Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Awards Grant to University of Texas Health Science Center
Washington, D.C. (August 25, 2015) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced it has awarded a $6,000 grant to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing for a pilot research study, Biobehavioral Effects of Therapy Dog Visitation in Elderly Intensive Care Unit Patients, to investigate how brief visits from therapy dogs can reduce stress in older intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
“Elderly patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit are at risk for anxiety that negatively affects physical health,” said primary researcher Sandra Branson, PhD, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor at the UTHealth School of Nursing. “Limited evidence suggests the effectiveness of therapy dog visits in improving these biological responses. We’re hoping this study will help fill the gap and potentially translate into regular practice in ICUs.”
Further exploring the effects of therapy dogs on stress in elderly ICU patients, the study aims to provide research-based evidence proving the efficacy of brief, 10-minute therapy dog visits in improving stress associated with being in an ICU. The 18-month study will observe two groups of 10 elderly participants in the ICU; one group will receive a 10-minute therapy dog visits at random and the other will receive usual care without the visits. Patients’ psychosocial, endocrine, and inflammatory responses will be measured immediately before and after the 10-minute care session and compared between the two groups.
It is predicted that participants who receive the therapy dog visits will show greater reductions in the measured responses. The results of this study could yield therapy dog visits as a regular, low-risk and low-cost treatment intervention for patients in the ICU.
“HABRI’s grant to UTHealth will help advance the science that demonstrates the benefits of companion animals for disease recovery and healthy aging,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The deployment of therapy animals in hospital setting is a growing trend. We want as many people as possible to benefit from the healing power of the human-animal bond.”
A recently published report by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America showed that 279 of 337 health care facilities surveyed (83%) permit animal-assisted activities. Additionally, a survey of 1,000 doctors* found that 69% had worked with animals in a hospital, medical center, or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment.
*2014 Study Conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; to date has funded more than half a million dollars in innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, visit www.habri.org.
Established in 1972, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is Houston’s Health University and Texas’ resource for health care education, innovation, scientific discovery, and excellence in patient care. The most comprehensive academic health center in the UT System and U.S. Gulf Coast region, UTHealth is home to a number of specialty schools ranging from nursing and dentistry to biomedical sciences. The university’s primary teaching hospitals include Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. For more information, visit www.uth.edu.
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HABRI Named Among the Best Animal Therapy Non-Profits of 2017
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has been chosen as one of the best animal therapy non-profits of the year by Healthline.com, one of the largest and fastest growing health information sites on the web. “This honor boosts HABRI’s mission to establish the human-animal bond as an essential part of our health and wellness,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “It also serves as a seal-of-approval that shows HABRI is making a real difference for the health of both people and their pets.” According to Healthline.com, they put together their list with a focus on non-profits “actively working to educate, inspire, and support people while sharing the benefits of therapy animals,” and commended these organizations for being “dedicated to exploring and supporting the human-animal bond.” “It is tremendously gratifying to see HABRI’s work to fund human-animal bond scientific research recognized in this way,” Feldman added. “HABRI also extends its congratulations to the other non-profit organizations recognized by healthline.com for providing animal therapy programs and services to people in need.”
World Pet Association Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that the World Pet Association has made a $25,000 donation to help gather, fund and promote scientific research that demonstrates the human health benefits of pet ownership. “The World Pet Association’s commitment to researching the human-animal bond helps demonstrate the value of pets and the pet industry to society,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Support and active participation from leaders like the World Pet Association is vital to advancing the science that demonstrates the positive roles they play in the integrated health of individuals, families and communities.” The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to demonstrate the health benefits of pets and other animals; informs the public about human-animal bond research; and advocates for public policies that support the beneficial role of pets in society. “WPA is pleased to be able to assist HABRI fulfill their mission of providing information about the benefits of pet ownership,” said Word Pet Association President Doug Poindexter. “Having these resources in one place and readily available is critical to the long term welfare of the industry.”
Study Finds Dogs De-Stress Families with Autistic Children
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation announced today the results of a long-term study to explore the effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism spectrum disorder, just published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. The findings of the study showed significantly improved family functioning of families with a dog compared to those without. The study also found a reduction in parent-child dysfunctional interactions among families that had a dog. “While there is growing evidence that animal-assisted therapy can aid in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders, this study is one of the first to examine how pet dog ownership can also improve the lives of those more widely affected by autism,” said the principal investigator on the study, Professor Daniel Mills, BVSc, PhD, from the University of Lincoln, UK. “We found a significant, positive relationship between parenting stress of the child’s main caregiver and their attachment to the family dog. This highlights the importance of the bond between the carer and their dog in the benefits they gain.” HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman said: “Parents of children with autism can experience increased anxiety and stress, and now we have strong scientific evidence to show that pets can have positive effects on these quality-of-life issues. Families with an autistic child should consider pet ownership as a way to improve family harmony.” This...