AMHERST, Mass. The University of Massachusetts College of Nursing has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to create a center where scientists will develop technologies to help people with chronic illness manage fatigue and impaired sleep.
“The creation of the UManage Center is an outstanding achievement for our nurse researchers,” said Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the College of Nursing, in a statement. “The center will create an environment where they can work and collaborate with other outstanding scholars working toward the common goal of improving health and the quality of life for those suffering from chronic illnesses.”
The five-year grant will fund studies on wearable and handheld devices that monitor fatigue or sleep pattern changes, and how these devices can help patients decide when and how to modify their activities.
Cynthia Jacelon, professor of nursing and the center director, said that nurse-led interdisciplinary teams will use emerging technologies being developed on the UMass Amherst campus to help manage symptoms affecting patients. The new wearable or handheld devices will help them stop and rest, or change their sleep hygiene.
Researchers will collaborate with industry partners and use many of the laboratories and equipment in the campus Institute for Applied Life Sciences in their work.
The first two research projects will include a wearable eye-tracking technology to help cancer survivors monitor and self-manage persistent fatigue, and a study of cortisol in sweat as a potential stress and fatigue indicator to help patients manage their behavior and responses.
The UManage Center will fund 10 pilot research projects over the next five years to offer nursing faculty the opportunity to develop strategies to help individuals improve their health, and to design larger, population-based studies and expand their research capacity to work with interdisciplinary research teams.