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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Opioid prescriptions common among Medicare beneficiaries

The often devastating misuse of prescription opioids has slowly caught the media and public’s attention in recent years. It is estimated that opioid addiction affected nearly 2.5 million adults in the U.S. in 2014. Some estimates suggest more than 44,000 drug overdose-related deaths occurred in 2013 and nearly one-third of those deaths were attributed to prescription opioids. Furthermore, prescription opioid abuse can often lead to heroin use (and eventual addiction) when addicts can no longer get prescription medication and/or they move on to cheaper, easily accessible and stronger heroin.

Tragically, an estimated 40 people die every day from opioid drug overdoses.

The University of Minnesota is doing its part to take on this public health crisis and recently hosted Pain. Pill. Problem., an all-day conference that examined the many facets of Minnesota’s issues with opiate abuse.

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expert-perspectives

Childhood immunizations: What parents need to know

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and throughout the month Health Talk will focus on several key life stages and immunizations to keep you informed and help you cut through the clutter of misinformation available online about this critical public health issue.

Health Talk spoke with Mark Schleiss, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the University of Minnesota Medical School, and he provided some useful, reliable and scientifically proven information for parents regarding childhood immunizations.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Meningitis B vaccine study raises questions about vaccine response in recent New Jersey university outbreak

A new study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health examined a college Meningitis B outbreak  in New Jersey, and found that about a third of students who had received the Meningitis B vaccine did not have a detectable immune response to the disease.

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research-and-clinical-trials

UMN researchers connecting links to sleep issues and Parkinson’s disease

It is estimated that 50-60 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease have disordered sleep. Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota is embarking on a study that is looking at the link between abnormal muscle activity during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in people with Parkinson’s disease and how the disease progresses.

MacKinnon’s long term goal of the research is to be able to identify specific REM sleep features that are predictive of disease onset and progression, so clinicians can better diagnose and possibly treat neurological disease well before it manifests.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Health Talk recommends: Speaking for the Voiceless

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on the School of Public Health’s website.

The world is experiencing two important demographic shifts: people are living longer and our population is becoming more diverse. A growing aging population results in major implications for health systems, families, and the economy. In the United States, 80 percent of people over the age of 65 are white. By 2050, that percentage will drop to 59 while the number of Asians and Hispanics in this age group will triple.
Tetyana Shippee

At the intersection of these two major public health changes lies the research of School of Public Health Assistant Professor Tetyana Shippee. She’s working to help answer a very large question: How can we make care toward the end of life a more positive experience, regardless of race, ethnicity, or culture?

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Cigarette smoking prevalence remains high among American Indians in Hennepin County and Ramsey County

Photo: Raul Lieberwirth/CC/https://flic.kr/p/mWYqx

A recent analysis from the Tribal Tobacco Use Project Survey of 964 urban American Indian residents in Hennepin County and Ramsey County in 2011 found a high prevalence of cigarette smoking among persons aged 25-44 years (72 percent). Among all survey respondents 59 percent were current smokers, 19 percent were former smokers and 22 percent had never smoked.

Furthermore, the smoking rate and secondhand smoke exposure is still high despite being covered by Minnesota’s strong smoke-free law.

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