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Donating umbilical cord blood offers hope

Physicians at the University of Minnesota handle a bag of cord blood.

Once routinely discarded as medical waste, today the stem-cell rich blood from childbirth found in both the placenta and umbilical cord is being used to treat an array of medical conditions.

In the past, patients in need of a transplant had little or no options for obtaining stem cells. Now, if the cord blood is a “match,” doctors can use the cells for people who need blood and marrow transplants, even those with rare human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types.

Donating cord blood is fairly simple option for parents and completely harmless to the mother and child…

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In the News: U of M researcher defends bacteria zapping in foods

Did you know the Federal Food and Drug Administration has approved using nuclear energy to wipe out bacteria in dozens of foods?

If your answer is no, you’re not alone.  The process – known as irradiation – has gained support from public health officials and scientists but the public has yet to catch on.

Irradiation involves the use of radiation to wipe out pathogens in dozens of food products including oysters and imported fruits. In fact, it’s been used in other developed countries for decades without reports of human harm.

But for many, the thought of injecting food with radiation sounds like something out of a science fiction movie…

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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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U of M Medical Center recognized in national kidney transplant chain

The University of Minnesota Medical Center was recently recognized for its participation in the National Kidney Registry’s 1000th paired exchange transplant.

The Medical Center was part of a chain of ten transplants, which occurred at prominent treatment centers across the country.

Transplants first began over six years ago in February of 2008. Now, at over 1,000 successful procedures, many people have begun to live healthier lives…

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U of M study: Walking while working improves health, may boost productivity

According to new research from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, walking on a treadmill during the workday not only improves health, it can also potentially boost productivity.

Researchers outfitted 40 workstations at a Twin Cities financial services company with a computer, phone, writing area and treadmill. As subjects worked, they could adjust their walking speed up to two mph. To help gauge workout intensity, each subject was also given an energy expenditure device to be worn during work hours…

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Research Snapshot: Treatment and survival trends in patients with early laryngeal cancer

Stephanie Misono, M.D. M.P.H., and colleagues within the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and School of Medicine recently released the results of a study examining trends in treatment of people within the early stages of laryngeal cancer.

The objectives of this study were

  • To identify factors associated with treatment differences.
  • Characterize changes in treatment patterns over time.
  • Compare survival rates across treatment types in patients who received treatment.

Using a cancer surveillance database, researchers analyzed rates and trends in patients who were treated from 1995 to 2009. 10,429 adult patients diagnosed with early cancer of the larynx (voicebox) were studied…

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