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Research snapshot: Thirty percent of antibiotic prescribing unnecessary

Antibiotic resistance is a growing health concern in the United States, causing 23,000 fatalities annually from exposure to harmful effects, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Excessive antibiotic use is the main driver for the resistance, leading the White House to implement the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which sets the goal of decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use by 50 percent by 2020.

School of Public Health Assistant Professor, Eva Enns, Ph.D., collaborated with researchers from the CDC and various colleges around the country to determine the number of outpatient visits in which antibiotics were inappropriately prescribed. They found an estimated 30 percent of outpatient antibiotic prescribing was unnecessary in 2010-2011.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: Study finds high likelihood of over-service at alcohol establishments

Excessive alcohol consumption in bars and restaurants has been directly linked to drinking and driving and incidents of violence. Despite laws prohibiting over-service, alcohol establishments are continuing to serve obviously intoxicated customers, according to a recent study from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

“Measuring the likelihood that bars and restaurants will sell alcohol to intoxicated patrons is an important step in understanding the scope of this public health issue,” said Kathleen Lenk, M.P.H., research fellow and co-author of the study. “Preventing and reducing sales to intoxicated customers may lead to decreased alcohol-impaired driving, fatal traffic crashes, alcohol-related violence and other harms.”

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research-and-clinical-trials

Study shows CDC’s PulseNet cost-effectively prevents illness and saves money

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the School of Public Health’s blog.

A study from the School of Public Health shows that over the past 20 years, PulseNet, a foodborne outbreak surveillance system, has justified its expense by preventing thousands of bacterial infections and saving millions of dollars in medical and productivity costs.

The study, led by Professor Craig Hedberg and economist Robert Scharff from Ohio State University, was recently published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

“If it weren’t for the activity of PulseNet, we’d actually have seen an increase in infections, such as Salmonella, over time in the United States,” says Hedberg.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Many Americans don’t tell primary care physicians about complementary and alternative medicine use

More than 40 percent of Americans who use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) do not disclose it to their primary care providers.

A recent study through the School of Public Health and Center for Spirituality & Healing  looked at patients who used CAM across the U.S., and analyzed reasoning for disclosing or not disclosing that information to providers. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: UMN researchers develop unique method to analyze oxidative DNA damage in age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the developed world. To better understand the mechanisms of AMD to hopefully one day prevent and treat it, researchers in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Neurosciences have developed a unique method for analyzing oxidative damage in tiny amounts of DNA from the human eye. Results of the study were recently published in Scientific Reports.

Led by Irina Stepanov, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, the team used a highly sensitive method that can detect specific oxidative modifications in DNA. They used this method to analyze mitochondrial DNA from retinal pigment epithelium, a single cell layer from eye tissues, and compared results between samples that came from healthy eyes and those with age-related macular degeneration.

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research-and-clinical-trials

School of Public Health researcher examines impact of pets on cardiovascular risk prevention

Pets could be beneficial to our health. Think: cuddling with your dog could act as a de-stressor, which, hypothetically could reduce blood pressure and help the immune system. But some studies point to negative health impacts, too. That’s why School of Public Health researcher Pamela Schreiner, Ph.D. compared various studies on the health effects of pet ownership in relation to cardiovascular risk factors in a recent article.

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