Skip Navigation

OU Study Clarifies Risky Decision Making During A Heart Attack

OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage
Skip Side Navigation

OU Study Clarifies Risky Decision Making During A Heart Attack

Robert Nairn

 

2-27-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NORMAN -- In a recent study to determine why some individuals who experience symptoms for acute coronary syndrome decide to seek medical attention more quickly than others, a University of Oklahoma researcher has identified numeracy—the ability to understand and apply numerical concepts as the primary decision delay risk factor for individuals experiencing the medical condition. Cardiovascular disease, which includes conditions such as acute coronary syndrome, is the number one killer worldwide responsible for about one in three deaths.

Edward Cokely, Presidential Research Professor and associate professor of psychology, OU College of Arts and Sciences and National Institute for Risk & Resilience, and his collaborators followed up with 102 survivors within five days after having experienced ACS. A questionnaire was administered to measure numeracy, decision delay and other relevant factors, such as anxiety, depression, symptom severity, knowledge and demographics. Cokely and collaborators learned that numeracy assessments may predict which patients are at greater risk for life-threating decision delay, which could support development of risk communications for a diverse range of patients who vary in risk literacy.

“We have better insights as to why people do not go to the hospitals, so now we have to find a way to empower these people. Asking specific questions and creating individualized plans or interventions could reduce a person’s risk in the future,” said Cokely.

Dafina Petrova and Rocio Garcia-Retamero, researchers from the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center at the University of Granada, coordinated the international patient study with collaborators from the Cardiology Department at the University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves in Spain. Eligible patients who agreed to participate in the study were identified by a qualified practicing cardiologist who also extracted information regarding final diagnosis and angiogram results. Special care was taken to minimize any burden on patients due to fatigue, illness or other difficulties.

“Seeking medical attention quickly during ACS also reduces the risk for complications that lower quality of life and increase the burden of follow-up care for individuals, families and health systems,” said Petrova.

In this study, low patient numeracy was related to longer decision delay, which, in turn, related to higher odds of positive troponin (a protein that indicates heart damage) on arrival at the hospital. A patient with high versus low numeracy was about four times more likely to seek medical attention within the critical first hour after experiencing symptoms. ACS survival rates and outcomes can be improved by up to 50 percent when treatment is administered within one hour of initial symptoms.

A patient’s decision to delay treatment can increase the risk for serious complications, major disability and even death. A skill relevant to decision delay is a person’s practical ability to solve problems involving probability, which is a predictor of diverse health and medical outcomes. Patients with lower numeracy tend to have more negative perceptions of health. They are more likely to be hospitalized and visit emergency services more frequently.

Numeracy is a predictor of health outcomes because it is closely related to general-decision making skill.  In particular, numeracy skills help people evaluate and understand risk—i.e., risk literacy (see www.RiskLiteracy.org for an example of a two-minute statistical numeracy test designed for educated adults in industrialized countries). Research shows that numerate people generally deliberate more during decision making, becoming better-informed decision makers who more realistically evaluate decision benefits, risks and tradeoffs. They also spend more time thinking about their own reasoning and feelings, more precisely integrating available information into an intuitive mental model.

Numeracy is an acquired skill that can be improved through deliberate practice and formal education.  Even short training interventions help patients, medical professionals and primary school children solve complex statistical reasoning problems. Well-designed decision aids that help individuals represent relative risks and relationships without requiring mathematical transformations can eliminate large differences in decision quality between more and less numerate individuals.

During ACS, the decision to seek medical attention may involve many skills, such as estimating severity and intensity and identifying and evaluating sources of risk precisely and confidently. Acknowledging symptoms as urgent or serious and association of symptoms to a heart attack are two factors that lead to shorter decision delay times. As numeracy fosters an understanding of the ACS risks and tradeoffs, more numerate people are likely to recognize the potential of and need for immediate action.

“Numeracy Predicts Risk of Pre-Hospital Decision Delay: A Retrospective Study of Acute Coronary Syndrome Survival,” authored by Cokely and a team of researchers, was published in the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad in Spain and the National Science Foundation. For more information about this research project, please contact cokely@ou.edu.

Recent News

Irungu Named Interim Associate Vice President of University Community

Jane Irungu

The University of Oklahoma announced today that Jane Irungu will serve as the interim associate vice president for university community at the University of Oklahoma. She will join the staff of the Office of University Community beginning Aug. 20. A search committee comprised of 10 faculty and staff members of the university submitted their recommendations to OU President James L. Gallogly for his selection.

