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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: People of color still drastically underrepresented in NIH clinical trials

New numbers from the Enhancing Minority Participation in Clinical Trials (EMPaCT) consortium show less than five percent of National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial participants are non-white and less than two percent of clinical cancer research trials focus on non-white ethnic or racial groups.

Author and principal investigator Jasjit Ahluwalia, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine in the University of Minnesota of Medical School, expressed his displeasure with the results.

“These new findings highlight the continued disparities in the enrollment of ethnic minorities into clinical trials,” said Ahluwalia.  “Scientists, patients and communities must work together to ensure a reversal, to achieve our goal of health equity.”

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patient-care

U of M’s health care “big data” push to produce better patient care, research

If you’ve followed health reform efforts, you know that every policy debate and system change center around one set of objectives: better outcomes at lower costs with improved patient experiences. The “triple aim” of health care.

But often overlooked in the reform discussion is the question of just how we’ll assess the impact of system changes. How will we know what we’re doing is working? The answer, quite simply, lies in unprecedented access to data.

Through an intensive focus on data and health informatics, the University of Minnesota is front and center in shaping how data is leveraged within research and clinical care. The University has long maintained a robust health informatics program and has also made substantial investments in technology to position itself as a leader in both data collection and analysis.

Our friend and colleague Kevin Coss, from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), recently highlighted a variety of University informatics efforts in a piece for the OVPR blog Research @ the U of M. Within, Kevin quotes Dr. Genevieve Melton-Meaux of the U’s Institute for Health Informatics and the chief medical information officer for University of Minnesota Physicians, who said that the “repository and analysis of the large amounts of clinical data will help with clinical research discovery and help forecast what kind of care patients will need, which in turn improves the patient’s treatment.”

We encourage Health Talk readers to visit Kevin’s profile of University efforts within the field of health informatics. His piece can be viewed in its entirety here.

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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

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

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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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, Harvard partner in search for answers to diabetic kidney disease

Last October, Health Talk told you about a new University of Minnesota and Harvard University partnership involving a clinical trial called Preventing Early Renal Loss in Diabetes (PERL) that will help researchers gain a better understanding around improving the health of people with diabetes and kidney complications.

As part of National Kidney Month, which wraps up at the end of March, Health Talk wanted to revisit the PERL study in an effort to raise awareness on the prevalence and public health concerns that kidney disease in type 1 diabetes causes on the American public and its health system.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? Take the test and find out

Today is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up call” asking Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the ADA, 79 million Americans, or one in three adults, have prediabetes, putting adults at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Oftentimes a diabetes diagnosis comes up to 7-10 years after disease onset causing major medical complications and even death. That’s why early diagnosis is vital to successfully treat and possibly delay or prevent type 2 diabetes complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and death.

The Diabetes Risk Test is simple and you only have to answer questions like weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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