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research-and-clinical-trials

Health Talk Recommends: Electrical stimulation helps paralyzed patients move once again

Neuroscientists may have broken new ground in the fight against paralysis.

In new research published today in the journal Brain, a collaborative team of researchers from the University of Louisville, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in Russia outline how they used neuromodulation and epidural spinal cord stimulation to coax new signals from the brain to the legs of four patients previously paralyzed below the waist. Each patient’s paralysis was the result of spinal cord injury.

While the neuromodulation device was powered on and sending electrical signals down their spines, each man in the study was able to voluntarily move their limbs and support own weight. Each patient has even regained control of their bladder and bowels while regulating their own body temperature and blood pressure.

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in-the-news

D.C. Snowy Owl Soars on the Wings of Science

The physical reconditioning of a raptor patient like The Raptor Center’s snowy owl patient from Washington, D.C., prior to its release is an important step in patient rehabilitation. It must compliment the medical care provided and restore a raptor’s fitness to a level necessary for survival.

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news-and-notes

U of M psychiatry experts, Minnesota legislators align to advance first episode psychosis programs

Last weekend, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar visited the University of Minnesota Psychiatry Clinic to host a roundtable discussion around first episode psychosis and to discuss options for improving the care and long-term prognosis for patients suffering psychiatric illness.

Recent federal legislation allocated more behavioral health funding to establish new first episode programs at the state level or bolster existing programs like the one found at the University of Minnesota.

According to Charles Schulz, M.D., chair of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, Senator Klobuchar has an active interest in mental health but shares the concerns of University providers around the average time it takes patients to receive treatment from the onset of their disease, a statistic that continues to hover around a year and a half.

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research-and-clinical-trials

CMRR’s 10.5 Tesla imaging magnet project moves forward

Last December we took you inside the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research’s (CMRR) latest research project – an effort that will utilize the world’s largest imaging magnet to conduct groundbreaking brain research and human body imaging.

In case you missed it, in late 2013 the 110-ton 10.5 Tesla magnet made a spectacular month-long journey by boat across the Atlantic Ocean from England, through the Great Lakes, and finally made its way from Duluth, MN, to the University of Minnesota campus.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Active lifestyle: Good for the body and the brain

photo courtesy Dale J. Heath via flickr

University of Minnesota researchers have good news for young adults who lead an active lifestyle: By staying active today, you may actually be preserving your memory and thinking skills in middle age.

The findings are most important for the young adults on the low and moderate end of fitness; the people with higher levels of fitness are already doing it right.

“Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health,” said study author David R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes.”

Jacobs emphasizes that for those on the lower end of fitness, cardio fitness activities themselves may even not be needed; just moving around in daily life and staying active can improve your future outlook.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M researchers study “freezing of gait” in people with Parkinson’s disease

U of M researchers monitor gait initiation via high-speed cameras and electronic sensors.

As part of April’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Health Talk is taking a closer look at some current University of Minnesota research projects that will help better understand the disease and what new research can do for future treatment and intervention.

Within the U of M’s Movement Disorders Laboratory, Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Medical School’s Department of Neurology is examining “freezing of gait” – an issue seen in roughly half of all patients with Parkinson’s disease. MacKinnon and fellow researchers are hopeful new research could advance understanding of the issue.

The aforementioned “freezing of gait” is characterized by the episodic or spontaneous inability to start or maintain forward progress during walking.

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