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Expert perspective: Who delivers babies in rural hospitals?

Since late January, when the story broke about the upcoming closure of the maternity ward at the Grand Marais hospital, I’ve been thinking a lot about pregnant women, clinicians, and hospital administrators in Grand Marais, and in other rural communities in Minnesota and beyond.  For pregnant women in rural areas and for all individuals seeking care, both access and patient safety are necessary components of effective health care systems. They are not negotiable. In order to better understand how to ensure both access and safety, we need to start with relevant information for understanding both capacity and need for care in rural communities.

Approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in a rural area, but only about 10 percent of the nation’s physicians are practicing in rural areas. Of the 2,050 rural U.S. counties, 77 percent are designated as health professional shortage areas.  A report from the Minnesota Department of Health highlights the workforce challenges and clinician shortages in Greater Minnesota.  And this is important, because rural Americans suffer worse health outcomes than those in urban areas, having higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Sexual cell fate reprogramming in mice

The sex of mammals is decided in the embryonic gonad. Until recently, scientists believed that this decision was permanent, establishing the sex of the gonad for the rest of life.

A new study led by University of Minnesota researchers shows that turning on the male sex regulatory gene DMRT1 in the ovary of mice can reprogram cell sexual identity, turning ovarian cells into their testicular counterparts, even in adults.

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research-and-clinical-trials

A Unique Approach to Preventing Infection after Kidney Transplant

Today on World Kidney Day, we are highlighting research at the University of Minnesota that shows potential to reduce infections after kidney transplants.

Inspiration struck Priya Verghese, MD, MPH, during pediatric grand rounds with UMN Medical School professor Hank Balfour, M.D. Balfour was discussing viral infections, the leading cause of disease and death in patients receiving a kidney transplant.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: New neuroimaging method to research the aging brain

Testing for age-related metabolic decline and loss of cognitive function could soon be seeing improvements.

By developing new ultrahigh field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) technologies, researchers at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota, recently investigated whether new developments could aid in better understanding aging and metabolic disorder in human brains.

Following the establishment of an in vivo assay of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) – a test that works well for human brain application – U of M researchers have developed a new testing technique.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Blood biomarkers can predict successful intensification of glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes

When treating patients with diabetes, it is important to bring blood sugars down to a normal level. However, in doing so, patients can become hypoglycemic – meaning their blood sugar has dropped below the normal level. As hypoglycemia is often dangerous and scary, fear of hypoglycemia frequently limits the ability to lower blood sugars even to normal levels.

In a recent study from the University of Minnesota, certain blood biomarkers have been found that might predict whether lowering blood sugars to near-normal levels might be associated with severe hypoglycemia, hypoglycemia requiring treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Adolescents who eat regular family meals less likely to engage in eating disorder behaviors finds University of Minnesota study

As a kid, rushing home from a friend’s house to make it to dinner on time may not have been your favorite thing to do. But, it turns out that family meal time may have been worth it after all.

According to a recent study, adolescents, especially girls, who eat more family meals are less likely to engage in harmful eating disorder behaviors. Furthermore, this protection against disordered eating behaviors was found to exist in the majority of families studied, even for adolescents whose families struggled with communication or other challenges.

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