GS21 1112: Bio-behavioral Research Methods in Cancer Prevention and Addiction
Chang, Shine; Chamberlain, Robert, Cameron, Carrie. Two semester hours. Spring annually. Prerequisite: None
Bio-behavioral research methods in cancer prevention and addiction addresses the growing demand for multi-disciplinary research in disease prevention. Going beyond traditional behavioral research, the bio-behavioral approach investigates the biological mechanisms underlying risk-related behaviors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and social isolation and aims at understanding their role in determining cancer risk. The primary objective of this survey course will be to provide students with a greater understanding of the basic mechanisms involved in the complex interplay of genetic, neurobiological, psychological, and environmental factors in the initiation of smoking, dietary practices, exercise habits, and other healthful behaviors as well as the methodological approaches used in cancer prevention research. Other objectives include developing students' appreciation of how different disciplines can contribute to cancer prevention as well as their awareness of the promise and potential pitfalls of multidisciplinary approaches. Topics include: 1) risk modeling; 2) bio-behavioral basis of nicotine dependence; 3) neurophysiological mechanisms of addiction; 4) psychophysiological response to exercise; 5) genetics of risk-taking behaviors; 6) psychological influences on immune function, subsequent cancer risk, and risk reduction techniques; 7) genetic determinants of behavior; and 8) psychophysiological, cognitive, and motivational mechanisms underlying persuasion in response to cancer prevention messages. Emerging areas of future research will be identified and discussed.