Integrative health

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Earl E. Bakken

Medtronic Founder Earl A. Bakken Dies at 94

October 22, 2018

Minnesota inventor Earl E. Bakken, best known as the founder of global medical device company Medtronic, has died at his home in Hawaii. Bakken was born in Columbia Heights and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in electrical engineering in 1948. An inveterate tinkerer from an early age, Bakken invented the first wearable, battery-powered, transistorized cardiac pacemaker in 1957 at the request of University of Minnesota heart surgeon C. Walton Lillehei. A Minnesota Public Radio obituary explains that he founded Medtronic because he "saw a need for skilled maintenance and repair of electronic medical technology." Bakken noted, "'The hospitals were bringing this equipment to radio shops.'" Later in life, Bakken became a philanthropist; among his many good works was funding the University's Center for Spirituality and Healing, a Consortium member, which changed its name to honor him in 2017. Photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri via the Creative Commons.

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Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN

Kreitzer Makes the Case for Integrative Health Care

November 15, 2017

A recent conference sponsored by US News & World Report was dedicated to the "Healthcare of Tomorrow," with a focus on integrative health. According to a related article, "As health care systems work to transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, some are finding that keeping people healthy may be more cost effective that simply treating symptoms." Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, the founder and director of the Center for Spirituality & Healing (CSH) at the University of Minnesota, was among the featured speakers. She noted, "There is both a business case and a clinical case for adopting a more-holistic approach to health care. At hospitals and health care centers across the country, aromatherapy and acupressure, for example, are being used to better nausea. Mind-body interventions are being used to help patients relax. And hospitals now are being highly incentivized to use non-pharmaceutical approaches for pain management." CSH, a Consortium member, has pioneered evidence-based approaches to what is sometimes called alternative medicine, with more than 80 researchers representing the world’s diverse healing traditions and an array of scientific disciplines.

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Center for Spirituality and Healing logo

CSH Will Lead $14M NIH Study of Non-drug Treatments for Low Back Pain

September 21, 2017

The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing (CSH), a Consortium member, has been awarded the first phase of an $11.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study non-drug approaches to chronic low back pain, which could lead to reduced opioid use. Funding will support a Clinical Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh for a national multi-site clinical trial examining the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapies (SMT) and supported self-management (SSM) compared to usual medical care. An additional $2.8 million was allocated for a Data Coordinating Center (DCC) at the University of Washington. “Identifying effective management and prevention strategies for back pain is a huge challenge,” said lead investigator Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD. “By examining promising, safe and accessible non-drug treatments . . . we hope to prevent acute low back pain from becoming chronic and to reduce over-reliance on medications and unnecessary surgeries.” According to the World Health Organization, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. One study of back patients in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found more than half of the patients used opioids to treat pain.

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Earl Bakken

Center for Spirituality & Healing Renamed in Honor of Earl E. Bakken

July 18, 2017

The University of Minnesota has announced it is renaming two health-focused interdisciplinary centers, including Consortium member the Center for Spirituality & Healing (CSH), in honor of Twin Cities inventor and entrepreneur Earl E. Bakken. Bakken is the co-founder of Medtronic, is an alumnus of the U, and was an early mentor for CSH director Mary Jo Kreitzer. According to the University's announcement, "Bakken has a unique appreciation for both the art and science of health care, as demonstrated by his long-standing support for [CSH], a center focused on research, outreach and education of integrative health and wellbeing." The Medical Devices Centeran interdisciplinary program under the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, will also be renamed in Bakken's honor; in 1957, he developed the first wearable, external, battery-powered, transistorized pacemaker for Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a University of Minnesota heart surgeon.

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Mustache Dash fun run

Mindy Kurzer-led Research Inspires Major Prostate Cancer Trial

June 3, 2016

In 2013, Mindy Kurzer, PhD, published research demonstrating that "aerobic exercise influences the way our bodies break down estrogens to produce more of the ‘good’ metabolites that lower breast cancer risk." Kurzer, director of Consortium member center Healthy Foods, Health Lives, is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. The results of her 2013 study are now being deployed to see whether they can be applied to the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. “We want to actually prove [exercise] does more than just makes you feel better and actually prolongs your survival,” explained Dr. Fred Saad, MD, of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre. The University of Minnesota is leading a coalition of more than 100 researchers around the world, including those in Australia, Ireland and several Canadian provinces. The clinical trial is funded by the Movember Foundation, which raises money by sponsoring mustache-growing contests each November to foster men's health, particularly the fight against prostate and testicular cancers. Read more about the study here

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Journal of the American Medical Association logo

New Research Points to Need for Physician Vigilance on Alternative Medicine

March 30, 2016

New research by Judy Jou, PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Pamela Jo Johnson, MPH, PhD, of Consortium member the Center for Spirituality and Healing, shows that 40% of patients using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) don't disclose it to their doctors. The article, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at reasons patients gave for not sharing this information with physicians. Research found patients were more likely to discuss participation in yoga and meditation, and much less so the use of herbs and/or supplements. “Not telling primary care providers about using CAM can be dangerous, especially if the type of CAM being used creates adverse interactions with any medical treatments that a patient might be undergoing concurrently,” said Jou. Jou and Johnson concluded, "Physicians should consider more actively inquiring about patients’ use of CAM, especially for modalities likely to be medically relevant." You can learn more about how probiotic supplements and other products, some of which are popular with users of CAM, are regulated at a lecture by Prof. Diane E. Hoffmann, JD, MS (University of Maryland), on April 21. Prof. Hoffmann is a leading expert on health law and policy and will discuss the issues presented by these therapies, their marketing, and advertising, as well as possible ways to address these issues. The event is free and open to the public – register here

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Mountain glacier in Iceland

First International Integrative Nursing Symposium Held in Iceland

May 27, 2015

A wide range of health professionals gathered in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week for the inaugural International Integrative Nursing Symposium. The three-day event was attended by about 250 people and centered around improving health care by focusing on wellbeing rather than disease. Mary Jo Kreitzer, founder and director of Consortium member The Center for Spirituality and Healing, co-chaired the conference, which focused on creating relationships between healthcare professionals worldwide to teach each other about different integrative nursing methods. “We need to focus more on the art of nursing,” Kreitzer said in an article in the Minnesota Daily. “Instead of resorting to drugs or technology, we should think of the 10 other things we can do to help someone before administering a drug.”

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Doctor with patients

Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Michael Roizen Speaks at September Wellbeing Lecture

July 10, 2014

The Center for Spirituality and Healing invited Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic to speak on “Lessons Learned from the Cleveland Clinic: Achieving Wellbeing and Bending the Cost Curve.” Dr. Roizen spoke on how the Cleveland Clinic managed to change its culture to achieve large weight loss, and measurable decreases in employee smoking rates, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Read more about Dr. Roizen’s lecture.

Lecture