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February 1, 2018

Research News Roundup-January 2018

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

The Mayo Clinic Research News Roundup includes brief summaries and links to research news releases from the past month. It also connects readers to related resources. Read on for more information from Mayo Clinic Research.

Diverse group of work colleagues standingStanding instead of sitting for six hours a day could help people lose weight over the long term, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Time to ask your boss for a standing desk, or even one of those treadmill desks? Read the news release for more information.

Digital illustration of human brain with electrical activity in backgroundTickling the brain with low-intensity electrical stimulation in a specific area can improve verbal short-term memory. Mayo Clinic researchers report their findings in Brain.

“The most exciting finding of this research is that our memory for language information can be improved by directly stimulating this underexplored brain area,” says Michal Kucewicz, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher in the Department of Neurology and co-first author. Dr. Kucewicz compares the stimulation to “tickling” the brain.

Immunohistochemistry for HER2 shows positive cell membrane staining in this infiltrating ductal carcinomaA new test developed by researchers at Mayo Clinic shows which mutations in the BRCA2 gene make women susceptible to developing breast or ovarian cancers. The research behind the test was published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

“Certain inherited mutations in the BRCA2 gene have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer,” says Fergus Couch, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “This test offers an excellent way to predict whether individual inherited mutations cause cancer.”

x-ray of patient with multiple myeloma showing multiple punch out bone lesions

X-ray of patient with multiple myeloma showing multiple punch out bone lesions.

Patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance are at risk of progressing to multiple myeloma or a related cancer ─ even after 30 years of stability. These are the findings of a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in the Wednesday, Jan. 17, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance is a condition in which an abnormal protein, known as monoclonal protein, is found in the blood. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance usually causes no problems but may develop, over time, into multiple myeloma ─ a form of blood cancer.

Human Skeleton with Nervous System, spinal chord highlightedA study by Mayo Clinic researchers found that most patients with suspected spinal cord inflammation of unknown cause have an alternative, specific diagnosis. The research is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Our review draws attention to the critical need to properly diagnose spinal cord disease to initiate appropriate therapy early on and avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments,” says B. Mark Keegan, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and senior author.

Dr. Bu and one of his associates reviews stem cells in the new neurodegenerative lab on Florida's campus.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to allow Mayo Clinic to use an automated bioreactor-based stem cell production platform on its campus in Jacksonville, Florida. This enables the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine to produce cells from the bone marrow of a stem cell donor in quantities large enough to make several doses that can be used as treatments in clinical trials.

This automated stem cell production platform, capable of producing billions of stem cells in short periods of time, took more than four years to develop with continual oversight and evaluation by the FDA. This advancement will increase the production of clinical grade stem cells to the Florida campus, establishing it among the first automated stem cell manufacturing sites nationwide.

Woman in thoughtMayo Clinic researchers show that hysterectomy with ovarian conservation is associated with a significantly increased risk of several cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions. The findings are published in Menopause.

“This is the best data to date that shows women undergoing hysterectomy have a risk of long-term disease ─ even when both ovaries are conserved,” says Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D., study author and Mayo Clinic OB-GYN. “While women are increasingly aware that removing their ovaries poses health risks, this study suggests hysterectomy alone has risks, especially for women who undergo hysterectomy prior to age 35.”

Women in this study were identified using the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a medical records database that includes the complete inpatient and outpatient records of all medical providers in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

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Tags: B. Mark Keegan, breast cancer, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, clinical trials, Fergus Couch, Findings, hysterectomy, Innovations, Michal Kucewicz, multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, Research News Roundup, Rochester Epidemiology Project, Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, stem cells

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