Fall 2023

Making headlines

The EmPATH unit at M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital serves people experiencing mental health crises in a calm, welcoming environment.

Mental health care reinvented >  M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital is one of several hospitals across the country advancing a radically new approach to psychiatric emergencies: EmPATH (short for Emergency Psychiatry Assessment, Treatment, and Healing) units, meant to create a warmer, more compassionate experience for people in crisis. In the two years since it opened, Southdale Hospital’s EmPATH unit has cared for 5,000 people. The vast majority are discharged back home, The New Yorker reported in July, instead of going on to a psychiatric facility.

Not so sweet > Through a 20-year-long study, U of M researchers have identified a link between artificial sweeteners and body fat. The research, featured by WCCO in August, showed that long-term consumption of sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin were connected to increased fat stores in the abdomen and fat within muscle, “even after accounting for other factors, including how much a person eats or the quality of one’s diet,” said the Medical School’s Brian Steffen, PhD.

Antacids and dementia > People taking a common type of acid reflux medication could face an increased risk of dementia later in life, according to a new study led by Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, MBBS, PhD, a professor in the U of M Medical School and School of Public Health. People who took prescription proton pump inhibitors for more than 4.4 years had a 33% greater likelihood of developing dementia compared to those who didn’t take that medicine, USA Today reported in August.