Dr. Grady’s High School Mentee Publishes First Peer Reviewed Paper

Dr. James Grady, Assistant Director of the Connecticut Convergence Institute, Biostatistics Center is proud to announce that one of his Mentees, Rachel Brooks, of Christian Heritage High School published her first paper entitled “Prevalence of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, autonomic and allergic manifestations in hospitalized patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: a case-control study” in the peer-reviewed journal Rheumatology. Published by Oxford University Press, Rheumatology is one of two official journals of the British Society for Rheumatology.

Rachel decided to publish this paper after her research took first place at the 2020 CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Oral Research Competition, and more recently, her abstract was featured at the international Ehlers-Danlos Society ECHO Scientific Summit for Medical Professionals.

She began her medical research study in 2019. After independently developing a research plan and aims, she reached out to Dr. Grady, and he agreed to mentor her as she learned SAS statistical analysis software programming.

Rachel’s interest in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) peaked because the group of rare connective tissue disorders runs in her family. In the past, a number of small cohort studies and previous observations have suggested a potential association between EDS and additional abnormalities affecting the digestive, cardiovascular, autonomic, and immune systems. Due to the nature of these small sample sizes and their fragmented, sometimes contradictory findings, prior to her study, an incomplete understanding of the true prevalence and frequency of these conditions in EDS patients remained. To provide a more cohesive and definitive picture—using a larger sample size and looking at a wider range of conditions—her project sought to explore whether a diagnosis of EDS is associated with a higher prevalence of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, autonomic, and allergic manifestations.

“It is my hope that my research and words will reach physicians, patients with EDS, and undiagnosed individuals suffering from unexplained comorbidities or searching for more definitive answers.” says Rachel

Rachel’s research found a higher prevalence of these conditions in EDS patients. These findings should prompt physicians in hospital settings to consider connective tissue abnormalities in patients presenting with multiple unexplained conditions.