Kelsey Christensen


University surgeons to test first bionic eye

University of Minnesota surgeons are looking for a legally blind person willing to try a new procedure that could allow them to see light. The University announced last week that the surgeons are going to attach a new prosthetic called Argus II, which helps blind people see contrasted light and motion, to an eye once they find the right candidate. The two surgeons are hoping to start this month, making them the first in the state to attempt it.

Calorie info gets spotlight

When a Cold Stone Creamery customer orders the “Gotta Have It” size of a PB&C shake, they’re handed nearly 2,000 calories in a cup — about the suggested daily nutritional intake for a woman. But the calorie count isn’t listed on Cold Stone’s in-store menu. That will soon change, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently ruled to begin requiring restaurant chains and other food retailers of 20 or more locations to list calories on their menus and menu boards.

New study explores apparent immunity to the HIV virus

It has long been a mystery as to why a small fraction of people exposed to HIV can stay healthy despite their contact with the virus that can eventually lead to AIDS. “Most people exposed get infected, but a few do not,” said Reuben Harris, a biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics professor at the University of Minnesota. Harris and a team of University researchers recently delved into that question and discovered why HIV does not affect each person exposed to it. The results of their study were published late last month.

U and Tufts team up, trek the globe to prevent pandemics

Pandemics are always a threat, but sometimes their reality doesn’t sink in until there is a new outbreak. This year’s Ebola crisis, the virus’s largest outbreak ever, is just the latest example. But now, an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals from the University of Minnesota and Tufts University is hoping to address infectious disease outbreaks both before and after they have begun.

Learning to bring life to death

Anne Christ’s grandmother’s shaky hands that accompanied her until death were relieved as she rested in her casket, giving Christ peace and an experience that shaped her future. Christ, a University of Minnesota senior, said when her grandmother passed away, her interest in mortuary science — the study of deceased bodies — sparked. She said the mortician, who compassionately led her family through the funeral process, inspired her to pursue a career in the field. “I want people to say they had a good funeral,” Christ said.

Motion to ban e-cigs in public spaces pushes forward

Minneapolis is inching closer to banning electronic cigarettes from indoor public spaces and workplaces. Dozens of the city’s residents, business owners and medical professions gathered Monday to defend and protest e-cigarettes in a public hearing for the Minneapolis Clean Indoor Air Act Ordinance Amendment.

State prepares for shortage of doctors

The United States will be squeezed for caregivers as many physicians approach the age of retirement, according to Minnesota Needs Doctors, a coalition of teaching hospitals across the state, which includes the University of Minnesota. The group projects a national shortage of about 90,000 doctors within the next decade, and Minnesota will be left with about 2,000 physician openings. “We’re anticipating shortages,” said associate family medicine professor Kathleen Brooks.

Chemical discovery could ease Parkinson’s disease patients

Though new University of Minnesota research could break ground on treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Jackie Christensen, who was diagnosed with the illness 18 years ago, said she has a hard time imagining a fix for her daily struggles. “There’s not a short answer,” said Christensen, who is also the state of Minnesota’s director for the Parkinson’s Action Network. “I think it’s hard to find a cure because we don’t know what causes it in most cases.”

NIH-funded efforts seek support for diverse biomed research

The University of Minnesota’s Program in Health Disparities Research will share a $19.2 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health late last month that will provide professional opportunities for underrepresented researchers. When compared to their white counterparts, biomedical investigators from diverse backgrounds are not funded at the same rate. “The question of ‘why’ is what the NIH is exploring,” said Anne Marie Weber-Main, an associate professor of medicine who is helping the NIH-funded effort.

McCollum pulls out another win

The race for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district ended Tuesday when Rep. Betty McCollum, the Democratic incumbent, pulled out another win, paving the way for her continued representation of the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus in the U.S. Capitol. McCollum garnered 61.44 percent of the vote, besting Republican opponent Sharna Wahlgren, who gained 32.63 percent of support in the race.