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Preventing medical miscommunication means fewer medical errors

For a patient about to undergo surgery, a medical error is just about the last thing someone would want to worry about.

Upwards of 100,000 deaths occur in the United States each year because of medical mistakes. One of the biggest factors contributing to the problem is miscommunication or lack of communication between multiple health care professionals.

To address the problem, University of Minnesota health professional education programs are embracing the age-old mantra of learning to work together in class and competition.

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D.C. Snowy Owl Taken to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for Care

The snowy owl reportedly hit by a bus in Washington, D.C., in late January 2014 recently arrived to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for care.

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Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?

Photo: via Flickr CC

For women with epilepsy, controlling health-threatening seizures is especially important during a pregnancy.

Taking the right dose of medicine can be key… and challenging.

As a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body weight must also grow to support her baby. Consequently, a pregnant woman may require more medication to keep seizures at bay than she did pre-pregnancy. Pregnant women with epilepsy regularly visit the doctor to have blood drawn and adjust their antiepilepsy medicine dosage.

Now, new data analyses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Harvard Medical School find one fifth of pregnant women may someday be able to control seizures with fewer visits to the doctor.

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For dogs, sole gene doesn’t equate to cancer

Photo: Jellaluna via Flickr CC

If you’re a dog lover, we have some good news. It turns out that a better understanding of the mechanisms behind aging and cancer could reduce the number of canines over the age of 10 that die from cancer each year. A better understanding of those same mechanisms may even yield big news for humans down the road.

Recently, University of Minnesota researchers made a surprising discovery about one gene implicated in canine aging. Their finding centered around a gene known as “TERT.”

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Kidney stone insight in dogs could boost relief for humans, too

Photo: Chrysaora via Flickr CC

Chances are, you know someone who’s had a kidney stone. The rock-like masses of calcium oxalate can be painful – and worse, can come back time and time again. As many as one in 10 people will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime.

Today, scientists know the biggest risk factor for kidney stones is genetics. However, just which genes passed from parent to child can claim responsibility for yielding the stones down the road isn’t yet known.

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A global research network yields big results for dogs with kidney disease

Photo: wolfsavard via Flickr CC

A diagnosis of a rare kidney disease known as glomerular disease in canines used to spell uncertain and often heartbreaking news for pet owners.

Now, thanks in part to the work of one University of Minnesota researcher, that’s no longer the case. The life-threatening kidney disease, which affects a dog’s ability to filter blood, is now better understood than ever before.

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