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Health Talk recommends: Sleepless in America

In previous posts, Health Talk has detailed the importance of sleep and its many health benefits. A new television series on the National Geographic Channel called “Sleepless in America” along with The Public Good Projects and National Institutes of Health highlights the need for sleep along with some of the “shocking life-threatening consequences of its absence.”

Watch this trailer for more.

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In the News: U of M releases final Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study

Photo: Ed Kohler/CC 2.0/

On a cold, windy day in Hibbing, Minn., University of Minnesota researchers released the final report from the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study which provided further analysis of lung cancer and mineral fiber exposure along with a series of recommendations to monitor and prevent disease for workers in the taconite mining industry.

The report was shared at a community meeting and allowed for former and current taconite workers, their families and community leaders to ask questions and hear the results from the study which took more than six years to complete.

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In the News: U students map Fish Town, Liberia, contribute to Ebola relief efforts

With Ebola and infectious disease response at the top of mind, University of Minnesota students and professors are evaluating what students can learn from and contribute to the west African pandemic response.

A group of juniors in the University of Minnesota’s bachelor of science in nursing program, for one, is creating maps of previously uncharted areas of Guinea and southern Liberia. Their contribution to crowd-sourced mapping tool, OpenStreetMap, is an example of a small – but vital – effort in responding to public health crises like Ebola.

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U of M expert: The importance of contact lens care

Roosh, CC, changes made,

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

Photo: Public Domain

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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Mindful eating during the holidays

Photo: Tim Sackton,, CC2.0

Thanksgiving: A time to be thankful, and oftentimes a time to overeat. No one wants to skip one of the biggest meals of the year, but keeping a mindful approach to eating can be tricky.

“The key is finding balance and making conscious choices,” said Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., R.N., founder and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing.

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