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expert-perspectives

Commentary: School of Public Health associate professor reflects on the importance of physical education in our school systems

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The following commentary was presented in December 2014 to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education by Toben Nelson, Sc.D., associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota regarding graduation requirements for physical education.

“Developing minds and bodies need to be active in order to function at their best. I am here to urge you to reconsider the decision to reduce the number of physical education (PE) credits that students must take in order to graduate from a Minneapolis public school.

In my view, reducing physical education requirements is actually counter-productive to educational goals. Physical activity is critical for physical health. But it has a wide range of other benefits. Regular activity promotes mental health, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves mood. When schools provide structured time for physical activity through physical education, students respond with improved academic performance in the classroom and on standardized test scores.

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expert-perspectives

Middle-aged men most likely to die from alcohol poisoning

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In a study released last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an average of six Americans die each day from alcohol poisoning, and the majority are middle-aged men between 35-64 years old. Alcohol poisoning is caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

The study analyzed National Vital Statistics System data, and found that three-quarters of the more than 2,200 people aged 15 and older who died of alcohol poisoning between 2010 and 2012 were between 35-64 years old.

Health Talk spoke with Toben Nelson, Sc.D., associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota about his reactions to the CDC study.

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expert-perspectives

Players pass more than the puck as mumps spreads through the NHL

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A fever is spreading through hockey nation, but this one isn’t about fan frenzy. It’s mumps, and at least a dozen National Hockey League (NHL) players have been diagnosed.

According to the Associated Press, mumps has spread through the locker rooms of the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Minnesota Wild – where five players are reportedly ill. It isn’t clear if the teams passed the disease along with the puck during matchups or caught it in other ways.

Mumps is a disease most common among children. It is highly contagious and symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and swelling in the salivary glands. In some cases, it can have serious effects, including encephalitis, hearing loss, or even sterility in young men.

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expert-perspectives

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

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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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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: The importance of contact lens care

Roosh, CC, changes made, https://flic.kr/p/6MiMrV

Everyone skimps on hygiene now and then – contact lenses included. People are too lazy to buy new contact solution, too busy to clean them properly or too forgetful to take them out before bed.

But each time these cleaning steps are skipped or forgotten, it exposes eyes to bacteria that could lead to keratitis, the inflammation of the cornea.

The cornea is the eye’s clear, dome-shaped, outermost layer, which protects the eyes and acts as the primary focusing power in vision. It’s also one of the most sensitive parts of the body, said Sara Downes, O.D., an instructor of ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota and provider at the Minnesota Lions Children’s Eye Clinic.

“The main risk factor for keratitis is wearing contact lenses and having poor contact lens hygiene,” Downes said.

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expert-perspectives

Expert Perspective: Sharable, comparable nurse data lacking in electronic health records

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Sharable, comparable nurse data is lacking in the nation’s electronic health records, according to Bonnie Westra, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor and director of the Center for Nursing Informatics at the University of Minnesota.

But it’s not for lack of nurses entering patient health information into the record. There’s arguably, in fact, too much patient data being entered.

“What we’re faced with is a challenge of how do we better streamline data, standardize terms used, and standardize documentation to better reuse the data coming in?” said Westra.

In other words, usability of the data has room to grow.

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