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Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

January 19th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Heart Disease: Understanding the Connection

By Bob Nellis

cardio-rheumPhysicians have long known that people with rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic conditions such as lupus are more likely to die at younger ages than are those without these conditions. Even with advances in treatment, the gap in life expectancy remains.

No one knew why until 15 years ago. That’s when researchers at Mayo Clinic helped establish that people with rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of developing various types of cardiovascular disease.

“We now know that rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of heart and vascular disease,” says senior researcher Sherine E. Gabriel, M.D., a rheumatologist and epidemiologist in

Sherine Gabriel, [...]</p/>
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Tags: Cardiology, Discovery's Edge, Heart Disease, rheumatoid arthritis

January 16th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Collaborating to Enhance Patient Experience

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young


The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary- Dr. William J. Mayo, 1910

The motivation behind Mayo Clinic's many collaborative relationships is to improve patient care. These relationships are focused on finding better ways to engage patients and families in shared decision making; by identifying and implementing best practices to reduce costs and improve outcomes; by inventing new ways to deliver care through new technologies, new treatments, and developing new models of care delivery.

Collaboration starts at Mayo Clinic through the multidisciplinary, integrated care delivery model, with specialists and primary care providers, researchers and [...]

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January 15th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

A Line in the Sand – Mayo Clinic’s Role in Early Insulin Research

By Bob Nellis

Line_in_the_SandEarly in the 20th century, a desperate group of patients began appearing at Mayo Clinic in the hope that the specialists there could keep them alive. Mostly children and younger adults, they had been afflicted with a condition that only years before would have been a death sentence — type I diabetes.

Doctors at Mayo, led by endocrinologist and researcher Russell Wilder, M.D., and a handful of other centers across the country had found a drastic, but feasible method of saving many of them from this deadly disease. Dr. Wilder and his colleague, Walter Boothby, M.D., had formulated a special ketogenic diet.

Consisting of a precise proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats determined by [...]

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Tags: Diabetes, Endocrinology, history, Insulin, Mayo Clinic, medical history, research

January 5th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

The Next Generation of Biomedical Researchers: Torn by Irresistible Forces

By Bob Nellis

Katie Hartjes, Mayo graduate student

Katie Hartjes, Mayo graduate student

Hours of study, lectures to attend, research to complete, labs to monitor, data to analyze, papers to write, new solutions to old problems to noodle on. It’s just another day in the life of a biomedical research student. The to-do list never seems to end. Morning to night, seven days a week.

 The path to becoming a biomedical researcher is not for the fainthearted. It requires years of study, an insatiable curiosity and unflagging persistence in the face of failure.

 A Ph.D. candidate at Mayo Graduate School, Katherine A. Hartjes says traveling that long road has been worth it. She has [...]

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Tags: biomedical research, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Graduate School, research education

December 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

What is Big Data, and Why Do We Care in Health Care?

By Bob Nellis

Magnifying Glass over People WPBig data is a term with uncertain roots, and variable usage, but one which paints a picture of extremely large amounts of information, complex and disparate, that is difficult to analyze using traditional tools. Other challenges with big data include collection and storage, sorting and searching, sharing and individual privacy – just because you have massive amounts of information doesn’t mean you can use it effectively.

In an arena such as health care, where privacy concerns are paramount, and data collection is both disperse and diverse, it is not surprising that the challenges of using big data have – until recently – appeared to outweigh the benefits. However, as other industries [...]

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Tags: Big Data, Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic research, Science of health care delivery

December 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Plugs Into Drug Discovery

By Bob Nellis

DE_Drug_DiscoveryThe research laboratory of Mayo Clinic pediatric oncologist Richard J. Bram, M.D., Ph.D., was enjoying the kind of success many researchers hope for. His team in Rochester, Minnesota, had long been interested in studying brain tumors, particularly those in children.

“They’re the second most common malignancy in children, but the development of cures has lagged,” Dr. Bram says.

Dr. Bram’s research team made a big discovery: They found that a particular protein called cyclophilin B turned up in abundance in glioblastomas and medulloblastomas, two deadly nervous system tumors.

The protein seemed to be critical to these two cancers. “The findings suggested the protein could be a good target for a drug, selectively [...]

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Tags: biomarkers, cancer, Center for Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic, research

December 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

nuSURF Students Best Advocates for Science

By Bob Nellis

Mayo Clinic's 2014 SURF team

Mayo Clinic's 2014 SURF team

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships are awarded every year to deserving students who are interested in exploring specific topics in research. The goal, in addition to learning alongside professional medical researchers, is to determine if the students are truly interested in persuing research as a career. The students do everything a scientist does, including presenting findings at the end of their project. Mayo Clinic's bumper crop of nuSURF students (nu for nephrology and urology) did rather well this year, according to mentor Michael Romero, Ph.D.  Vanderbilt University in Nashville was the destination for Mayo's 23 SURF fellows, where they attended a two-day conference for [...]

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Tags: Mayo Clinic, research, science education, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows, SURF

December 4th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Biomarker Discovery: Staying One Step Ahead of Cancer

By Bob Nellis

DE_BiomarkerFour researchers at Mayo Clinic combined their talents to spur a “bedside to bench” movement that takes the issues they face in the clinic back to the laboratory in the hopes of discovering biomarkers to help specific patients facing difficult medical problems.

George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic’s Biomarker Discovery Program in the Center for Individualized Medicine, has joined thoracic surgeon Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., urologist R. Jeffrey Karnes, M.D., and hematopathologist Andrew L. Feldman, M.D., in harnessing the power of biomarkers to benefit their patients. This new approach to discovering medical biomarkers has led to 32 molecular cancer discoveries in 2013 alone and dozens of tests that physicians [...]

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Tags: biomarkers, cancer, Center for Individualized Medicine, Discovery's Edge, research, rochester

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