Getting to Know Karen Moody, M.D.
Karen Moody was always interested in holistic, mind-body wellness, far before she became an oncologist. “As a bio-psych major I studied all aspects of health, including food, diet and exercise,” she explains. “I was interested in the quality of life for children, and my plan was to work on lifestyle studies in a pediatric setting to help kids avoid getting diseases. When I did a rotation in oncology, I couldn’t resist helping really sick kids, and knew I wanted to work on blending cancer treatment with optimizing wellness.”
Today, Dr. Moody is an Associate Professor, in the Department of Pediatrics Patient Care and an Associate Professor, in Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson. She is currently the Director of Supportive Care and Integrative Medicine at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson. She earned her B.A. in Biology/Psychology from Columbia University (New York), her M.D. in Medicine at State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center (Syracuse), and her M.S. in Health Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology from Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University (New York). Dr. Moody continued her studies with a Clinical Residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Health Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, a Clinical Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at New York University Hospital and Medical Center, and a Research Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research at Weill Medical College, Cornell University. She is certified in medical acupuncture and studied palliative care and education at Harvard Medical School. She has worked around the country in pediatric hematology-oncology and palliative care, and served as the Director of Integrative Medicine and Palliative Care at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (Bronx, NY) and the Chief, Division of Palliative Care, Department of Pediatrics, at Riley Hospital for Children (Indianapolis, IN), before joining MD Anderson in September 2017.
“During my fellowship, I became interested in evidence-based research, while working with young cancer patients,” she recalls. “At that time, doctors were telling sick children and their parents not to eat raw fruit and vegetables, to avoid the possible introduction of bacteria into a patient’s gastrointestinal tract. This long-practiced, much-debated ‘neutropenic diet’ (ND) was thought to limit possible infection. But there was little evidence to support the ND, and I decided to design a study to determine its true usefulness.”
“Our clinical trial evaluated the difference in neutropenic infection rates in pediatric oncology patients randomized to Food and Drug Administration approved food safety guidelines (FSGs) versus the ND plus FSGs during one cycle of chemotherapy. With 150 patients, approximately 75 in each arm of the study, we learned that avoiding raw fruit did not offer more protection from infection. Consequently, there is no rationale for a low microbial diet in immunosuppressed patients. Institutions caring for children with cancer should consider replacing ND guidelines with FSGs.”
“We additionally found that dietary intake did not correlate with micronutrient deficiencies status in children with cancer and there were no significant differences in dietary nutrients and serum vitamins between treatment arms.”
“A better understanding of the etiology and impact of any micronutrient deficiencies could potentially mitigate treatment-related toxicities and provide more insight into the prevalence and risk of micronutrient deficiency in cancer patients and the relationships between micronutrient deficiency, dietary intake and the quality of life.”
The Third Expert Report
In May 2018, the World Cancer Research Fund International and American Institute for Cancer Research launched their The Third Expert Report - Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective. This report summarizes past decades of cancer prevention research, providing reliable cancer advice and updated Cancer Prevention Recommendations. It highlights new findings, including five additional cancers linked to obesity and strengthened evidence that specific food or nutrients are not single factors causing or protecting against cancer. Instead, a combination of diet and physical activity throughout life combine to make you more or less vulnerable to cancer.
A few of the chapters are:
- Cancer Process
- Judging the Evidence
- Energy Balance and Body Fatness
- Survivors of Breast and Other Cancers
- Recommendations and Public Health and Policy Implications
How can therapy for heart attack patients help cancer survivors?
Learn more about the link between heart disease and cancer in this article published by American Heart Association News.
Going Gym Free with Hosts Marc & Beth and Guest Karen Basen-Engquist: Blog Talk Radio
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Science and director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship was a featured guest on the "Let's Talk! Going Gym Free Show" with Marc and Beth. Listen now
The National Cancer Institute is providing data for researchers to develop novel analytic approaches for quantifying physical activity and dietary exposures
This data is available to all qualified investigators for studies of physical activity and nutrition. Interested investigators can request access to IDATA Study via the Cancer Data Access System.
Thank you to Erik Anderson, Co-Chairman & CEO of Topgolf® and to the entire Topgolf team for promoting a healthy lifestyle by supporting programs and research in the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship. Topgolf’s fundraising efforts in July of 2017 raised $50,000 for the Center.
Learn more about the Topgolf partnership.