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Popcorn for pets? Healthy treats your pet can enjoy

Photo Credit: bullcitydogs

It’s no secret there is an obesity epidemic in the human population. As humans are growing larger, their four-legged companions are following a similar path.

University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center Nutritionist, and associate professor, Julie Churchill, says that an estimated 54 percent of dogs and cats are overweight or obese.

It’s important to feed your pet a well-balanced diet, including healthy treats.

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Research Snapshot: Researchers identify mechanisms that determine the aggressiveness of bone cancer

Photo Credit: Flickr, Cathy Stanley-Erickson

A new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found bone tumors have preprogrammed genes, meaning the genes of the cancer remain unchanged even after a tumor is found in the body.

Bone cancers are similar in canines and humans, so researchers are hoping to use this information to learn more about this type of cancer that predominantly affects dogs and children.

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In the news: Newlyweds donate wedding gifts to UMN glioblastoma multiforme research

Photo credit: Deb Koepsell via KARE-TV

While most newlyweds expect a new dish set or place settings as wedding gifts, one couple skipped the registry altogether. Instead, they asked guests to donate towards a cause that hit close to home.

In 2007, Deb Koepsell learned her late husband, Tom Hastings, had developed glioblastoma multiforme, a cancerous brain tumor, when he lost vision in one eye. While seeking treatment at the University of Minnesota, the two met Stephen Haines, M.D., from the Department of Neurosurgery in the Medical School.

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Snapshot: lower nicotine levels in cigarettes could mean lower dependence

Tomasz Sienicki/CC 3.0/

Reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes could lower cigarette use, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was conducted by University of Pittsburgh researcher Eric Donny, Ph.D., and Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, along with 8 other sites including the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

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Practicing mindfulness in the workplace

Photo: Katie Huggins

As summer ends and to-do lists grow longer, stress seems unavoidable. But it’s important to give our minds and bodies a break; our wellbeing and productivity depend on it.

“Research has shown that we literally can’t do it all,” says Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., R.N., founder and director of the Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota. “When we’re trying to do too many things at once, we’re dividing our brain up and putting less effort and level of detail into each individual activity.”

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For HIV treatment, the earlier the better

Photo: Inquiry blog

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Inquiry.

New Doctors treating people with HIV have faced a tough decision. Should patients begin drug therapy before AIDS symptoms appear, and put up with the inconvenience and potential side effects? Or is it better to wait until their CD4+ T cell count – a key barometer of the immune system’s health –drops below a certain level, even though that means a greater risk of transmitting the virus to a partner?

This summer an answer finally emerged. The international START (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment) study, the first large, randomized and controlled clinical trial of the issue, showed the benefits of early treatment so clearly that the trial was halted prematurely so the volunteers receiving deferred treatment could begin therapy.

“Early treatment was effective everywhere in the world,” says James Neaton, a University of Minnesota biostatistics professor and principal investigator for INSIGHT (International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials), which designed and conducted the trial. “We had more than a thousand people enrolled from sub-Saharan Africa, and a total of 4,685 people from 35 countries.”

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