Read More

OU Looks Forward with Reorganized Administration

Seed Sower Norman statue

NORMAN –The University of Oklahoma announced today an executive restructuring aimed to streamline reporting, bring in fresh, diverse perspectives, and improve its cost structure. The reorganization reduces the number of executives who report to the President from 25 to 17, a 32 percent reduction. The executive staff includes not only Norman campus leaders, but also individuals with Health Sciences Center, Tulsa and university-wide responsibilities.

10/09/18

OU's Radar Team Developing Fastest, Most Advanced Radar in the Nation

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Radar Research Center team is developing the fastest, most advanced radar in the nation with a $3.4 and $3.1 million SENSR grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HORUS, an all-digital polarimetric phased array radar, can scan the atmosphere in 30 seconds or less and distinguish between snowflakes, raindrops, hail stones or other targets within a storm. Rapid scans of the atmosphere and hydrometeor classification, among other polarimetric radar capabilities, are critical for forecasting and prediction. Read more

09/26/18

OU SMART-R Team Reveals Threats During Hurricane Florence Landfall

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching radar team set up a mobile C-band radar on the shoulder of I-140 on the Cape Fear River bridge west of Wilmington, North Carolina, during Hurricane Florence landfall. Four OU and Purdue University portable integrated precipitation systems were placed in open fields southwest of Wilmington to measure raindrop sizes, winds, temperature, humidity and pressure. Sean Waugh, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, launched weather balloons into the eye of the storm from Wrightsville Beach and the Wilmington International Airport. Read more

09/10/18

OU IT Team Receives NSF Instrumentation Grant for Research Data Archiving

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma team, led by Henry Neeman, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant in the amount of $967,755 for a new academic research data storage instrument—a massive tape archive known as the OU and Regional Research Store, which will serve as a national model for affordable, large-scale, multi-institutional storage. Read more

09/10/18

OU SMART Radar Team Departs for East Coast to Intercept Hurricane Florence

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma’s Shared Mobile and Atmospheric Research and Teaching radar team, led by Michael Biggerstaff, departed for the East Coast Sunday afternoon to intercept Hurricane Florence with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. The team will encounter Hurricane Florence, a possible Category 3 or 4 hurricane, at landfall later this week. Read more

09/10/18

OU Professor Selected for 2019 ASM Environmental Research Award

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma professor, Jizhong Zhou, is the recipient of the 2019 American Society for Microbiology Award for Environmental Research for significant accomplishments in the field of microbiology. The award will be presented at the ASM Microbe meeting in San Francisco, California, in June 2019.Read more

09/05/18

OU Research Addresses Concerns of South-Central Plains Region with NSF Instrumentation Grant

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma research group, led by Mark Nanny, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant in the amount of $396,778. The Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer with Laser Ablation and Liquid Chromatography capabilities will enable collaboration among researchers at OU, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa in specific areas of research and coordination with Oklahoma Tribal Nations in various research projects. Read more

09/05/18

OU Team to Develop New Methods to Track Bird Migration and Adaptability

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma research team of biologists and meteorologists will develop and employ advanced methods to monitor birds during migratory flights and assess the atmospheric conditions in which they fly. The project will involve unmanned aerial vehicles as well as novel tracking devices developed by OU researchers. The devices will be attached to migratory birds and will reveal the environments experienced by birds in flight and provide new insights into the dynamics of the lower atmosphere. Read more

08/29/18

SMART Radar Results Show Hurricane Harvey Category 3, Not Category 4

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - University of Oklahoma meteorologists, Michael Biggerstaff and Addison Alford, recently presented results collected from landfall of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas, one year ago. Data collected with the OU Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching and National Weather Service radars showed maximum sustained surface winds of 112 miles per hour. A Category 3 hurricane has sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph. Read more

08/27/18

Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship Conference

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The inaugural Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship Conference is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, an office of the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma, is hosting the conference with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Toast Design Studios, Devon Energy, Lobeck-Taylor Family Foundation, Citizens Bank of Edmond, Association for Women in Science, Oklahoma Women in Technology, Women’s Energy Network, Society of Women Engineers, REI Oklahoma, DayCreative and more. Read more

08/27/18

OK Catalyst Program Teaches Students to Launch Business

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The Tom Love Innovation Hub held its inaugural Oklahoma Catalyst Researchers Program this summer with 29 graduate students from the University of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa. The participants explored how to launch a business based on their graduate research. Read more

OU to Lead U.S. Stream Drying Study with $3 Million in NSF Grants

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Daniel C. Allen, will lead one of the first coordinated ecology research projects to study what happens to streams as they dry across the United States. The National Science Foundation funded the study with a $1.4 million grant to OU and $1.6 million in grants to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; Northern Arizona University; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and University of Arizona. Read more

