Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

March 28th, 2017

Next generation sequencing – a game changer

By susanbuckles susanbuckles

Article by Sharon Rosen

Imagine scanning a page for errors manually one letter at a time, versus using a faster tool like spell check. That’s the difference between the first DNA sequencing methods and the new computerized machines known as next generation sequencing. It’s revolutionizing health care.

Next generation sequencing technology enables geneticists to examine all of your 22,000 genes at once. So finding a change in a gene, called a genetic variation, which causes a patient’s disease, can be done much faster and cheaper. In contrast, older sequencing methods only focus on one or a few genes at a time.

Dr. Matthew Ferber

“This new technology is constantly [...]

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March 23rd, 2017

This diet’s for you: personalized nutrition to improve your health

By susanbuckles susanbuckles

Article by Sharon Rosen

Dr. Heidi Nelson

Dr. Heidi Nelson

You may use the phrase “gut reaction” to describe what your instincts tell you about a particular situation. But it turns out that your gut offers much more than an emotional reaction – it processes food you eat in a way that is unique to you. For example, some people may feel energized and lose weight from eating a high protein and low carbohydrate diet, while others might not get the same benefit from eating the same foods. This occurs because each of us has a unique community of bacteria inside our digestive system, known as the gut microbiome. As a result, [...]

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March 21st, 2017

Building the evidence base with the Society of Behavioral Medicine

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) combines nursing, psychology, medicine and public health in an interdisciplinary forum to promote new understanding of human behavior, health and illness. At its annual meeting, March 29 – April 1, in San Diego, SBM will convene more than 2,200 behavioral and biomedical researchers and clinicians to share research, learn from each other, find ways to collaborate, and address public policy concerns.

Many different types of research will be presented by Mayo Clinic at SBM’s 38th Annual Meeting. Each finding helps to inform and influence the science of health care delivery. Collectively Mayo researchers seek to improve health and health care delivery for people everywhere.

Examples of Mayo’s work include:


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Tags: Dr Allison Holgerson, Dr Gladys Asiedu, Dr Lila Finney-Rutten, Dr Lila Rutten, Dr Shawna Ehlers, Dr Sunita Dodani, Dr Wesley Gilliam, kern center, Olivia Peavler, population health, SBM2017, Society of Behavioral Medicine

March 20th, 2017

Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., receives Director’s Award

By Megan Forliti mforliti

The Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging is pleased to announce that Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., has received the 2016 Director’s Award for his work as a researcher and program director of the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) program.

The Director’s Award is presented to investigators who show achievement in the following areas:

  • Contribution to aging research and advocacy
  • Landmark papers and achievements on aging
  • Citizenship and education

Dr. LeBrasseur oversees multidisciplinary efforts to extend health span and promote autonomy in older adults. The HAIL program is designed to translate discoveries in the biology of aging from the laboratory bench to the [...]

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Tags: Aging, awards, Director's Award, Dr Nathan LeBrasseur, Kogod Center on Aging

March 16th, 2017

Using genetic testing to transform care for neurological disorders

By susanbuckles susanbuckles

Article by Sharon Rosen


Our nervous system is made up of complex biological pathways that control everything we do, including breathing, thinking, speaking, moving and feeling. For patients suffering from a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, nerve pain (neuropathy) and dementia, the symptoms of these conditions can impact many aspects of daily life. Some patients with unexplained neurological symptoms search for years for a diagnosis and treatment.

Scientists and physicians have suspected that many neurological conditions had underlying genetic causes. The question has been how to verify that. Advances in DNA testing technology provide new, more accurate ways to pinpoint genetic variations that lead to neurological disease. Armed with [...]

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March 14th, 2017

Exploration of six alternatives nets policy that cuts surgical delay and overtime

By Adam Harringa harringaadam

Study finds one strategy decreases overtime by 52 percent with same access for patients

A few years back, the Mayo Clinic Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery approached Mayo scientists with a problem: a backlog of patients waiting for surgery. The scientists, in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, found six policies could all reduce overtime and, in turn, improve patient access to care.

What’s more, the study showed one policy reduced overtime by 52 percent.

“Overtime is a big concern for hospitals because it is both costly and often associated with dissatisfaction of doctors, nurses and staff,” the [...]

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Tags: doctor burnout, health care delivery, health care systems engineering, kern center, Mayo Clinic research, medical research, patient access

March 9th, 2017

Researchers study benefits of stretching 'microbreaks' for surgeons

By Adam Harringa harringaadam

Many surgeons spend prolonged periods in awkward positions, which increases safety concerns for patients, and can lead to long term medical ailments and burnout for doctors. So Mayo Clinic researchers have a team of surgeons performing "microbreaks" of 90 seconds or two minutes of stretching every 20 to 40 minutes. The result for many surgeons was pain reduction, especially in the shoulders and neck, and 87 percent of those surveyed said they were interested in adding microbreaks to their routine, according to a study published in February in the Annals of Surgery.

