A.S.P.E.N. Sets Research Agenda for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Support

November 8, 2013

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) has announced its research agenda to help promote continuity across A.S.P.E.N.’s activities and help communicate A.S.P.E.N.’s research priorities to the larger clinical and research communities with the broader goal of advancing research and scholarly discourse in priority areas. 

“Despite ongoing advancements, malnutrition remains a common healthcare problem,” said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Advocacy, and Research Affairs for A.S.P.E.N. “This new research agenda provides a road map that will significantly advance patient care and further reduce malnutrition.”

The A.S.P.E.N. research agenda addresses five strategic priority areas:

Malnutrition Assessment, Diagnosis, and Intervention in the Context of Nutrition Support Therapy: A.S.P.E.N. seeks to have consistent definitions and identification of malnutrition in common use; identification of optimal implementation of nutrition support; and defined approaches to the most effective provision of nutrition support in varied settings and populations (eg, obese patients, pediatric patients). A.S.P.E.N. believes that randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the optimal approach to answering these questions.

Diagnostics and Techniques in Nutrition Support: A.S.P.E.N. seeks to validate both quantitative and qualitative diagnostic approaches in malnutrition assessment; develop objective techniques for nutrition assessment that can identify patients at risk for malnutrition-related complications; and create and expand patient registries, data sharing, research consortia, and other shared research resources to enhance research capabilities.

Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research: A.S.P.E.N. seeks to have RCTs used in every setting where nutrition support practice occurs (ICU and non-ICU hospitalized patients; rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, and nursing homes; clinics and patients’ homes). These studies should enroll the full age range where nutrition support is practiced, especially in age-specific studies; investigate a broad range of clinical outcomes; and evaluate the potential modifiers for nutrition risk.

Translational Research: A.S.P.E.N. seeks tobridge the gaps between the science and practice of nutrition support through clinical/translational research by having improved animal models for translational bench to bedside research relevant to nutrition support therapy; determining mechanisms and responses to drug nutrient interactions in different populations and disease states; utilizing varied data to identify malnutrition and its response to specific nutrition therapies; having interventional and comparative effectiveness trials in nutrition support; and developing more personalized strategies for optimal nutrient delivery.

Safety: A.S.P.E.N. seeks to continue to evaluate and improve the safe practice of nutrition support – especially in the context of current drug shortages. Areas needing research include safe prescribing, order review, compounding and administration. Enteral and parenteral access-related issues including placement and reduction of access-related complications are also in need of further study.

A complete copy of the A.S.P.E.N. Research Agenda, as published in the Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition, is available online at tinyurl.com/ASPEN-Research-Agenda.

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The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. 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 5,500 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 www.nutritioncare.org.