Climate Warming Affects Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Jizhong Zhou, and his team have completed a new study on the effects of climate warming on soil microbes in a long-term climate change experiment at a tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The new study shows that climate warming will affect microbial communities in the future, and future community states will be more predictable under warmed climate. Eventually, microbial communities will produce different functions and feedbacks to climate warming. Read more

OU Biologist Developing Network of Researchers and Data from Intermittent Rivers

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Daniel Allen, is developing an intermittent river research coordination network of ecologists and hydrologists to better understand the half of the Earth’s rivers that dry or stop flowing each year. Allen and other participants will compile existing ecological and hydrological data from across the nation for the network with a four-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Read more

Stephenson Cancer Center Earns National Cancer Institute Designation

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN -National, state and local leaders joined the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma today to celebrate the center’s designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center. With this award, the Stephenson Cancer Center joins an elite group of 70 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide. Read more

OU Research Team Identifies Genetic Structure of Painted Bunting

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN –A University of Oklahoma researcher, Andrea Contina, and his team have identified the genetic structure of the Painted Bunting, a neotropical migratory songbird, using microsatellite DNA and single nucleotide polymorphisms to develop high-resolution markers to differentiate between individual birds breeding in different Oklahoma populations and across the United States. Through this research, Contina and his team now can differentiate between the eastern and western Painted Buntings and identify the species pattern of migration and population of origin. Read More

OU Institute Awarded Grant to Advance the Self, Virtue and Public Life Porject

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is the recipient of a $3.9 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to advance the “Self, Virtue and Public Life Project.” The grant will provide funding for new research projects, conferences, edited volumes and community outreach activities. The project is set to begin September 1, 2018, and conclude on August 31, 2021. Read More

OU Professor to Study New Possibilities in Quantum Networking

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma physics professor, Alberto Marino, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development Program) Award in the amount of $500,000 to study new possibilities for the use of spatial degree of freedom in applications ranging from long-distance quantum communications to quantum imaging. Read More

Eight OU Students, Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – Eight University of Oklahoma students and alumni were named Fulbright grant recipients, which are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, achievement and leadership potential. Read More

OU Meteorologists Studying Arctic Atmospheric Barriers

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma meteorology team, led by Steven Cavallo, is studying the role of tropopause polar vortices as a barrier in limiting predictability over the Arctic with three, five-year grants totaling $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research. TPVs occur in the upper troposphere of the Arctic, but the data doesn’t exist from this barren region to improve prediction. The OU team plans to conduct aircraft data-collection experiments during an international field campaign associated with the ‘Year of Polar Prediction.’ Read more

OU Student Receives Udall Scholarship

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN - University of Oklahoma honors student Daniel R. Hayden has been named a 2018 Udall Scholar. The Udall Foundation Scholarship recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate a commitment to careers related to the environment or to Native American public policy or health care. Hayden is one of 50 nationwide selected for the honor. Read more

OU Professor to Receive IEEE Satellite Communications Technical Contribution Award

Mohammed Atiquzzaman

Mohammed Atiquzzaman, is the recipient of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Satellite Communications Technical Contribution Award for 2018. The annual award is given to an accomplished, senior-level researcher who has achieved outstanding results in satellite communications and recognizes excellent scientific contributions done by academia and industries. Atiquzzaman will receive the award at the IEEE International Conference on Communications in Kansas City, Missouri, May 20-24. Read more

OU Physicist Developing Quantum-Enhanced Sensors for Real-Life Applications

Albert Marino

A University of Oklahoma physicist, Alberto M. Marino, is developing quantum-enhanced sensors that could find their way into applications ranging from biomedical to chemical detection. In a new study, Marino’s team, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, demonstrates the ability of quantum states of light to enhance the sensitivities of state-of-the-art plasmonic sensors. The team presents the first implementation of a sensor with sensitivities considered state-of-the-art and shows how quantum-enhanced sensing can find its way into real-life applications. Read more

OU Class of 2018 Gift to Honor Borens

The Boren Green

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Class of 2018 will celebrate their time at OU through a dedicated green space that will add to OU’s national reputation as one of America’s most beautiful campuses. Located along Lindsey Street in front of the newly completed Residential Colleges, this year’s class gift will fund a picturesque lawn named The Boren Green. Read more

OU Students Receive National Security Education Program Award for International Study

The Boren Awards

NORMAN – University of Oklahoma senior James Ratcliff and OU junior Libby Trowbridge recently were selected as recipients of the prestigious Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. Thirty-four OU students have received the award since the program began in 1994. Read more

News Archives

2017  | 2016  | 2015  | 2014  |  2013  

2018


For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.