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research-and-clinical-trials

Drug design for Parkinson’s disease starts here

Photo: OakleyOriginals/CC 2.0/ flic.kr/p/5pjoeg

Were drug design a road, it would surely be a Minnesota street fraught with potholes, ice and gravel.

Even the best ideas can fall by the wayside somewhere between the lab and your corner pharmacy in the process of drug discovery and development.

Recently, University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design member, organic chemist and assistant professor Liqiang Chen, Ph.D., published a paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry outlining the discovery of a potent and selective protein-inhibitor. Blocking the protein, Sirtuin 2 (SIRT2), also has the potential to block a primary contributor to Parkinson’s disease from causing harm.

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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: Vaccination rates are good but we can do better

Photo: DoDEA/CC 2.0/flic.kr/p/mCmBEW

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the latest vaccination numbers for more than 4.2 million kindergarteners across 49 states and the District of Columbia. The vaccination rate remains relatively high, but there are still pockets across the U.S. where vaccination rates are lower than they should be, leaving young unvaccinated children vulnerable to preventable, dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.

In a statement, the CDC said vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks can still occur where unvaccinated persons cluster in schools and communities.

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in-the-news

Family dinners may decrease risk of obesity for children

Photo courtesy Flickr user Ian Freimuth

Although sit down family dinners are most commonly used to strengthen a family’s bond, a new study from the University of Minnesota shows eating dinner together has more than just emotional benefits.

According to the study recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics, having just one sit down family dinner each week can decrease the risk of obesity for adolescents later in life.

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news-and-notes

New ACA money goes to reaching new patients, expanded student training

Photo: Patrick O'Leary

Recently, the U of M’s Community-University Health Care Center began receiving three new federal grants to fund additional clinic services. Totaling $744,000 over two years, the grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow the Community-University Health Care Center at the University of Minnesota to begin providing combined substance abuse and mental health screenings for approximately 80 percent of patients over age 12 …

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research-and-clinical-trials

University of Minnesota study: More effective alcohol policies ignored while less effective passed into law

Photo: Mike Knlec/CC 2.0/flic.kr/p/pcLepZ

What works to prevent alcohol-related deaths and binge drinking isn’t always what makes it into law. A new study finds that policymakers are significantly more likely to adopt ineffective alcohol policies than they are to adopt effective ones. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Boston University tracked 29 different state alcohol control policies from 1999 through 2011 and found that that none of the policies rated to be the most effective for reducing excessive drinking were either adopted or strengthened during the study period. During that same period they noted an increase in adoption of policies that were comparatively less effective, or that targeted only youth drinking or impaired driving.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, St. Jude Medical partner to tackle Parkinson’s disease, depression

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

University of Minnesota researchers and St. Jude Medical are collaborating to treat some of the most challenging and debilitating movement and neuropsychiatric disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment which uses electrical current to directly stimulate parts of the brain. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges in areas that align with Minnesota’s industries, including discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

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