RURAL study needs more participants

Published 8:58 am Friday, January 26, 2024

The RURAL health study that started in Panola County last year and extending into the new year lost a week of important data collection from local participants, and study officials are urging county residents to register and take part in the longitudinal report that is vital to understanding the underlying conditions that cause increased levels of heart and respiratory disease in the Southeast.

Panola and Oktibbeha were the two Mississippi counties chosen for the federally-backed study. A mobile examination unit – in the form of a large recreational vehicle outfitted with medical stations – is parked behind the Batesville hospital and is used to perform the battery of tests that will be the data for researchers to study.

Feb. 23 will be the last day for residents to sign up for the free program, which includes a physical examination and a Fit-Bit device that participants use during the study, and then are allowed to keep.

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Panola County residents between the ages of 25 and 64 years of age are eligible. Dr. Ervin Fox, a heart specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is overseeing the Mississippi part of the study, and said losing a week’s number of signups due to weather was a setback.

“We really need people to step up and take part in this study,” Fox said. “It doesn’t take much of a person’s time and the benefits will hopefully be a healthier Mississippi with a better quality of life for all our citizens.”

To sign up for the study, visit the website or call 1-888-787-2578.

“Your participation in the RURAL study can benefit you and your family now and far into the future,” Fox said.