University of California Irvine Researcher Wins A.S.P.E.N. Award

March 1, 2016, Silver Spring, MD – Cecilia Canales, MPH, of the University of California Irvine, has been named a Research Trainee Award recipient by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.). The award is for her research that strongly associates nutrition status with positive clinical outcomes in critically ill patients. Canales recently presented the study The Nutrition Risk in Critically Ill (NUTRIC) and Nutrition Risk Screening 2002 (NRS 2002) Scores as Predictors of Protein and Caloric Deficit in Critically Ill Patients at A.S.P.E.N.’s Clinical Nutrition Week in Austin, Texas, January 16-19.

According to A.S.P.E.N., patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are typically undernourished and consequently are at risk for becoming malnourished during their hospitalization. Even though several screening tools are available to the care team that will help assess a patient’s nutrition status, they are rarely used in the ICU setting. Until now, few studies have been done on the efficacy and benefit of these screening tools.

The purpose of the Canales study was to compare the Nutrition Risk in Critically Ill (NUTRIC) versus the Nutrition Risk Screening 2002 (NRS 2002) scores in terms of their association with protein as well as caloric deficit in ICU patients.

The data suggest that NUTRIC scores are strongly associated with both protein and caloric deficits in critically ill patients. While the NRS 2002 is commonly used in the clinical setting to predict risk of malnutrition in hospitalized patient, the screening test may not be appropriate for ICU patients. Additional studies are needed to determine whether early nutrition intervention in the ICU, based on NUTRIC scores, can improve patient outcomes.

Naming annual Research Trainee Award winners is at the core of the A.S.P.E.N. mission of improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism.

“We hope that by supporting the leaders in the field of clinical nutrition, we will continue to learn more about the science and tools that can lead to optimal patient outcomes,” stated Debra BenAvram, CEO of A.S.P.E.N. “We are honored to be a supporter of Ms. Canales’s research and to have the opportunity to formally recognize her important work.”

To learn more about the research of Canales and her colleagues, along with all the other presented research at Clinical Nutrition Week 2016, please click here.

# # #

Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit