Academic Health Center
Stay Connected
research-and-clinical-trials

UMN expert: More global mental health and substance abuse research needed

In a recent review published in Nature, Mustafa al’Absi, Ph.D., director of the Duluth Medical Research Institute at the Medical School, Duluth campus, and other authors, outlined recommendations to shape the global mental health agenda.

“Mental health and substance abuse disorders have profound effects on overall health,” al’Absi said. “They are becoming a pressing global and local burden.”

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Filtered sunlight a safe, effective jaundice treatment in developing countries

New research could provide a safe, low-tech method for treating newborn jaundice. The project offers an effective and inexpensive solution for developing countries, where more than 150,000 babies each year suffer brain damage or death due to this serious health condition.

The study, published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, was led by Tina Slusher, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Two other UMN researchers, Ann Brearley, Ph.D., and Troy Lund, M.D., Ph.D., helped with the study. In addition, researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine, University of California-San Diego, and Island Maternity Hospital, Massey Street Children’s Hospital and Hearing International Nigeria in Lagos all contributed to the project.

“There are so many areas in the world where jaundice is a big concern, but access to consistent electricity or advanced medical treatments aren’t always possible,” said Slusher. “The method we’ve outlined harnesses a natural resource in sunlight, but safely, giving parents and care providers an incredibly accessible, useful tool to treat this dangerous and common illness.”

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Obesity can lead to the alteration of specific genes

In a new study from the University of Minnesota, researchers found there are numerous areas of the genome where obese and non-obese individuals differ in terms of their “methylome.”

Essentially, the researchers found that the level of DNA methylation (addition or subtraction of a methyl group on the DNA molecule) was related to level of body mass index (BMI), a marker of obesity. These differences in methylome are a type of “epigenetic” variation, which does not involve the genetic sequence itself, but rather is thought to alter which genes are turned “on” and “off” at a given point in time in a given tissue. Typical genetic sequences do differ but data shows these differences go beyond that.

Read more
beyond-minnesota

Improving dental therapy education in Rwanda

When the U.S.-based Rwanda Human Resources for Health (HRH), was tasked with rebuilding Rwanda’s only dentistry school, leaders faced a dilemma.

Dental therapists had practiced in Rwanda for several years, but their education wasn’t viewed as quite up-to-standard. HRH wanted to improve the education of dental therapy students to provide higher quality care in a clinical setting. But they didn’t have any experience with dental therapy.

They sought out Karl Self, D.D.S, Director of Dental Therapy at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry – the only dental school in the United States to train dental therapists.

Read more
beyond-minnesota

Vaccination program for pet dogs may not fully prevent lion infections in Serengeti

In June 2014, Health Talk first shared that a virus carried by domestic dogs is threatening the health of wild cats like the Serengeti lion. Now, in an update to that research, new findings led by the University of Glasgow and co-authored by the University of Minnesota suggest vaccinating domestic dogs against this virus, known as canine distemper, is not enough to keep Serengeti lions and their cohabitants, the endangered African wild dog, safe from infection.

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

UMN research finds room for improvement in Latin American & Caribbean food safety safeguards

Food safety standards can be shaky at best in developing Caribbean and Latin American regions. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated at least one-third of individuals in developing countries likely contract a foodborne illness each year. And with Latin America and the Caribbean forecasted to play a growing role in global food production and exports in the coming years, that high rate of foodborne illness is one worth paying attention to.

University of Minnesota food safety risk analyst and assistant professor, Fernando Sampedro Parra, Ph.D., has focused his sights on the problem and recently conducted first-of-its-kind research for the region.

Read more