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research-and-clinical-trials

Active lifestyle: Good for the body and the brain

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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nutrition

Taking a deeper dive into the latest CDC obesity data

Given the intense volume of media coverage this week around the CDC’s latest report on obesity in the U.S., many in the public now know that obesity rates among children aged two to five have fallen over the last decade, a key takeaway from the report.

The media’s interpretation and coverage of that particular point has varied widely; some headlines celebrated the shift as a positive as others focused on the statistic as a lone bright spot among otherwise unchanging obesity rates. As is often the case, perusing multiple media stories – even around the same issue – can generate a feeling of “OK, what’s really going on?”

According to Simone French, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota epidemiologist and obesity prevention expert, a deeper dive into the study is critical for a thorough understanding of what the study actually tells us about obesity trends in the U.S. She points out that where some may see stalled obesity rates as a negative, the flat rates could actually be viewed as a sign of progress.

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expert-perspectives

The potential dangers of dramatic weight loss

It’s a sad reality, but our society remains quick to judge others deemed “too skinny” or “too fat.”

Outside of perhaps high school hallways, nowhere is societal judgment more prevalent than on social media where the weight of celebrities is debated endlessly and jokes about the weight of others are posted with reckless abandon.

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expert-perspectives

Norovirus: The worst kind of cruise ship stowaway

Imagine lounging under sunny skies aboard a cruise ship sailing through the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Sounds great, right? Except now imagine that 700 of your fellow passengers are all violently ill. Yeah, that changes things a bit.

The Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s ill-fated cruise ship, returned to port yesterday following an outbreak of norovirus among at least 630 passengers and 54 crew members. Those numbers are an unfortunate record among cruise ships over the last 20 years for the highest number of ill passengers.

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patient-care

Making your New Year’s resolutions stick

Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared on the University of Minnesota Physicians website.

Every January, we pack into gyms and health food outlets in pursuit of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, live healthier or start a fitness routine.

But a month later, many of us have given up, scaled back or ditched the yoga mat for the familiar comfort of our living room couch.

We all have a million reasons for slipping up: work, family, a bum knee or the new season of your favorite TV show. Old habits die hard, and kick-starting a new routine isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

But there are strategies and tactics you can use to maximize your potential for long-term success. Here to help is Dr. Michael Miller, a University of Minnesota Physicians psychologist and an expert in behavioral change.

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expert-perspectives

When science takes a U-turn: the peanut allergy edition

So…if you thought pregnancy + peanut butter = a child with a nut allergy, it turns out the math doesn’t quite add up. New research now suggests pregnant women who eat peanuts or tree nuts are actually less likely to give birth to children with nut allergies than women who avoid eating peanuts or tree nuts.

If it feels like another tree of conventional wisdom just fell in the internet’s dark forest of health information, we know. But scientific data can be hard to debate.

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