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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Unmatched insights into deep brain stimulation through MRI

U of M researchers are developing three-dimensional patient-specific anatomical models of the brain that allows physicians to identify and pinpoint an exact target location for deep brain stimulation.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a procedure that is used to treat movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. To improve symptoms, a DBS lead (insulated wire) is surgically inserted deep within the brain in sites known to control movement.

Electrical impulses are sent from the neurostimulator, also known as a brain pacemaker, to the lead implanted in the brain. The stimulation changes the pattern of electrical activity in the brain into a more normal pattern, thereby improving symptoms and returning more normal movement to patients.

Choosing the target location for the lead is of critical importance. Standard protocol among physicians around the world is to use a brain atlas developed from two French women who donated their brains to science many years ago. From there physicians superimpose the patient’s own brain MRI images and calculate a plan to implant the electrodes in the brain.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: MRI helps find cancer needle in a haystack

Photo: John Pavelka/CC by 2.0

In previous posts, Health Talk took you inside the broad capabilities and applications of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in research efforts at the U of M’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR).

According to Curtis Corum, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology in CMRR, finding small tumors can be like finding needles in a haystack. Because catching cancer early – when tumors are at their smallest – can be essential to treatment success, finding those needles is important work. So what if the task could be made less challenging? What if there was a way to remove the haystack so that only needles remained?

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M study: Increasing access to and awareness of doula support may be beneficial financially and medically

A new study shows increased access to continuous labor support from a birth doula may help decrease non-indicated cesarean births among women who desire doula care. The research was conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

A doula is a trained professional who provides support to women before, during, and after childbirth. This study examined who has access to doula care and the benefits of that access among a national sample of 2,400 women who gave birth in 2011-2012.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: More research-based evidence needed in legislative discussions about childhood obesity in Minnesota

Photo credit: Michael Hicks via Flickr

How our legislators make decisions depends on a variety of factors such as expert beliefs, constituents’ opinions, political principles and research-based evidence. And while we’d like to think more decisions are made utilizing research-based evidence, a new study by researchers at the School of Public Health and the Medical School at the University of Minnesota along with collaborators at the American Heart Association and the Public Health Law Center found only 41 percent of all formal legislative discussions over childhood obesity-related bills in Minnesota from 2007-2011 cited some form of research-based evidence.

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research-and-clinical-trials

University of Minnesota study finds mothers in poorer health are less likely to breastfeed

Photo credit: DSC_6978 via Flickr

Pediatricians agree exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life provides a wealth of benefits to a mother and child. But new research from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota finds one-third of women enter pregnancy in poorer health, and are less likely to plan to breastfeed and less successful at exclusive breastfeeding when they do plan to breastfeed their babies. The study found women who are obese, have diabetes or have hypertension were 30 percent less likely to intend to breastfeed than mothers without health complications.

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University of Minnesota research finds ACA insurance expansions reduce health care spending burdens for young adults

A new study published today in the August issue of the journal Health Affairs by Ezra Golberstein, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in collaboration with Susan Busch, Ph.D., of Yale University and Ellen Meara, Ph.D., of Dartmouth College, found the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26, was associated with significant reductions in the likelihood that young adults had to pay high out-of-pocket costs for health care.

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