Recent Articles

Ebola: Fight the disease, not the victims

Countries around the world must join together to mobilize the resources; build the isolation units; supply the medicine, doctors, nurses and support personnel needed to isolate and treat those afflicted; track down and monitor those who might have been in contact; and stop the epidemic. Continue Reading →

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Is earlier puberty in today’s American kids linked to environmental issues?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers 


Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why our bodies react in certain ways to various environmental stimuli. Researchers first noticed the earlier onset of puberty in the late 1990s, and recent studies confirm the mysterious public health trend. A 2012 analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that American girls exposed to high levels of common household chemicals had their first periods seven months earlier than those with lower exposures. “This study adds to the growing body of scientific research that exposure to environmental chemicals may be associated with early puberty,” says Danielle Buttke, a researcher at CDC and lead author on the study. Continue Reading →

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Flu Fighter Clinics begin Sept. 19

Flu vaccinations offered at all Minnesota Lunds & Byerly’s stores

Flu season is returning to the Northern Hemisphere. It won’t be long before the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) start issuing weekly influenza bulletins. Don’t get caught off guard this flu season. A flu vaccination is the best defense against the respiratory virus, and now is the time to get vaccinated. Health Fair 11 and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) are once again joining forces to offer Flu Fighter Clinics across the Twin Cities region. Continue Reading →

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State bill aims for athletic concussion protection, prevention

Law would set standards for head injury care, education for student-athletes and those who work with them

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

(Originally published May 5, 2011 in the MSR)

A bill that would establish education and return-to-play standards for youth athletes following a concussion currently is moving through the Minnesota Legislature. Five states this year already passed such laws: South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Colorado

and Utah. Bill supporters are optimistic that it will be passed before this year’s session concludes in May. A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. It is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, and can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Continue Reading →

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Mother of autistic child fights for equal care

Proposed laws could disadvantage Black and  low-income people


By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer


“State legislators want to create two different healthcare policies for kids with autism: one that generously covers the privately insured, and the other that gives minimal coverage to the poor and publicly insured, but both using state funds,” says Idil Abdull of Burnsville and mother of a 10-year-old son with autism. At age 11, when Abdull came to the United States from her native country of Somalia, she knew very little English and very little about American politics. “The only thing I knew about America was Superman and Rocky [the movie], she says.”

Some 20 years plus since arriving on North American shores, Abdull is now very fluent in both English and the parlance of American politics. “If nothing else, I know how to be loud,” she says. Like many other families, Abdull says she went through a period of denial about autism. Continue Reading →

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Amicus Radius rescues girls from dead-end futures


Every year they help hundreds of girls bypass the ‘probation pipeline’
By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


“Amicus Radius, honored as 2012 Program of the Year by Minnesota Women’s Consortium…, works with teenage girls involved in the juvenile justice system.”

On the face of it, this is a press release headline congratulating a do-good, social-service organization for having its laudable initiative recognized by a prominent entity. But with a discerning look, the Radius program’s significance can’t be overstated by press-release praise. Not when it comes to making a difference in the lives of young Black girls ensnared in the legal system. Adolescent African American girls, generally speaking, are a disturbingly vulnerable bedrock of inner-city and other low-income Black communities. Make merely a few considerations. Continue Reading →

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Retired baseball player brings attention to autism


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



One in 88 U.S. children — boys are about five times more likely than girls — is diagnosed with autism according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, the federal research agency also points out that the greatest rate of increase is among Blacks and Latinos. According to, there are several reasons why Black children are not diagnosed and treated earlier, including lack of access to health care, distrust of medical professionals, racism and class. It also reports that too often Black children with autism are more often misdiagnosed with other disorders or behavioral problems, especially young Black boys at school. “There are so many dynamics to autism,” says former major league baseball player Reggie Sanders, who started the Reggie Sanders Foundation in 1992 primarily to help provide resources and promote more public awareness on autism. Continue Reading →

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