Expert in substance abuse and cardiac disease, particularly binge drinking by young adults.
Dr. Piano has a distinguished career in substance abuse research focusing on understanding the adverse effects of unhealthy alcohol drinking patterns on the cardiovascular system. Studies are underway to determine the effects of binge drinking on cardiovascular function and risk factors in young adults. Young adulthood is when binge drinking is the highest and currently, more young adults consume 6-7 drinks per binge drinking episode, black out and choose hard liquor over beer. Compared to previous generations, the pervasiveness, intensity (i.e., 6-7 drinks) and regularity (several times per week) of binge drinking may place today's youth at greater risk for more profound rates of alcohol-related harm. Another area of research includes heart failure pathophysiology, symptoms and patient self-management. In particular, her research has focused on strategies (e.g. diuretic self-adjustment) to prevent frequent hospital admissions in heart failure patients and to identify mechanisms that underlie heart failure symptoms. Her research has been supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Center for Research Resources. She also holds the title of Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she was Collegiate Professor of Nursing.