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Legislative advisory committee pushes more support for incarcerated pregnant women

It is estimated that four percent of incarcerated women are pregnant when they enter custody. Most of the corrections facilities in Minnesota are not equipped to house pregnant women, and given their high likelihood of medical and social risk factors, many incarcerated pregnant women may be at high risk for poor health outcomes.

After passing a bill to address this disparity last spring, an advisory committee created by the legislature recommends lawmakers consider providing additional support to incarcerated pregnant and postpartum women. The initial bill established regulations on the use of restraints and mandated pregnancy tests for inmates, among other policy changes. It was a major improvement in standard of care, but more can be done, said committee lead Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

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expert-perspectives

Commentary: School of Public Health associate professor reflects on the importance of physical education in our school systems

The following commentary was presented in December 2014 to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education by Toben Nelson, Sc.D., associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota regarding graduation requirements for physical education.

“Developing minds and bodies need to be active in order to function at their best. I am here to urge you to reconsider the decision to reduce the number of physical education (PE) credits that students must take in order to graduate from a Minneapolis public school.

In my view, reducing physical education requirements is actually counter-productive to educational goals. Physical activity is critical for physical health. But it has a wide range of other benefits. Regular activity promotes mental health, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves mood. When schools provide structured time for physical activity through physical education, students respond with improved academic performance in the classroom and on standardized test scores.

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expert-perspectives

Middle-aged men most likely to die from alcohol poisoning

In a study released last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an average of six Americans die each day from alcohol poisoning, and the majority are middle-aged men between 35-64 years old. Alcohol poisoning is caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

The study analyzed National Vital Statistics System data, and found that three-quarters of the more than 2,200 people aged 15 and older who died of alcohol poisoning between 2010 and 2012 were between 35-64 years old.

Health Talk spoke with Toben Nelson, Sc.D., associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota about his reactions to the CDC study.

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in-the-news

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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u-of-m-voices

Report maps complex challenges to Ebola vaccine efforts

As experimental Ebola vaccines start to head toward large clinical trials in Africa, a report released today by academic experts and a British charitable foundation spelled out the complexity of the challenges involved in providing a vaccine to help stop West Africa’s sprawling epidemic.

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in-the-news

In the News: Best and worst diets for 2015

“New year, new waistline,” seems to be the goal of many this time of year. If you’re just starting your weight-loss journey, or well into it, chances are you’ve researched which diet yields the best results.

Although dieting has a bad reputation, there are viable options for those looking to stick to an outlined plan. U.S. News & World Report recently published its results for Best Diets of 2015. Ratings are based on judgments of nutrition scientists, most of whom are academic. Topping the list for the fifth year was the DASH diet, which focuses on preventing and lowering high blood pressure while promoting weight-loss by eating a balanced diet.

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