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California measles outbreak reiterates importance of vaccines

Photo courtesy Flickr user Dave Haygarth

As of this morning, there are 59 confirmed cases of measles tied to the Disneyland outbreak according to NPR.

The issue does not reside in the park itself, or any other public place for that matter. Measles is one of the deadliest of all childhood rash/fever illnesses, and the disease spreads very easily. However, measles is extremely preventable with vaccination. The CDC even declared that measles was eradicated in the United States back in 2000, attributed to a “highly effective vaccination program and a strong public health system for detecting and responding to measles cases and outbreaks.”

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Promising research for a new antibiotic

Photo: NIH/NIAID https://flic.kr/p/bpzxT4

A recent study in Nature identifying a potential new antibiotic garnered a lot of attention in the media and research community. Besides identifying a new antibiotic, the study used a method that has the potential to unlock significantly more antibiotics.

Health Talk spoke about the study with Courtney Aldrich, Ph.D., associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and editor-in-chief of ACS Infectious Diseases, the first chemical-based journal on infectious diseases.

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In the news: Tips for a good night’s sleep

Photo courtesy Flickr user Matthew T Rader

It may be worth it to think twice before picking up your iPad, tablet or laptop computer before bedtime. Using technology devices with bright screens could negatively affect the amount of sleep we are getting, which in correlation affects our brain health.

In a recent interview with KARE 11, Michael Howell, M.D., director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, shared five tips concerning how to get a better night’s sleep:

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In the News: UMN researchers identify new strain of deadly pig virus in U.S.

Photo courtesy of the USDA via Flickr

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) has resulted in the deaths of millions of pigs and piglets since its introduction to the United States in early 2013. Since its introduction, the University of Minnesota has been on the frontline of PEDV disease spread prevention research with the development of rapid detection and herd surveillance tests.

University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine experts have now contributed to PEDV understanding by detecting a new, third strain of the disease on a Minnesota hog farm. The strain was found to be at least as virulent as the original strain that emerged in the U.S. in early 2013, according to Reuters.

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In the News: Best and worst diets for 2015

Photo courtesy Flickr user Jessicalettucetomato

“New year, new waistline,” seems to be the goal of many this time of year. If you’re just starting your weight-loss journey, or well into it, chances are you’ve researched which diet yields the best results.

Although dieting has a bad reputation, there are viable options for those looking to stick to an outlined plan. U.S. News & World Report recently published its results for Best Diets of 2015. Ratings are based on judgments of nutrition scientists, most of whom are academic. Topping the list for the fifth year was the DASH diet, which focuses on preventing and lowering high blood pressure while promoting weight-loss by eating a balanced diet.

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In the News: Michael Osterholm gives perspective on 2014 outbreaks

Photo courtesy of Flickr user European Commission DG ECHO

As 2014 came to an end, health officials named the last 12 months as some of the busiest for public health workers in the last decade. There were many widespread outbreaks including Enterovirus D-68, MERS, measles and Ebola, which plagued nations around the world. The spread and damage of those viruses raised concerns, and brought disease preparedness to the forefront of the health care industry.

Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., a disease specialist with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy told the Science Times, “I think what we really hit is a new normal.” Osterholm believes that health concerns could worsen in the years to come.

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