Find out more about the study in Medscape, and look for more on this subject as Mayo researchers test a web-based app [...]

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Tags: doctor burnout, health care delivery, Mayo Clinic research, medical research, population health, surgical outcomes

March 7th, 2017

Choosing Wisely—At odds with Diagnostic Accuracy?

By meghanknoedler meghanknoedler

Primary Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease where your body attacks its self.  This happens because some of the white blood cells and several proteins made by these and other cells attack on normal functioning salivary glands (i.e. those in your mouth—leading to cavities, ulcers, and tooth degradation) and tear glands (i.e. your eyes).  However, the assault does not stop at just the glands; it wreaks havoc on your entire body, making you feel tired and run down. If you have Sjögren’s syndrome you also likely have painful, swollen joints that make it hard to enjoy even everyday activities. Sjögren’s can also affect the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys as well.

The diagnosis of primary [...]

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Tags: autoimmune, Choosing Wisely, Choosing Wisely Campaign, Diagnostic Accuracy, Eric Matteson, Meghan Knoedler, Rheumatology, Rochester Epidemiology Project, Sjögren’s syndrome

March 2nd, 2017

Peritonsillar abscess management on the Emergency Department: conservative or surgical approach?

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

Author: Dante LS Souza

What is Peritonsillar Abscess?

Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a collection of pus between the capsule of the palatine tonsil and the pharyngeal muscles. It is the most common deep neck space infection, both in children (49%) and adults (30%), representing  the most frequent indication for non-elective otolaryngological hospital admissions.

According to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, the estimated annual incidence in 2013 was 19.07 per 100,000, accounting for approximately 60,000 visits to the emergency department (ED) from which 22% were admitted to the hospital.

How has it been managed?

Despite being relatively common and having the potential for severe morbidity and rare mortality, there is a wide practice variation among physicians and geographical [...]

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Tags: emergency medicine, peritonsillar abscess

February 28th, 2017

More women eligible for Herceptin, benefit uncertain

By Nicole Brudos Ferrara nicoleferrara

Updated guidelines underscore need to identify the most optimal candidates for HER2-directed therapy.

Changes to HER2 testing guidelines for breast cancer in 2013 significantly increased the number of patients who test positive for HER2 breast cancer, Mayo Clinic researchers have found.

The researchers published their HER2 breast cancer study results online July 25, 2016, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Cancers that have an excess of HER2 protein or extra copies of the HER2 gene are called HER2 positive and can be treated with drugs such as Herceptin that target the HER2 protein. HER2-positive cancers tend to be more aggressive and spread more quickly than do other breast cancers.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, cancer research, Dr Robert Jenkins, Forefront, HER2, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

February 23rd, 2017

Advancing genomics into patient care: a preview of Individualizing Medicine 2017

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

One of the highlights of the year for those of us at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is the yearly Individualizing Medicine Conference. It’s a very exciting time for us as we share with you the latest discoveries in personalized patient care. This year’s conference already has a great line up of thought-provoking keynote speakers and innovative breakout sessions that offer ways to apply the latest advancement to the medical practice.

Experts in precision medicine from around the world will share how rapid advances in genomic technology and research are providing new insights into health and disease. How are these discoveries being turned into new [...]

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Tags: Center for Individualized Medicine, genomics, Individualized Medicine, Individualizing Medicine Conference, personalized medicine

February 21st, 2017

New ray of light for those who struggle with weight loss: low-level laser therapy

By meghanknoedler meghanknoedler

The struggle to lose weight is complex and full of challenges. For those who have struggled with their weight, finding hope and solutions can be difficult despite understanding the detrimental health consequences.

There is no question that losing weight is challenging.  As a result, procedures exist that aim to remove fat cells from the body.  A well-known procedure is liposuction, a surgical procedure which requires general anesthesia. In liposuction, fat cells are suctioned out through strategically-placed incisions. It carries with it a number of risks and side effects that range from cosmetic to life threatening. An emerging alternative to liposuction is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved low-level laser therapy (LLLT); LLLT is more focused [...]

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Tags: behavioral intervention, ivana croghan, LLLT, low-level laser therapy, obesity, weight loss

February 16th, 2017

Yale and Mayo Clinic collaborate to further regulatory science

By Adam Harringa harringaadam

Author Kevin Lin, Yale Daily News staff

Funded by a United States Food and Drug Administration grant of up to $6.7 million over two years, Yale and Mayo Clinic are establishing a Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation to advance regulatory science by developing tools to measure the safety and efficacy of FDA-regulated products.

According to a press release, the Yale and Mayo Clinic CERSI aims to use real-world data to inform regulatory decision making; allow the FDA to use advanced analytic methods; and share knowledge gathered between the institutions. The Yale and Mayo Clinic CERSI is part of a larger group of national CERSIs, funded by the FDA, that are collaborations between the FDA and various [...]

