The U’s picture of health

Another semester has come and gone. While students are finishing hitting the books, researchers have been hitting the labs, and the University of Minnesota has developed new research throughout the semester. Here are some of the things theyâÄôve looked at: Mend a broken heart Professor Doris Taylor at the Stem Cell Institute is working on a new way to solve heart failure. Instead of taking drugs to try and prevent heart failure, Taylor and her team is trying to suck all of the cells from a donor heart, leaving only the extracellular matrix. TaylorâÄôs team then takes the patientâÄôs cells and inserts them back into the matrix. Her team has successfully made a ratâÄôs heart beat and is working on applying this to humans and other organs. Her team won Popular ScienceâÄôs âÄúBest of âÄô08âÄù innovation award in the health category. If this process is perfected, it could save thousands of lives, as it could suppress the need for compatible donor hearts, according to the Academic Health Center. Better ways to treat HIV Biostatistics professor James Neaton found a link between a certain HIV treatment and an increased chance of death from diseases unrelated to AIDS. A study led by Neaton that ended in 2006 hoped to compare the results of intermittent treatment for HIV with continuous treatments. Continuous HIV treatments are costly and can have unwanted side effects. Instead, the study was shut down when people who were intermittently treated had an increased risk of dying from diseases not related to AIDS. âÄú[The research] suggests that there may be a downside to HIV we did not anticipate,âÄù Neaton said. Neaton and his team of researchers found three biomarkers that were raised during intermittent treatment that led to an increased chance of inflammatory reactions and blood clots. Neaton said the study will jumpstart more research on HIV. âÄúI think what it does is it opens up new avenues for research of what HIV does,âÄù he said. Genes and cancer survival rate linked The Masonic Cancer Center found a link between a personâÄôs genes and the rate at which they survive cancer this past October. Led by professor Brian VanNess , the study looked at genetic profiles of 150 myeloma patients across the United States. They found certain genetic profiles had a higher chance of surviving cancer than others. VanNess said this research could personalize drugs for patients in the future based on their genetic profile. âÄúFrequently thereâÄôs a whole library of drugs that can be given to people,âÄù he said. âÄúThe question is which drug is the right drug for the right patient at the right dose.âÄù VanNess also said this type of research will help patients receive personalized medicine in about 10 years. âÄúWhat will drive personalized medicine is genetic profiling,âÄù he said. Stressing about your grades lowers your grades A large study by Boynton Health Service that spanned 14 Minnesota colleges and universities and 24,000 students confirms what mom and dad told us: too much TV, computer and stress lowers our grades. The survey, released in October, found that the more stressed out a student is, the worse their grades will be. The study also linked drug use and smoking tobacco, binge drinking and lack of sleep with worse grade point averages . Study coordinator Ed Ehlinger said the results of the study are being looked at across the country. âÄúWe know that various colleges are looking at the kind of support they give to the health service given this report,âÄù he said. âÄúPeople are using the data to help faculty realize they need to pay attention to the health of their students.âÄù The study also found no correlation between the number of hours worked at a job in addition to classes and a studentâÄôs GPA.