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Research snapshot: Inhaler ban increases costs for asthma patients

Over 25 million people in the U.S. rely on respiratory inhalers to relieve wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and additional asthma-related symptoms. In an attempt to reduce their environmental footprint, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed a ban on the production of ozone-depleting inhalers.

This 2008 ban changed the type of albuterol inhalers available to asthma patients, and eliminated the use of inhalers with chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). These generic medications were replaced by the more expensive alternative that uses hydrofluoroalkane (HFA), a more environmentally friendly inhaler.

A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study found that this inhaler ban has been more costly, as the average asthma patient is paying twice as much for their medication. Health Talk turned to co-author of the study, Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota to help explain the ban and its costly impacts on asthma patients.

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Research Snapshot: Creating internet-based health interventions

One goal of Healthy People 2020 is to “use health communication strategies and health information technology (IT) to improve population health outcomes and health care quality, and to achieve health equity.” In order to help reach this goal, internet-based health interventions are being researched and implemented at the University of Minnesota.

study was recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research providing practical guidance for practitioners and public health researchers who wish to develop and implement internet-based health interventions (systems that allow practitioners to provide treatment and prevention programs with the use of websites, mobile texting, apps, etc.).


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In the news: Tips for a good night’s sleep

It may be worth it to think twice before picking up your iPad, tablet or laptop computer before bedtime. Using technology devices with bright screens could negatively affect the amount of sleep we are getting, which in correlation affects our brain health.

In a recent interview with KARE 11, Michael Howell, M.D., director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, shared five tips concerning how to get a better night’s sleep:

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In the news: Middle-aged Americans underestimate their future health care needs, finds University of Minnesota study

We may not want to think about it, let alone acknowledge it, but eventually we will all get older. But are we prepared for what getting older entails?

A new study published in the January issue of Health Affairs from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota shows that middle-aged adult Americans (ages 40-65) underestimate their future health care needs for long-term care services and supports. The study found 60 percent think they are unlikely to need care, while in reality only 30 percent will not need care.

Previous research indicates that as the American population ages most middle-aged individuals are under-informed about care and have made few plans such as saving money and having proper insurance to cover care needs as they arise.

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Expert perspective: More can be done to improve Minnesota’s health ranking

The United Health Foundation recently released the 2014 edition of America’s Health Rankings and Minnesota ranks sixth overall. That’s good news, right? Well, if you consider Minnesota was the top ranked state six out of seven years from 2000-2006 and that Minnesota was ranked third in 2012 and 2013, the latest figures could be rather disappointing.

According to the report, Minnesota is doing well in many areas including:

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The link between human rights and public health

Medical professionals work under a shared ethical principle: to heal. It’s a part of the Hippocratic Oath, the ethical code of conduct binding physicians and health care professionals to putting patient care first.

Clinical medicine is not just about the ethics of bedside doctoring; the practice of medicine must engage human rights to improve health, says Steven Miles, M.D., Ph.D., Maas Family Endowed Chair in Bioethics in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Bioethics.

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