Creating an Advance Care Plan for loved ones

[KSTP-TV, April 13, 2014] If you were taken ill and couldn’t speak for yourself, would your family or doctor know how you wanted to be cared for? They probably would if you had taken the time to make out an Advance Care Plan.

This Wednesday, April 16th, is National Health Care Decision Day and it’s meant to get us thinking about this important issue. Dr. Meena Mudkanna, a geriatrician from Allina Health, talked with KSTP’s Jessica Miles about Advance Care Planning.

Device brings hope of paralysis recovery

[KMSP Fox 9 & KARE 11, April 8, 2014] Research at the University of Louisville is being heralded as a breakthrough that is bringing hope for patients who suffered spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis because a device is helping them move again.

Although the device is still very much in the experimental phase and no one has used the word cure just yet, at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley, part of Allina Health, many patients see it as a potential life-changer.

One such patient is Todd Boser, who was paralyzed in a diving accident 24 years ago.

KARE 11 also visited the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute to report on the same story.

Health Powered Kids powers up for the future of kids health

[KARE 11, April 8, 2014] We all want our kids to make healthy choices. To help them, Allina Health has created Health Powered Kids, a free and easy online educational resource to help children and teens live healthier lives.

Susan Nygaard RN, PHN, and Manager of the Health Powered Kids program joined KARE 11 News @4 with more on Health Powered Kids.

In praise of medical scribes

Dr. Alan Bank

Dr. Alan Bank, Allina Health, United Heart & Vascular Clinic, St. Paul, Minn.

[Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2014] Dr. Alan Bank, a cardiologist at United Heart & Vascular Clinic, St. Paul, writes in the Wall Street Journal about how medical scribes are saving money and improving patient satisfaction:

We often think that a complex problem (such as health care in the U.S.) requires a complex solution (ObamaCare). Yet some important issues that are not adequately addressed with the current health-care overhaul include decreased patient and physician satisfaction, reduced access to care, and the increasing cost of care.

For instance, the electronic medical record-keeping that has been mandated as part of new health-care policy has complicated the lives of many physicians and led to substantial physician dissatisfaction. Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal online (subscription required).

Too much exercise might not be good for your heart, study suggests

Pioneer Press photo

Pioneer Press photo

[Pioneer Press, April 3, 2014] Exercise usually is regarded as good medicine for your heart, but maybe there’s such a thing as an overdose, according to a new study that involved researchers and marathoners from Minnesota.

Robert Schwartz, a Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation researcher, and his fellow researchers wrote that “an emerging body of scientific data” is starting to suggest that “chronic, high-intensity exercise” may be stressing the heart and accelerating problems like plaque build up and cardiac chamber stiffness. Read more at

Study: Marathoners have more artery plaque

[KARE-TV, March 31, 2014] It’s impressive when someone finishes a marathon. Even more impressive, are those who run marathons year after year.

But a controversial study is raising questions about health benefits of distance running. Cardiologist, Dr. Robert Schwartz of the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern, part of Allina Health, is one of the study’s authors.

Mercy Hospital named one of the best hospitals in the nation

heart_vas_120x80[North Metro TV, March 27, 2014] Mercy Hospital, part of Allina Health, was the recipient of two Truven Health awards including the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals.

“We are the only large community hospital recipient of this Top 100 hospital [award] and one of two in the state for cardiovascular 50 Hospital,” says Sara Criger, president of Mercy Hospital. See the story at

Eating fruits and vegetables linked to healthier arteries later in life

Miedema_Michael_2013_web[Science Codex, March 28, 2014] Women who ate a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables as young adults were much less likely to have plaque build-up in their arteries 20 years later compared with those who consumed lower amounts of these foods, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. This new finding reinforces the importance of developing healthy eating habits early in life.

“It’s an important question because lifestyle behaviors, such as a heart healthy diet, are the foundation of cardiovascular prevention and we need to know what dietary components are most important,” said Michael D. Miedema, M.D., M.P.H., a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, and the lead investigator of the study. Read more at

Gluten-free food defined

[KARE 11, March 25, 2014] Gluten is a hot topic these days. Maybe a friend has gone gluten-free or a family member has been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.

So, what exactly is gluten? Is it something you should give up, too?

Dr. Greg Plotnikoff from the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health joined KARE 11 News @4 to shed some light on the gluten controversy.

When cancer treatment causes ‘chemo brain’

STARlogo150x128[Minnesota Public Radio, March 21, 2014] The American Society of Clinical Oncology released a study last week suggesting the number of cancer cases will increase in the next 16 years. The study also noted the number of survivors will increase too.

One of the effects of treatment is known as “chemo brain,” or mild cognitive impairment. This happens when chemotherapy patients experience fogginess or difficulty with cognitive tasks that were once easy for them.

Mary Radomski, clinical scientist at Courage Kenny Research Center discussed some of the symptoms of chemo brain and the latest research on therapies to improve the lives of cancer survivors on The Daily Circuit. Listen at