Clinical Research Core
The ACNC Clinical Research Core (CRC) assists ACNC investigators with all aspects of clinical research aimed at improving maternal and child health and development. CRC staff help with submitting and monitoring IRB applications, recruiting participants, conducting studies, training team members, and collecting, storing and managing data. The Core is equipped with cutting-edge technologies to evaluate nutrition, body composition, energy expenditure and to collect biological samples.
The CRC has a team of over 15 highly-trained staff dedicated to conducting quality clinical research. The CRC has a full-time Coordinator who manages the CRC team and provides assistance with all IRB submissions. The CRC has a team of recruiters who reach out into our Central Arkansas community to facilitate participation of families for ACNC clinical studies.
Research study visits are conducted by a team of:
- Nutritionists and a Licensed Nurse who ensure accurate data collection for dietary intake, anthropometrics, body composition, and energy expenditure assessments.
- Technicians specialized in brain development and electroencephalogram (EEG) assessments.
- Licensed Psychological Examiners who can assess infants, children and adults for mental, motor and language development; executive functions; intelligence quotient; behavioral milestones; and anxiety and depression.
- Database Managers who design Microsoft Access and SQL Server databases for data storage and analyses.
The CRC facility is fully equipped to accommodate large longitudinal studies, clinical visits and overnight stays. It includes:
- Five overnight rooms with fully equipped bathrooms
- Lounge with TV/DVD/computer games
- Nursing station
- Two clinic rooms dedicated to the measurement of food intake and diet evaluation
- Five clinic rooms dedicated to the evaluation of body composition
- Five anthropometric and phlebotomy rooms
- Indirect calorimetry room
- Two nursing rooms
- Three data collection rooms dedicated to the Licensed Psychological Examiners
- Clinical laboratory to process and store all biological samples
- Dining room and kitchen
Major Equipment and Methods
Dietary assessments are obtained using food frequency questionnaires, 3-day food records, or weighed food records. Indirect calorimetry is assessed in adults and children using a MOXUS metabolic cart and physical activity estimations are obtained using accelerometers (ACTICAL).
Body composition assessments are obtained using quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance, air displacement plethysmography, or dual energy X-ray absorptiometry technologies, depending on the need of the research studies.
- The Quantitative Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology creates contrast between soft tissues by taking advantage of the differences in relaxation times of the hydrogen nuclei spins in these tissues, leading to a precise and accurate measure of body fat, fat free mass and total water. The CRC uses the NMR for infants and children up to 50 kg. This device was custom-designed to accommodate our pediatric population. Major advantages of this technology include: no radiation exposure, no requirement for immobilization, and repeated data acquisition is possible throughout infancy and childhood.
- The Air Displacement Plethysmography (ADP) technology provides a precise and accurate measure of fat mass. The BodPod is used for children and adults while the PeaPod is used for infants up to 6 months old. This technique measures body weight and body volume. The body density obtained from these measures help to estimate body fat and fat free mass.
- The Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) technology provides a very precise and accurate measure of bone mass. It can also measure fat and lean body mass. The CRC uses the Hologic QDR 4500 with a discovery upgrade and Horizon A with visceral core assessment. This technology uses safe, low levels of X-ray to detect differences between bone and soft tissues. Participants need to remain still during the scanning process.