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Research snapshot: Veterans with lower socioeconomic status sleep less, may suffer related health issues

Regularly sleeping fewer than six hours per night has been linked to a number of health problems including cardiovascular disease, poor mental health, and other life-threatening diseases.

Now, new research published in the American Journal of Public Health from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota highlights socioeconomic disparities in sleep duration among veterans who served in the U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Research found these veterans are at an increased risk of not getting enough sleep, and suffering the resulting consequences.

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expert-perspectives

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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news-and-notes

Health Talk recommends: Sleepless in America

In previous posts, Health Talk has detailed the importance of sleep and its many health benefits. A new television series on the National Geographic Channel called “Sleepless in America” along with The Public Good Projects and National Institutes of Health highlights the need for sleep along with some of the “shocking life-threatening consequences of its absence.”

Watch this trailer for more.

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research-and-clinical-trials

In the News: U of M releases final Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study

On a cold, windy day in Hibbing, Minn., University of Minnesota researchers released the final report from the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study which provided further analysis of lung cancer and mineral fiber exposure along with a series of recommendations to monitor and prevent disease for workers in the taconite mining industry.

The report was shared at a community meeting and allowed for former and current taconite workers, their families and community leaders to ask questions and hear the results from the study which took more than six years to complete.

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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: The importance of contact lens care

Everyone skimps on hygiene now and then – contact lenses included. People are too lazy to buy new contact solution, too busy to clean them properly or too forgetful to take them out before bed.

But each time these cleaning steps are skipped or forgotten, it exposes eyes to bacteria that could lead to keratitis, the inflammation of the cornea.

The cornea is the eye’s clear, dome-shaped, outermost layer, which protects the eyes and acts as the primary focusing power in vision. It’s also one of the most sensitive parts of the body, said Sara Downes, O.D., an instructor of ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota and provider at the Minnesota Lions Children’s Eye Clinic.

“The main risk factor for keratitis is wearing contact lenses and having poor contact lens hygiene,” Downes said.

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news-and-notes

Mindful eating during the holidays

Thanksgiving: A time to be thankful, and oftentimes a time to overeat. No one wants to skip one of the biggest meals of the year, but keeping a mindful approach to eating can be tricky.

“The key is finding balance and making conscious choices,” said Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., R.N., founder and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing.

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