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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M orthopaedic surgeon: More research dollars needed to raise awareness around musculoskeletal disorders

Last month, University of Minnesota orthopaedic surgeon David W. Polly, M.D., joined physicians, researchers and patients from across the country in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to restore National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) funding in an effort to reduce the impact of musculoskeletal diseases impacting Americans.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), who helped arrange the event alongside multiple clinical and research partners, nearly one in three Americans suffer from a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical care. Each year the conditions account for more than 507.9 million visits to clinical providers and more than 17.5 million hospital discharges.

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patient-care

U of M’s health care “big data” push to produce better patient care, research

If you’ve followed health reform efforts, you know that every policy debate and system change center around one set of objectives: better outcomes at lower costs with improved patient experiences. The “triple aim” of health care.

But often overlooked in the reform discussion is the question of just how we’ll assess the impact of system changes. How will we know what we’re doing is working? The answer, quite simply, lies in unprecedented access to data.

Through an intensive focus on data and health informatics, the University of Minnesota is front and center in shaping how data is leveraged within research and clinical care. The University has long maintained a robust health informatics program and has also made substantial investments in technology to position itself as a leader in both data collection and analysis.

Our friend and colleague Kevin Coss, from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), recently highlighted a variety of University informatics efforts in a piece for the OVPR blog Research @ the U of M. Within, Kevin quotes Dr. Genevieve Melton-Meaux of the U’s Institute for Health Informatics and the chief medical information officer for University of Minnesota Physicians, who said that the “repository and analysis of the large amounts of clinical data will help with clinical research discovery and help forecast what kind of care patients will need, which in turn improves the patient’s treatment.”

We encourage Health Talk readers to visit Kevin’s profile of University efforts within the field of health informatics. His piece can be viewed in its entirety here.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Health Talk Recommends: Electrical stimulation helps paralyzed patients move once again

Neuroscientists may have broken new ground in the fight against paralysis.

In new research published today in the journal Brain, a collaborative team of researchers from the University of Louisville, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in Russia outline how they used neuromodulation and epidural spinal cord stimulation to coax new signals from the brain to the legs of four patients previously paralyzed below the waist. Each patient’s paralysis was the result of spinal cord injury.

While the neuromodulation device was powered on and sending electrical signals down their spines, each man in the study was able to voluntarily move their limbs and support own weight. Each patient has even regained control of their bladder and bowels while regulating their own body temperature and blood pressure.

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news-and-notes

U of M psychiatry experts, Minnesota legislators align to advance first episode psychosis programs

Last weekend, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar visited the University of Minnesota Psychiatry Clinic to host a roundtable discussion around first episode psychosis and to discuss options for improving the care and long-term prognosis for patients suffering psychiatric illness.

Recent federal legislation allocated more behavioral health funding to establish new first episode programs at the state level or bolster existing programs like the one found at the University of Minnesota.

According to Charles Schulz, M.D., chair of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, Senator Klobuchar has an active interest in mental health but shares the concerns of University providers around the average time it takes patients to receive treatment from the onset of their disease, a statistic that continues to hover around a year and a half.

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expert-perspectives

U of M researchers: New data shows dramatic rise in a new form of tendinitis known as “selfie elbow”

If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media sites like Instagram or Facebook over the past year, you’ve likely witnessed firsthand the rise of the “selfie.” Now, a new analysis by University of Minnesota orthopaedic surgeons shows the seemingly harmless trend may not be so harmless after all.

In a study published today in the journal Human Medicine, U of M researchers present data linking a recent rise in elbow injuries to the practice of taking a selfie, which the experts say places awkward, repetitive torque on the elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and radial collateral ligament (RCL).

“Years ago, we saw a rise in stress-related injuries that became known as  ‘texting thumb’ – basically a form of tendinitis,” said Jeffrey Macalena, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery in the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Now, young patients are pouring into our clinics complaining of elbow soreness that we’ve pinpointed to the rising selfie trend. We’re calling it selfie elbow, and it can be fairly serious.”

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nutrition

Taking a deeper dive into the latest CDC obesity data

Given the intense volume of media coverage this week around the CDC’s latest report on obesity in the U.S., many in the public now know that obesity rates among children aged two to five have fallen over the last decade, a key takeaway from the report.

The media’s interpretation and coverage of that particular point has varied widely; some headlines celebrated the shift as a positive as others focused on the statistic as a lone bright spot among otherwise unchanging obesity rates. As is often the case, perusing multiple media stories – even around the same issue – can generate a feeling of “OK, what’s really going on?”

According to Simone French, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota epidemiologist and obesity prevention expert, a deeper dive into the study is critical for a thorough understanding of what the study actually tells us about obesity trends in the U.S. She points out that where some may see stalled obesity rates as a negative, the flat rates could actually be viewed as a sign of progress.

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