Academic Health Center
Stay Connected
expert-perspectives

What you need to know about Enterovirus D-68

robert terrell/CC 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/aE4QU

Help avoid spreading viruses by washing hands often, cleaning surfaces with antiseptic products, and properly covering coughs and sneezes.

The spread of respiratory illnesses in children across the Midwest, just as school began, has parents on edge. There’s concern over how contagious this illness might be, and whether it can be quite serious.

Enteroviruses are common viruses affecting people of all ages, but especially children. These viruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and even hand-foot-and-mouth disease. There are more than 90 different strains and these viruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and even hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The current strain causing concern is Enterovirus D-68, or EV-D68. The virus usually affects the respiratory system, causing inflammation of the small and medium airways resulting in an asthma attack-like response.

HealthTalk checked in with pediatric infectious disease physician Bazak Sharon M.D to get more on what parents need to know to help keep their families healthy.

Read more
expert-perspectives

Are ”safer” playgrounds better?

Photo courtesy Flickr user Phalinn Ooi

Parents and experts are always looking for ways to keep kids safe, but many agree the movement may have gone too far when it comes to playgrounds.

According to the New York Times, critics of new safer playgrounds say they may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears.

Read more
expert-perspectives

E. coli in our lakes: What does it really mean?

Image courtesy Death to the Stock Photo

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the personal blog of University of Minnesota associate professor of biosciences Timothy Johnson, Ph.D.
Johnson’s research at the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine includes investigations into antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, microbial communities in the animal gastrointestinal tract, and multidrug resistance of E. coli and Salmonella in both humans and animals.

If you follow the local news, or have children that love swimming, you have probably noticed an increasing number of beaches in Minnesota closed recently due to high E. coli levels. Just in Minneapolis, Lake Hiawatha Beach and Lake Calhoun’s Thomas and 32nd Street beaches were recently closed in response to high E. coli counts in the water. The simple phrase “E. coli” strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who has ever experienced gastrointestinal distress. However, it is important to understand what E. coli actually is and what “high E. coli levels” actually means to our lakes.

What is E. coliE. coli stands for Escherichia coli. This is the formal name for a species of bacteria in honor of the German-Austrian physician Theodor Escherich, who first identified the bacteria associated with digestion in infants. Here are the important take-home messages about E. coli:

Read more
expert-perspectives

U of M expert: The evidence is in (again). Vaccines are safe

Photo courtesy Flickr user Lou Bueno

In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published fraudulent evidence blaming the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination as the cause of autism in young children, prompting parents around the world to stop vaccinating their children. Despite the fact the paper was retracted, the damage was done and the anti-vaccine movement is still prevalent today.

CNN recently addressed the issue of vaccination refusal, and stated once again that children should be vaccinated. Period.

Read more
expert-perspectives

What does broccoli sprout tea have to do with cancer?

From a young age, kids are taught to eat their vegetables for the healthy benefits they pose. Now research is suggesting cruciferous vegetables like broccoli sprouts could offer more gains — cancer prevention.

Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, conducts research focusing on tobacco-related cancer prevention. He recently was part of a different kind of groundbreaking research finding the right diet has the ability to decrease risks of developing certain types of cancer.

Read more
expert-perspectives

U of M expert: Maximize your health through diet and exercise

Courtesy: Arya Ziai, Flickr

Regular exercise is extremely important for people of all ages in order to stay healthy, whether it’s running a marathon or simply setting aside time to power walk a few times per week. But knowing when to eat, what to eat and what exercises are safe at a given age can have a major impact on how someone gains muscle or loses excess fat.

In order to fully understand some variables that impact the effectiveness of a diet and exercise routine, Health Talk consulted David Jewison, M.D. in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Read more