Good Question: Does hunching over smartphones hurt our spines?

[WCCO-TV, Nov. 17, 2014] According to a new study, people spend an average of 2-4 hours a day hunched over their smartphones, which puts a lot of stress on the spine.

“That is quite a lot,” said Courtney Tanaka, a physical therapist with the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. “If our postures aren’t correct in the time being, we’re going to pay for it later in life.”

Youth hockey player died of heart condition

[KMSP Fox 9, Nov. 17, 2014] Patrick Schoonover, a bantam hockey player from Eastview, Minn. tragically collapsed on the ice while playing at the Brainerd Area Civic Center on Friday, and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the 14-year-old’s death was caused by a heart condition.

That’s the most common cause of a sudden death like this in an athlete who was otherwise appearing very healthy. Dr. Jamie Peters of the Sports and Orthopedic Specialists in Edina, Minn. said in young athletes, some sounds, or murmurs, can be heard through a stethoscope to prompt further tests, but they can be hard to hear, and sometimes, they can’t be heard at all.

“There’s a lot of research ongoing right now, some of it is around screening and some if it’s around whether to do electrocardiograms, ECGs, or whether to do genetic testing, but now, there isn’t really a single test that will detect someone who’s at high risk,” Dr. Peters said.

Late-in-life: Innovations focus on care coordination and tailored support

[MinnPost, Nov. 17, 2014] Health-care organizations, including Allina Health, and others across the nation are testing innovative ideas for helping late-life patients coordinate their complex treatment regimens. At the same time, they are exploring patient-centered alternatives to the old doctor-knows-best model.

Dr. Eric Anderson

Dr. Eric Anderson

“When you tend to people’s real wishes, real goals, they make choices that work better for them and are less costly. They suffer less,” said Dr. Eric Anderson, a specialist in palliative care at Allina Health in the Twin Cities. “As we age and become ill, we all need to be seen as people.”

Anderson is the principal investigator for an Allina Health initiative called Robina LifeCourse. Launched in 2013, it is one of several efforts under way nationwide to test models for delivering more supportive, whole-person care to seriously ill patients and their families.

Read the full story at

St. Paul school kids get help with vision problems

Fourth-grader Qualktemo Kindred has his vision checked

Fourth-grader Qualktemo Kindred has his vision checked by Sarah Cooper, an Allina vision screening coordinator, who wears a plastic pig on her nose to get his attention, at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

[Pioneer Press, Nov. 17, 2014] Free eye screenings for students in St. Paul Public Schools now come with an offer to pay for doctor visits, eyeglasses and even surgery thanks to the Phillips Eye Institute‘s Early Youth Eyecare (EYE) Community Initiative.

The Phillips Eye Institute Foundation has provided free screenings and follow-up care to Minneapolis students for seven years. The group is expanding to St. Paul this year, with help from the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation, which is trying to raise $500,000 to help cover program costs for 10 years.

Mike Anderson, the schools foundation’s director, said vision problems can be a significant barrier to learning. Read the full story at

Mumps hit the Minnesota Wild

[KMSP Fox 9, Nov. 14, 2014] The Minnesota Wild are dealing with a few suspected cases of mumps after playing west coast teams with players who now have confirmed cases of mumps.

Allina Health infectious disease specialist Frank Rhame, MD,  says the  mumps in adults is nothing to take lightly.

Allina Health study finds alternative therapies ease cancer pain

Accupuncture[Star Tribune, November 4, 2014] So-called integrative therapies reduced self-reported pain levels by 47 percent and cut anxiety levels by 56 percent for cancer patients at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

The Abbott study is the largest of its kind for cancer patients and was set for publication Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs. Read the entire story at

Halloween safety

[KSTP-TV, Oct. 30, 2014] The ghosts and goblins are about to hit the streets in search of treats. Allina Health‘s manager of community health improvement, Susan Nygaard, talked with KSTP-TV’s Leah McLean about how to make it a safe Halloween.

Unity Hospital designated as Ebola treatment location

Allina Health’s Unity Hospital in Fridley was designated as one of four Minnesota hospitals to treat patients with Ebola should any cases arise. (Coon Rapids Herald photo)

[Coon Rapids Herald, Oct. 30, 2014] Under a new statewide strategy to care for Ebola patients, Unity Hospital in Fridley has been designated one of four hospitals to treat patients should any cases arise.

The Minnesota Hospital Association announced that hospitals and health systems from around the state have developed a coordinated strategy to care for Ebola patients in Minnesota.

Under the plan, all hospitals in the state will continue to be prepared to detect, isolate and initially care for suspected Ebola patients. Should a case of Ebola be identified, the patient will be treated at one of four designated hospitals. Read the whole story at

First responders ramp up for possible Ebola cases

Allina Health EMS first responders received training Tuesday on Ebola protocol. Here, Pete Cheolis, left, and Jake Shepard learned how to cocoon potential patients by wrapping them in a plastic sheet to contain any bodily fluids. (Star Tribune photo)

[Star Tribune, Oct. 29, 2014] As national, state and local leaders debate quarantines and other measures to combat Ebola, Twin Cities first responders have ­quietly introduced new protocols and reinforced existing ones.

Allina Health Emergency Medical Services, which provides ambulance service to thousands of people in suburban and rural parts of the state, has repackaged protective gear and is following the latest guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brian LaCroix, president of Allina Health EMS, said: “It’s taking the appropriate precautions, but precautions based on science, not hysteria.” Read the full story on

Twin Cities hospital gives tour of Ebola unit

[KARE-TV, Oct. 28, 2014] Unity Hospital in Fridley is one of four Minnesota hospitals designated to care for Ebola patients. It’s all part of the state’s coordinated strategy to handle the virus if it arrives here.

On Tuesday, Unity Hospital officials gave KARE 11 a tour of the rooms where patients would stay. Watch the story here.