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Tags: cersi, health care delivery, regulatory science, yale

February 16th, 2017

Drug combo safe for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

By Nicole Brudos Ferrara nicoleferrara


Drugs targeting the P13K-mTOR pathway add benefit when combined with standard R-CHOP therapy.


The drug everolimus can be safely combined with R-CHOP for new, untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, according to the results of a pilot study by Mayo Clinic researchers.

The researchers published their study findings in the July 2016 issue of The Lancet Haematology.

R-CHOP is a combination of drugs used to treat lymphoma that includes rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone.

Photograph of Patrick B. Johnston, M.D., Ph.D. Patrick B. Johnston, M.D., [...]

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Tags: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Dr Patrick Johnston, everolimus, Forefront, lymphoma, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, R-CHOP

February 15th, 2017

Mayo Clinic at top health care IT conference

By Adam Harringa harringaadam

Nine Mayo Clinic employees will speak at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference and exhibition in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 19-23.

Highlighting the Mayo presenters will be Mayo Clinic Chief Information Officer Christopher Ross, who will make the HIMSS preconference AsiaPac Summit keynote address The Role of Team-Based Care on the Path to Health Care Transformation.

Ross will also present on Emerging Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Healthcare IT. That session, on Feb. 20, will explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning is changing health care and data collection and analysis, and how it can be used to address problems in patient care. The session also features James Golden, [...]

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Tags: CSHCD, health care it, himss, himss17, information knowledge management, information technology, Science of health care delivery

February 14th, 2017

Is too sick to go home also too sick for the floor?

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

What patients admitted from the Emergency Department to a general floor/ward will deteriorate?

Author Shawna Bellew, MD (@SBellzMD)
“That patient is going to trigger a rapid response team activation the minute they hit the floor.”
Whether said by a nurse, a resident, or the accepting physician, most emergency medicine physicians have heard some version of this statement.

Rapid response teams (RRTs), multidisciplinary groups of providers tasked with evaluating and managing patients with signs of impending deterioration, have become ubiquitous throughout the U.S. healthcare system, partially owing to their inclusion in the 2005 Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “100,000 Lives Campaign.”

Recommendations for instituting these teams rest on the theory that early intervention can prevent further deterioration. Likewise, patients who trigger [...]

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Tags: emergency medicine, PeRRT Score, rapid response team

February 10th, 2017

Mayo Clinic physician-researchers honored by national society

By Bob Nellis bobnellis

Two Mayo Clinic researchers have been named to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, bringing the total Mayo membership in the honorary society of physician-scientists to 39. Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a pharmacologist, and Martin Fernandez-Zapico, M.D., a pancreatic cancer biologist, were named to the society from several hundred nominees nationally. The society has 3,000 members.

Read the full news release on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Learn about the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

February 9th, 2017

Paper, Paper, Paper, and all those little black dots!

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

examples of blank medical formsWhy are you asking me this again? What does this have to do with my visit today? What does my doctor do with all these forms?
These questions, and others, led researchers in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery to consider the use of ‘smart,’ digital questionnaires delivered on an IPad in the waiting room, or via text or email to a patient’s preferred device or home computer before their appointment.

Ryan J. Uitti, M.D.

“Questionnaires are designed to collect what we call ‘patient [...]

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Tags: Dr Ryan Uitti, EPROMS, Florida, kern center, patient reported outcomes, PROs

February 5th, 2017

Researchers identify unique breast microbiome

By Nicole Brudos Ferrara nicoleferrara

A team of Mayo Clinic researchers has identified evidence of bacteria in breast tissue and found differences between women with and without breast cancer.

These research findings were published in the August 3, 2016, issue of Scientific Reports.

Photograph of Tina J. Hieken, M.D.

Tina J. Hieken, M.D.

"Our research found that breast tissue samples obtained in the operating room under sterile conditions contain bacterial DNA, even when there is no sign of infection," said Tina J. Hieken, M.D., a breast surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Furthermore, we identified significant differences in the breast tissue microbiome of women with cancer versus women without cancer and the [...]

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Amy Degnim, Dr Nick Chia, Dr Tina Hieken, Forefront, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, microbiome

February 2nd, 2017

A golden age for pediatric cardiology

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young elizabethzimmermann

Mayo Clinic’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology is on a roll, according to Division Chair Frank Cetta, M.D.

“In the last two decades, we’ve really burst onto the scene,” he says. “We’re engaged in exciting research  not found elsewhere, and we offer the full spectrum of cardiac care — from fetal diagnosis through specialized treatment for children and adults with highly complex congenital conditions.”

About the clinical trials

Dr. Cetta points out several accomplishments:

  • The division has published more than 1,000 original manuscripts in the last 10 years, and several division members are editors of important textbooks in this
  • Mayo has performed more operations for [...]

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Tags: Dr Frank Cetta, Dr Jonathan Johnson, Dr Richard Bram, Mayo Clinic Alumni Magazine, pediatric cardiology, pediatric heart transplant

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