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Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

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March 4, 2019

Research News Roundup-February 2019

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.

Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a gene called “UCP-1” that may predict the development of pancreatic cancer in people with type 2 diabetes. Their findings are published in Gastroenterology.

“Developing strategies for the early detection of pancreatic cancer in people without symptoms is critical for improving survival,” says Suresh Chari, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and senior author of the study.


The good news is that physician burnout appears to be improving, along with indicators for physician well-being. However, physicians remain at high risk for burnout, depression and depersonalization, compared to other professionals. Those are the updated findings from Mayo Clinic researchers and their collaborators that are published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“This is good news. It shows that burnout is being addressed nationally and programs are having some impact,” says Lotte Dyrbye, M.D., Mayo Clinic researcher and senior author of the paper. “Clearly more organizational change and more research is needed to sustain this trajectory.”

Here are some earlier stories on some of the physician wellbeing work and programs at Mayo Clinic:


Leprosy has a history that has spanned centuries and societies across the globe. Yet, it continues to be a problem — even in the modern era. Sufferers from the chronic and infectious skin disease still face the social stigma and lack of medical care that people have endured since the origins of the disease itself. Although leprosy can be treated, the World Health Organization reported 216,108 cases in 2016, with some of these patients seeking treatment at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus.

Looking at risk factors and demographic information of sufferers, researchers discuss local case studies of leprosy in the upcoming issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Yoga postures that flex the spine beyond its limits may raise the risk of compression fractures in people with thinning bones, according to research from Mayo Clinic. The results appear in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere have described injuries from yoga. This study examines injuries in people with osteoporosis and osteopenia — conditions characterized by low bone density.

This research project was just one of many at Mayo Clinic looking at complementary and integrated medicine treatments


Healthy white blood cells, called “T-cells,” play a crucial role in how the body fights follicular lymphoma. That's according to the results of a study led by Mayo Clinic hematologists Zhi Zhang Yang, M.D., and Stephen Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., that was published in Cell Reports. T-cells are a key part of the immune system and protect the body by fighting infections and cancer.

“Follicular lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that mainly involves the lymph nodes in the body,” says Dr. Yang. He says that, while the disease is quite common and has a relatively better prognosis than other cancers, it is not curable. Although many patients respond to treatment, it is common for the cancer to return after treatment.

Dr. Yang and his colleagues were interested in understanding why some patients with follicular lymphoma fare better than others with the disease. Their study found that patients who had a poor immune response to the disease exhibited a reduction in costimulatory receptors on their T-cells.


A team of Mayo Clinic researchers found Hispanic-American patients with Alzheimer’s tend to survive significantly longer with the disease than other ethnoracial groups, according to a study in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. Hispanic-Americans were found to live an average of 12 years with the disease from the time of the onset of symptoms.

This is just one of a myriad of studies that show ethnoracial differences in response to different diseases and/or treatments. The more we know about these differences - and those between men and women - the more we reinforce the idea that participation in medical research must be increased. If a study does not have enough participants to examine outcomes between different groups, results cannot be assumed to be completely generalizable.

Visit this site for more information on clinical trials at Mayo Clinic.


Induced pluripotent stem cells, the workhorse of many regenerative medicine projects, start out as differentiated cells that are reprogrammed to pluripotent stem cells by exposure to a complex set of genetic cocktails. Mayo researchers now report that using the measles virus vector; they’ve trimmed that multi-vector process with four reprogramming factors down to a single “one cycle” vector process. They say the process is safe, stable, faster and usable for clinical translation. The findings appear in the journal Gene Therapy.

In this time when the measles disease is having an unfortunate resurgence, it's nice to know that something so powerful and positive can come from the deadly virus.

If this topic interests you, here's information about some other measles virology work at Mayo Clinic:


An individualized diet based on a person's genetics, microbiome and lifestyle is more effective in controlling blood glucose (sugar) levels than one that considers only nutritional composition of food, Mayo Clinic researchers have confirmed. The research published in the Feb. 8 edition of JAMA Network Open demonstrates that each person's body responds differently to similar foods, due to the unique composition of each person's gut microbiome — the complex community of trillions of bacteria within the digestive tract.

Mayo Clinic's ability to personalize medicine and identify the best treatment for each patient comes about because of integrated research and education programs, a collegial team environment, and the application of cutting edge knowledge and technologies. If you'd like to add some no-calorie content to your diet, you can read about these programs here: www.mayo.edu.


Kidney stones are a common and painful condition, with many sufferers experiencing recurrent episodes. Most people who pass an initial stone want to know their chances of future episodes, but this has not always been easy to predict. Now Mayo Clinic researchers are tracking the familiar characteristics of kidney stone formers in an online prediction tool that could help sufferers anticipate if they'll experience future episodes. The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The researchers used linked medical records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project to conduct this study.

It may be both exciting and a bit depressing for people who will use this tool to determine when they may suffer from another kidney stone. However, Mayo's researchers are also working on ways to treat them. Here's two other recent stories describing an emerging hope in kidney stone treatment research:

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Tags: Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, gut health, integrative medicine, kidney stones, leprosy, Lotte Dyrbye, lymphoma, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, measles virus, microbiome, News, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, osteoporosis, pancreatic cancer, personalized medicine, physician burnout, Rochester Epidemiology Project, stem cells, Stephen Ansell, Suresh Chari, virology, Zhi Zhang Yang

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