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Early stroke screening: Lifesaver or money waster?

As University of Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer pointed out on his blog Wednesday, KMSP-TV reporter (and former Schwitzer student) Jeff Baillon did a terrific job earlier this week of explaining why some early screening tests — particu

The perils of being a science journalist in Britain

WOKING, ENGLAND — A few nights ago, I watched a compelling BBC2 television news report about what is being called “the biggest toxic dumping scandal of the 21st century” — the 2006 illegal offloading of toxic chemical waste in the Ivory Co

Two elderly aunts, two health systems

WOKING, ENGLAND — A few years ago, I drove my 96-year-old aunt from her assisted-living apartment to the emergency room of a Twin Cities hospital.

How engagement in the arts engages the brain

When it comes to the arts, practice not only makes perfect, it also appears to improve thinking skills — and perhaps even IQ.
That’s the hypothesis put forth in a recent article in the Dana Foundation’s online magazine Cerebrum — an article that not

No flu for you: An update

The Minnesota Department of Health this week officially classified Minnesota’s flu activity as “widespread,” medical lingo for “all over the place.” Here’s the latest on what you should know about the H1N1 pandemic.

Midnight prep football practice, and other symptoms of sports insanity

Do a lot of parents think their kid is headed for the NFL?
I’m having a hard time understanding why else you would agree to send your 17- or 18-year-old off to a season kick-off football practice that ends an hour after last call.It has been a mont

Could barefoot running save the knee?

Several years ago, during a grateful stretch of employment after the birth of my first child, I got an assignment from a glossy and hip national magazine to review trail running shoes.

Is parkour the perfect exercise or what?

It’s taken a few years, but parkour (pronounced par-KOOR), an underground sport that originated in divergent metropolitan areas throughout Paris, has come to Midwestern suburban gymnasiums.

Health treatments? Show me the evidence

Health writer and policy wonk Shannon Brownlee and University of California-Davis physician and researcher Michael Wilkes wrote an editorial in Wednesday’s Sacramento Bee that highlights, yet again, the urgent need to develop truly evidence-based gu

Weight gain: Is it all in the timing?

Bob Greene, Oprah’s personal trainer, has famously advised her (and her millions of devoted TV viewers and magazine readers) not to eat anything three hours before bedtime when trying to lose weight.He may be on to something.A new study reports that

Think living to 100 would be, well, a pain? Maybe not

Here’s some very good news for those of us hoping to stick around for a long, long time: Living into your 90s or beyond doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be spending most of those years enfeebled and frail.According to an article on the “Secrets of th

Good news for people with thunder thighs (maybe)

Get out that tape measure (again).This time, you’ll want to measure your thigh circumference.A team of Dutch researchers has found that having thinner-than-average thighs — specifically, ones that measure less than 21.6 inches — is associat

Seeing, it appears, is believing when it comes to back surgery

More news about the placebo effect: British surgeons report that patients who underwent a surgical procedure (lumbar microdiscectomy) for back pain caused by a spinal disc tear (“slipped disc”) had better outcomes when they received fragments of the

Are statistics on food allergies exaggerated?

Philadelphia writer Meredith Broussard has been on a tear in the last couple of years, trying to point out that many of the most-quoted statistics about food allergies — the ones that have been used to pass legislation on this issue — come from a si

Of bees and the health benefits of swearing

The F-bombs that an upstate New York TV anchor let loose after getting stung by a bee a few days ago while taping a news webcast (see bleeped video above) may have been just what the doctor ordered.

Drug companies desperate to figure out placebo effect

Pharmaceutical companies have discovered an unexpected nemesis in their quest to bring new drugs to market: the placebo.As Steve Silberman reports in a recent article in Wired magazine, the percentage of new pharmaceutical products being scrapped du