Physicians know delivering bad news is part of the job. But a diagnosis of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) can be “terrifying,” says University of Minnesota pediatric oncologist Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. EB causes the skin to slough off at the slightest touch. Wounds don’t heal, fingers fuse together, and eventually patients are unable to eat and are wheelchair bound.
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It’s Tuesday and 4-year-old Addison Brynteson has just finished her weekly medical checkup. Next stop: “Anywhere with French fries and chicken strips,” jokes her dad, Joe. Last fall, this lively preschooler was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare condition that prevents normal blood-cell production.
Grace O’Masta has come a long way from the devastating day in spring 2008 when her parents were told their month-old daughter likely wouldn’t survive the night. Born with an enlarged and weakened heart that wasn’t capable of pumping enough blood on its own, the Eagan, Minn., girl was living at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, hooked up to the Berlin Heart—a then-experimental ventricular assist device— and on the waiting list for a transplant.
Don't be mistaken: Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are distinct neurodegenerative diseases. Both involve the death of neurons, but the primary cells affected are different. But as scientists are learning more about Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, they're discovering that the diseases' pathological pathways in the brain have much more in common than was previously believed.
It seems that psychotherapy research has taken a backseat to pharmaceutical research in recent years. After all, it's comparatively easy to quantify the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals: count the milligrams, measure the drug in the blood, and then correlate the data to an outcome. But some, including Stephen Setterberg, M.D., are concerned by this trend.
When Apple, Inc., cofounder Steve Jobs paid $100,000 to have his DNA sequenced in a bid to outrun the pancreatic cancer that ultimately claimed his life, he was just one of 20 people in the entire world to have had it done. But for the general public, the benefits of DNA sequencing, which has been both time-consuming and costly, have remained largely unattainable. Until now.
On a chilly Minnesota evening last December, 16-year-old Tiffany Cowan sat uncomplainingly in Room 242 of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Memorial Building as two graduate students from the University’s Brain Plasticity Laboratory carefully attached a series of wires to her scalp and right arm.
Brian Park, a third-year medical student at the time, had seen the patient, a morbidly obese woman with CoPd and recurrent pneumonia, for three months. But he didn’t have the context he needed to understand her health struggles — until he saw her home, a very small house where she lived with at least three generations of her family, as well as several friends who tended to come and go.
At the University of Minnesota’s new AeroCore Center, researchers are thinking big by exploring the potential of particles one-billionth of a meter in size. The center has brought together researchers from the College of Pharmacy, Masonic Cancer Center, College of Science and Engineering, and Medical School to develop a new way to eradicate lung cancer cells: inhalation of nanoparticles.
Sociologist Melissa Walls, Ph.D., wants to make something clear: She’s not the story behind the $2.8 million National Institutes of Health research grant that she, a Medical School, Duluth colleague, and two other researchers were awarded last fall.
The story, as she sees it, is about adults her team will be working with to examine the ties between stress and type 2 diabetes among Native Americans — the population with the highest diabetes rate in the world.
Twenty years ago, while studying classical guitar at the University of Minnesota, Dean Harrington lost the fine motor control in the “plucking” fingers of his right hand. Soon he also found that he could no longer type efficiently on a computer and that his right forefinger would spontaneously click the mouse at inappropriate times.
At the University of Minnesota, a select group of students is swapping textbooks for English-Kannada dictionaries and boning up on Udupi cuisine for a premed course called the Global future Physician (GfP), which plays out not in the classroom but amid the cacophony of Mysore, India, and across the tribal lands of the Indian state of Karnataka.
Family physician Christopher Wenner, M.D., is also his own nurse, receptionist, accountant, and janitor. And that’s how he likes it.
Three years ago, the 1999 Medical School alumnus got fed up with the constant hurry he faced in his job with a large practice group and decided to become a solo practitioner in Cold Spring, Minn., his hometown.
The hopeful student wishing to join the first medical school class at the University of Minnesota in 1888 needed little more than a high school diploma to apply. There were no national standards for medical education at the time, and the requirements for admission and subsequent graduation were regularly debated and varied between institutions.
Parkinson’s. Alzheimer’s. Schizophrenia. Stroke. Depression. These and a host of other debilitating neurological diseases afflict one in five Americans, at a staggering economic and social cost. But University of Minnesota neuroscientists expect to reduce that burden with advances in neuromodulation — treatments, such as deep brain stimulation, that change the activity of brain circuits.
Minnesota hospitals and clinics may be forced to scale back their training programs because of 2011 state legislation that severely reduces funding to Medical education and research Costs (MERC). The cuts adversely affect University of Minnesota Medical School students and residents, partner hospitals, and, ultimately, access to health care in Minnesota.
The boards of the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Medical Foundation voted on Jan. 23 to merge into a single entity. The merger is designed to better serve University donors by providing one voice for private giving at the U and ensuring greater operational excellence in gift administration.
They knew some of their ideas would raise eyebrows. But the clinicians who got together two years ago to plan renovations for the two-floor Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Intensive Treatment Center at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital felt that a big change just might make a big difference for kids.
John and Nancy Lindahl are two of the University of Minnesota’s biggest cheerleaders. Together the two alumni successfully led a $90 million fundraising campaign for TCF Bank Stadium. Nancy also is a member of the University of Minnesota Foundation Board of Trustees, while John serves on its heart fundraising advisory committee. And through their many connections to the University over the years, they’ve only grown to appreciate it more.
One of the most important steps in pushing medical science ahead is funding talented, young researchers who bring new ideas and approaches to solving health problems. That's the thinking behind the University Pediatrics Scholars Award, which has been given annually since 1990 to at least one promising pediatrician-researcher who's getting a fledgling lab up and running.
Pastor Constance “Connie” Olson worked 70-hour weeks, tending to the needs—spiritual and otherwise—of her congregation. She was also a type 1 diabetic, suff ering from hypoglycemic unawareness. This complication meant that she didn’t experience early warning signs of dangerously low blood sugar—such as sweating, dizziness, and extreme hunger—causing her to unexpectedly have seizures and lose consciousness.