University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Foundation
Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

May 2012 Archives

A publication for those who support lung health research, education and care at the University of Minnesota.

The latest issue of Breathing Easier is now available.

(Photo: Jim Bovin)

Gabby Burington performs in jazz and tap dancing competitions, something her mother didn’t imagine possible when Gabby was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a toddler. But this six-year-old doesn’t let her diagnosis define her or even slow her down.

(Photo: Julie Buck)

Tanner Buck, 11, is personable and polite, but plays hockey with a vengeance—he just won third place in a Wisconsin youth hockey shootout.

Tanner also has cystic fibrosis (CF) and has been treated at the University of Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis Center since he was 10 days old.

(Submitted photo)

Imagine facing the devastating diagnosis that your child has a rare condition that is fatal if left untreated...twice. For Julie and Brandon Williams, their worlds were turned upside down when both of their children, Luke and Molly, were diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

(Photo: Jim Bovin)

Rebecca and James Michael were expecting their second child in early November. But baby Emma could only wait until July 11, when she was born at one day over 23 weeks’ gestation, weighing a mere 1 pound 6 ounces.

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Seventy-five years ago, physicians couldn't rely on a CT or MRI scan to help diagnose and treat brain and nervous system diseases. Surgery often focused on immediate, practical needs, and the technology was crude. Even then, however, the diagnostic and surgical skills required for neurologic diseases differed drastically from those of general surgery. "It became increasingly difficult for general surgeons and neurosurgeons to cover for each other and provide each other the disciplinary support they needed," explains Stephen Haines, M.D., head of neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota today.

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Department of Neurosurgery chair Stephen Haines, M.D., often chats with the neurosurgery training program's oldest living graduate—his own father, a retired neurosurgeon who lives in upstate New York. Because the neurosurgery program has played such a key role in both Haineses’ lives, the two men wanted to give something back.


Support research into brain, nerve, and muscle disorders at the University of Minnesota and receive steady income for life with a charitable gift annuity. Through a simple contract, you agree to make a donation of cash, stocks, or other assets to the Minnesota Medical Foundation. In return, we agree to pay you a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.


Sufferers of Parkinson's disease, ataxia, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder take note: University of Minnesota scientists have taken an important leap forward in their effort to understand disorders that they believe are caused by faulty wiring deep in the brain. Center for Magnetic Resonance Research imaging expert Noam Harel, Ph.D., is in the spotlight after publishing research results in January about how, for the first time, he and his colleagues successfully mapped neural connections in the human basal ganglia.

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In the fight against ataxia, the University of Minnesota sits at ground zero. Nowhere else in the world do all the pieces—research, education, clinical treatment, and fundraising—come together as they do in the Twin Cities, where both the National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) and the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) are based. These organizations have long provided critical support for ataxia research at the University, where Institute for Translational Neuroscience director Harry T. Orr, Ph.D., has spent the past 25 years moving the fight forward. NAF and BAARC recently joined forces to provide Orr and his team with $100,000 to fund research focused on developing a drug to treat spinocerebellar ataxia type 1.

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University of Minnesota scientists hope that two new studies will enhance understanding of the underlying causes of Parkinson's disease, potentially leading to the development of new drug therapies and treatment options for patients. In one study, neuroscientist Michael Lee, Ph.D., and his colleagues examined one of the obvious causes of the progression of Parkinson's: dying neurons in the patient's brain.

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Mark your calendars for many upcoming events benefiting brain, nerve, and muscle health.

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