Wisdom of wastewater > It may be gross, but there’s a whole lot of useful information that can be mined from sewage. The U of M Medical School is tracking shed viral RNA in wastewater to predict trends in COVID-19’s spread. “We have shown repeatedly through each surge that measures of RNA in wastewater reliably predict up to two weeks in advance increases in cases,” the Medical School’s Tim Schacker, M.D., told the Star Tribune in January. The tool is accessible to the public at z.umn.edu/ww_dashboard.
Energy for the afternoon > Briefly switching away from your usual routine in the afternoon can help you refocus and re-energize, according to the mental health experts quoted in the magazine Self in February. M Health Fairview psychiatrist and Medical School associate professor Kaz Nelson, M.D., recommends taking a break to tidy or organize your space, listen to music that matches your mood, or express gratitude for someone or something.
A Texas-sized task > For the late Kent Taylor, founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse restaurants, who was profiled in Fortune in January, tinnitus was debilitating. There is no known cure, but while Taylor was searching for answers, he heard the U’s Hubert Lim, Ph.D., on a podcast and reached out. Before he died last March, Taylor gave $500,000 to further Lim’s research on a new device that could ease the ringing in the ears associated with tinnitus.