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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.

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outreach

‘Safety net’ health care changing lives in south Minneapolis

The “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is known nationally for great health care.

But when it comes to health disparities, Minnesota still has some growing to do. Minnesota ranked 15th nationally in health equity in The Commonwealth Fund’s latest 2014 State Scorecard.

So, Health Talk is taking a moment out, in tandem with National Health Center Week, to shine a light on one of the University of Minnesota’s own affordable and accessible health care providers. Located in south Minneapolis, the U of M Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) is on the frontline of public health care. Their work reduces health disparities, improves lives and saves costs by encouraging regular health care visits for patients, thus providing preventative care and fewer hospital and emergency room visits.

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patient-care

Some drugs may be off-label, but not off focus

Photo courtesy Flickr user Jamie

The advancement of medicine and technology have allowed doctors to find many uses for medications beyond the initially intended benefits. For example, a teenager’s alopecia was recently cured by an arthritis drug. This type of use is called “off-label drug use,” the common term for using a medication to treat or manage symptoms outside the approved uses.

Off-label drug use is more prominent than you may think. For example, aspirin helps reduce blood pressure and oral contraception can be used to treat acne or endometriosis. These are all examples of using a drug off-label.

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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.

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news-and-notes

Chronic stress, depressive symptoms, and hostility associated with increased risk of stroke

Photo courtesy Flickr user hapal

A new study from the University of Minnesota links negative emotions with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, or mini strokes) in middle-aged and older adults.

The results are published in the latest edition of the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

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patient-care

Study urges reduction in use of routine pelvic exams for women

Photo courtesy Flickr user Maggie Osterberg

After reviewing 52 past studies, researchers from the University of Minnesota and VA found little evidence to support routine pelvic exams for average-risk women with no gynecological symptoms, other than for cervical cancer screening.

For decades, providers and patients alike recognized pelvic exams as a part of a woman’s routine health exams. The study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has led to a new clinical practice guideline being issued by the American College of Physicians.

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