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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Veterans with lower socioeconomic status sleep less, may suffer related health issues

Photo: USAFE AFAFRICA/CC 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/nTBXKP

Regularly sleeping fewer than six hours per night has been linked to a number of health problems including cardiovascular disease, poor mental health, and other life-threatening diseases.

Now, new research published in the American Journal of Public Health from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota highlights socioeconomic disparities in sleep duration among veterans who served in the U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Research found these veterans are at an increased risk of not getting enough sleep, and suffering the resulting consequences.

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expert-perspectives

Expert perspective: More can be done to improve Minnesota’s health ranking

Photo: Steve/CC 2.0/flic.kr/p/dcVwFr

The United Health Foundation recently released the 2014 edition of America’s Health Rankings and Minnesota ranks sixth overall. That’s good news, right? Well, if you consider Minnesota was the top ranked state six out of seven years from 2000-2006 and that Minnesota was ranked third in 2012 and 2013, the latest figures could be rather disappointing.

According to the report, Minnesota is doing well in many areas including:

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news-and-notes

Health Talk recommends: Sleepless in America

In previous posts, Health Talk has detailed the importance of sleep and its many health benefits. A new television series on the National Geographic Channel called “Sleepless in America” along with The Public Good Projects and National Institutes of Health highlights the need for sleep along with some of the “shocking life-threatening consequences of its absence.”

Watch this trailer for more.

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research-and-clinical-trials

In the News: U of M releases final Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study

Photo: Ed Kohler/CC 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/6Yzoqb

On a cold, windy day in Hibbing, Minn., University of Minnesota researchers released the final report from the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study which provided further analysis of lung cancer and mineral fiber exposure along with a series of recommendations to monitor and prevent disease for workers in the taconite mining industry.

The report was shared at a community meeting and allowed for former and current taconite workers, their families and community leaders to ask questions and hear the results from the study which took more than six years to complete.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Health Talk recommends: Treating diabetes with beneficial bacteria

Photo: Courtesy of OVPR

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

University of Minnesota researchers are on a mission to treat diabetes, and they’ve enlisted a few trillion microscopic helpers.

In place of drugs or surgery, a team of researchers is studying how to improve diabetes patients’ insulin sensitivity by introducing trillions of beneficial bacteria into their intestines. Researchers believe this unusual approach, conducted through a fecal microbiota transplant, could improve how the body regulates blood sugar, the central problem in diabetics. 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. As a part of MnDRIVE’s Transdisciplinary Research Program, the project will bridge multiple fields of research and bring together experts from across the U to work on the same clinical trial.

Patients with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood, which leads to a host of serious health problems, from heart disease to obesity. Dr. Alexander Khoruts, a gastroenterologist at the U of M and lead principal investigator on the project, said the right balance of bacteria has the potential to improve the body’s energy metabolism, in part by enhancing insulin function. Insulin drives glucose from blood into cells of the body.

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in-the-news

Health Talk Recommends: What’s so bad about gluten?

Bart Everson/CC 2.0/flic.kr/p/dErQ3a

If you’ve visited a grocery store or restaurant lately you’ve undoubtedly seen an increase in the amount of gluten-free food options available to you. The gluten-free food industry is exploding now, too, and according to a recent article in The New Yorker, by 2016 the gluten-free product industry will exceed $15 billion.

The article explains that gluten is one of the most commonly and heavily consumed proteins on earth, and has been for thousands of years. Gluten is created when two molecules, glutenin and gliadin, come into contact and form a bond. For the one percent of the American population with celiac disease, even the slightest exposure to gluten can trigger a violent immune system reaction that can damage the small intestine.

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