Weather Forecast


Health Notes: Dietitian tweets about life after stroke

An Essentia Health dietitian is taking to Twitter to chat about life after a stroke.

Bonnie Brost will participate in a national #StrokeChat on post-stroke concerns from 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the American Heart Association.

It’s the third of three Twitter chats this month hosted by the American Stroke Association. Previous topics were stroke prevention and stroke treatment and recognition.

Stroke doc joins Essentia

A stroke specialist has joined the staff of Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Dr. Ruth Thomson is Duluth’s first stroke neurologist, according to an Essentia Health news release. The subspecialty requires an additional year of training beyond the requirements for a general neurology specialty. It focuses on the care of stroke patients and learning to recognize subtle symptoms of a stroke.

Thomson, who is a North Dakota native, chose to come to St. Mary’s because it was accredited as a Primary Stroke Center in 2012, according to the news release. The hospital cared for more than 500 stroke patients last year.

It took Essentia Health six years to recruit a stroke neurologist, according to the news release. A second stroke neurologist is expected to join the staff in August.

More information is available by calling Essentia Health’s neurology department at Duluth Clinic, (218) 786-3925 or visiting

A golden place to grow old

Minnesota is a great place to be old.

So says the United Health Foundation, which ranked the state No. 1 in its 2014 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. The Minnesota Department of Health was quick to celebrate the report in a news release on Wednesday. It’s the second year for the report, the release noted, and the second year the Gopher State has topped the list.

Among other things, the report noted that Minnesota had the highest percentage of able-bodied seniors (68.2 percent), the lowest prevalence of seniors with cognitive difficulties and the second-highest rate of volunteerism (39.3 percent) among adults 65 and older.

But the report wasn’t all rosy. Obesity among older Minnesotans increased from 23.7 percent in 2013 to 26.3 percent this year, it said. And Minnesota ranked only 37th in community support for impoverished seniors.

Wisconsin ranked 10th overall, with the lowest prevalence of falls among seniors in all 50 states, the report said.

There’s probably no hometown bias, but it should be noted that the United Health Foundation is based in Minnesota.

A makeover for LSC labs

Lake Superior College will use bonding money from the state to renovate its health and science classrooms.

The bill approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton approved $5.26 million for the project, according to a news release from the college.

Classrooms, clinics and labs will be renovated in portions of the building that opened in 1986. Work will begin this summer and is expected to be completed within 18 months, said Patrick Johns, the school’s president.

The dental hygiene, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, nursing assistant and massage therapist programs will be affected. Biology and chemical labs also will be relocated and updated.

Proclaiming mental health

Duluth Mayor Don Ness will declare May to be Mental Health Month in Duluth during an educational presentation next week.

The event, hosted monthly by the Duluth area chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Miller-Dwan Rooms 1-3, 502 E. Second St. It’s free and open to the public.

The event also will feature a wellness program presented by Deb Semmelroth, assistant professor of nursing at the College of St. Scholastica, and Jan Tomaino, a nursing professional development specialist with Essentia Health.

For more information, visit or call (218) 409-6566.

Healthy choices thwarted?

More than half of Minnesotans say they face barriers to a healthy lifestyle, according to a survey released this week.

In the poll commissioned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, 91 percent of respondents said healthy choices are the sole responsibility of individuals.

But when asked what makes it difficult for them to make those choices, 58 percent said they weren’t able to walk to work or school.

In addition, the majority cited:

* Limited sidewalks and trails where they live (57 percent)

* Not able to bike to work or school (57 percent)

* Difficulty getting to stores with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables (55 percent)

* Not feeling safe biking where they live (52 percent)

Almost one in three Minnesotans (29 percent) gave their communities a grade of “C” or lower when asked about resources that support healthy choices, according to a Blue Cross news release.

In conjunction with the survey, the insurer announced a “Pulling Together Minnesota” campaign to seek to make healthy options more available. It will include advertising, a presence on social media and community events. More information is available at