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Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

February 6th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Dr. Mark Allen to head Society of Thoracic Surgeons

By Bob Nellis

Mark Allen, M.D.

Mark Allen, M.D.

Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon Mark S. Allen, M.D., has been elected president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons during the society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

Dr. Allen is a professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. His research at Mayo includes serving as principal investigator for a study examining whether removing all lymph nodes in the chest is more effective than removing lymph nodes selectively in patients with stage I or stage II non-small cell lung cancer; the trial is supported by the National Cancer Institute and American College of Surgeons. [...]

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Tags: Dr Mark Allen, society of thoracic surgeons, Surgery

February 3rd, 2015 · 2 Comments

“One Size Fits All” Doesn’t Apply to Quality Improvement

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young

QualityIn an era of rising health care costs, and continuing efforts to improve value for patients nationwide, we have seen the rise of a number of quality improvement and reporting efforts. In his study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, David Etzioni, M.D., and his team, illustrated that seeking a standardized solution is unlikely to provide a universal result.

The research team found no difference in postoperative outcomes over time between University HealthSystem Consortium hospitals with and without participation in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

These findings demonstrate the complexity and limitations of mandating use of national outcomes reporting structures such as NSQIP [...]

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Tags: American College of Surgeons, improvement, Kern center, NSQIP, quality, surgical outcomes, value, health care delivery, Science of health care delivery

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

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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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Tags: Big Data, collaboration, Optum Labs, partnerships

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

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