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expert-perspectives

Players pass more than the puck as mumps spreads through the NHL

A fever is spreading through hockey nation, but this one isn’t about fan frenzy. It’s mumps, and at least a dozen National Hockey League (NHL) players have been diagnosed.

According to the Associated Press, mumps has spread through the locker rooms of the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Minnesota Wild – where five players are reportedly ill. It isn’t clear if the teams passed the disease along with the puck during matchups or caught it in other ways.

Mumps is a disease most common among children. It is highly contagious and symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and swelling in the salivary glands. In some cases, it can have serious effects, including encephalitis, hearing loss, or even sterility in young men.

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news-and-notes

UMN mourns loss of Lee Wattenberg, M.D., recognized as the “father of chemoprevention”

The faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota are mourning the loss of cancer pioneer Lee Wattenberg, M.D. Wattenberg died December 9 at the age of 92, and will be remembered for his immense contribution to the field of chemoprevention.

Wattenberg is credited with the creation of an entire field of research in the wake of his landmark 1966 paper in Cancer Research examining the effects of certain compounds on cancer development.  This led to a new emphasis on understanding cancer prevention, including the use of foods such as cabbage and broccoli to try to prevent cancer.

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in-the-news

Health Talk Recommends: What’s so bad about gluten?

If you’ve visited a grocery store or restaurant lately you’ve undoubtedly seen an increase in the amount of gluten-free food options available to you. The gluten-free food industry is exploding now, too, and according to a recent article in The New Yorker, by 2016 the gluten-free product industry will exceed $15 billion.

The article explains that gluten is one of the most commonly and heavily consumed proteins on earth, and has been for thousands of years. Gluten is created when two molecules, glutenin and gliadin, come into contact and form a bond. For the one percent of the American population with celiac disease, even the slightest exposure to gluten can trigger a violent immune system reaction that can damage the small intestine.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Evidence based medicine applications can be applied to well-established interventions

In science and medicine, doctors utilize many kinds of evidence when making health care decisions. Known within the medical community as evidence based medicine (EBM), one of the primary goals is to improve overall decisions by the individual physicians and care team. In a previous study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers argued that some things are so obvious that they do not require ongoing research and even ridiculed the practice of evidence-based medicine.

The example they provided was not needing to judge the effectiveness of a parachute when jumping out of an airplane.

And while that may seem logical because everyone “knows” a parachute helps to improve your chances of survival when jumping from an airplane, EBM can more accurately prove this to be true.

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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: Vaccination rates are good but we can do better

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the latest vaccination numbers for more than 4.2 million kindergarteners across 49 states and the District of Columbia. The vaccination rate remains relatively high, but there are still pockets across the U.S. where vaccination rates are lower than they should be, leaving young unvaccinated children vulnerable to preventable, dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.

In a statement, the CDC said vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks can still occur where unvaccinated persons cluster in schools and communities.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, St. Jude Medical partner to tackle Parkinson’s disease, depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Inquiry.

University of Minnesota researchers and St. Jude Medical are collaborating to treat some of the most challenging and debilitating movement and neuropsychiatric disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment which uses electrical current to directly stimulate parts of the brain. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges in areas that align with Minnesota’s industries, including discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

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