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New findings in cell communication may contribute to new cancer treatments

Image courtesy of Dr. Emil Lou

Human ovarian cancer SKOV3 OC cells (stained green) connected with immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cell stromal cells (stained red) via tunneling nanotubes.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota recently discovered cells directly transfer tumor-causing microRNAs via tunneling nanotubes. Intercellular communication among distant and proximal cells is vital to survival in multicellular organisms. This communication is also extremely important in understanding cancerous tumor growth.

Gastrointestinal oncologist Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., collaborated with assistant professor and microRNA expert Subree Subramanian, Ph.D., on the findings published in the journal Translational Research.

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Middle-aged men most likely to die from alcohol poisoning

Photo: The Bottle/CC/

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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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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Report maps complex challenges to Ebola vaccine efforts


As experimental Ebola vaccines start to head toward large clinical trials in Africa, a report released today by academic experts and a British charitable foundation spelled out the complexity of the challenges involved in providing a vaccine to help stop West Africa’s sprawling epidemic.

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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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