). Anorexia nervosa is when individuals severely reduce calorie intake to lose weight and maintain low body fat due to a distorted body image (Morris, 2007), which often results in starvation. Starvation occurs when calories are severely restricted to fewer than required to maintain health over a period of time (Stratton et al., 2010). Diets involving severe calorie restriction often result in poor health (Stratton et al., 2010) and slowed weight loss long-term (Dullo, 2021). Severe lack of nutrients in starvation conditions negatively affects skin, hair and nail growth, hunger regulation, and immune functions (Eva, 2021), which may lead to death. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate among all mental health disorders (Morris, 2007). To preserve the remaining nutrients available and survive, the body prevents further weight loss by slowing the metabolism resulting in decreased overall energy. Intermittent fasting may be confused  with starvation. Intermittent fasting is a healthier method of weight loss that alternates between specific periods of eating and fasting while meeting nutritional and caloric needs (Eshghinia, 2013). Intermittent fasting reduces body mass index and glucose metabolism (Cho, 2019.) Thus, intermittent fasting is beneficial for health (Su, 2021).  The goal of this paper is to summarize the literature on the use of starvation diets by people who are anorexic, and promote a comprehensive intervention approach for healthy and effective sustained weight management. The comprehensive approach will include intermittent fasting, body positivity, exercise, and the mind-body connection as effective for promoting health and well-being.



Vascular function of the components of a murine arteriovenous fistula model
Nathan Hill, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor J. David  Symons, University of Utah

SESSION D 4:10-4:25PM
Saltair, Union
Health and Medicine

When the kidneys can no longer remove waste, salt, and water appropriately, hemodialysis is required to complete this life-sustaining task. A reliable vascular access is necessary for successful hemodialysis treatment. The most reliable form of access is an arteriovenous fistula (AFV), but 60% of AVFs fail to mature for use. Mechanisms responsible for AVF failure include intimal hyperplasia and poor lumen expansion. Compromised vasoreactivity might play a role but this has never been evaluated. In our murine AVF model, the external jugular vein (EJV) is connected to the carotid artery (CA), establishing 3 component parts to the AVF, i.e., proximal CA, EJV, and distal CA. Upon AVF creation, the EJV is acutely exposed to higher arterial pressures and disturbed flow patterns, known causes of endothelial cell dysfunction. First we tested the hypothesis that endothelial function is impaired in the EJV from the AVF (i.e., EJV-AVF) vs. the naïve (EJV-Con) mouse. Three days after creating the AVF, using isometric tension procedures, dose-dependent vasocontraction to the TxA2 receptor agonist U46619 was robust in the EJV-Con (p<0.05) but was absent in the EJV-AVF segment. Because vasocontraction is requisite to subsequently test endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation, our hypothesis could not be evaluated. Our second hypothesis was that endothelial function is impaired in the distal vs. proximal CA, secondary to disturbed flow patterns. U46619 -evoked vasocontraction was greater (p<0.05) in the proximal vs. distal CA segment of the AVF. Acetylcholine-evoked vasorelaxation was greater (p<0.05) in distal vs. proximal CA, whereas responses to sodium nitroprusside were similar between groups. These findings do not support our hypothesis and suggest that endothelial function is better in the distal vs. proximal CA. Studies
are ongoing to : (i) substantiate these findings 21 days after AVF creation; and (ii) define
compensatory mechanisms of vasorelaxation in the distal CA.
Supported by R01HL153244 NIH/NIDDK (TL, YTS, JDS).


Safe Zone Training for Professional Health Students
Brekke Pattison, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Claudia Geist, University of Utah

SESSION D 4:30-4:45PM
Saltair, Union
Health and Medicine

The inclusion of LGBTQIA+ lessons and educational material in professional health schools is a relatively new addition to the material taught to these students, this leads to fewer publications on how effective the material is taught to these students. The purpose of this study is to determine how to best provide education on patient care of LGBTQIA+ and gender diverse patients to help minimize the biases and barriers that these groups face while obtaining medical care. Working alongside medical students and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, a series of workshops designed to help work through different aspects of identity, diversity and intersectionality. These workshops contain an opening meditation and two activities designed to help provide an understanding of differences in identity, privilege, and diversity. One example of an activity ran had participants “purchase” privileges in pairs, with each pair receiving a different amount of money to use. Discussions are lead after the activities to help participants work through their thoughts and see the stand points of the other participants. Participants at the workshops will be asked to participate in a survey that will be used to determine how useful the participants view different activities are in expanding their understanding of the diverse patients they will encounter while working in their respective fields.


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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program Copyright © 2023 by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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