Advancing the Science

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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June 4, 2019

Research News Roundup-May 2019

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
three male researchers in suits in lab, Dr. Gores on right

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

Mayo Clinic researchers are among international experts who presented findings at Digestive Disease Week 2019, the world's largest gathering of physicians, researchers and industry leaders in gastroenterology and related fields.

Digestive Disease Week 2019, May 18–21, 2019, featured 5,400 lectures, poster presentations and oral abstract presentations. Read the news release for more information on some of the Mayo Clinic research that was presented.


Surgical patients receiving the opioid tramadol have a somewhat higher risk of prolonged use than those receiving other common opioids, new Mayo Clinic research finds. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies tramadol as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it's considered to have a lower risk of addiction and abuse than Schedule II opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. The study was published May 14 in The BMJ.

"This data will force us to reevaluate our postsurgical prescribing guidelines," says lead author Cornelius Thiels, D.O., a general surgery resident in Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education. "And while tramadol may still be an acceptable option for some patients, our data suggests we should be as cautious with tramadol as we are with other short-acting opioids."


The drug eculizumab, a synthetic antibody that inhibits the inflammatory response, significantly reduced the risk of relapse with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. This rare but severe autoimmune inflammatory disorder can cause blindness, paralysis and death.

Mayo Clinic researchers and international collaborators report their findings in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their work also was presented in the Emerging Science Platform session, part of the American Academy of Neurology's 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia May 410.


A less-invasive mastectomy that leaves the surface of the breast intact has become a safe option for more patients, including those whose breast cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or who have risk factors for surgical complications, a Mayo Clinic study shows. In the procedure, known as a nipple-sparing mastectomy, surgeons remove breast tissue, leaving the skin, nipple and areola, and immediately rebuild the breasts. The findings were presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting. 

Researchers evaluated nipple-sparing mastectomy outcomes in 769 women who had the procedure between 2009 to 2017. In all, the surgery was performed on 1,301 breasts during the study period.


Patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis often are affected by functional disability a year or two before the disease is diagnosed, according to new Mayo Clinic research.

The results of the study, published in the June print edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggest that daily activities such as eating, dressing and walking are affected early in the course of the disease, and that most rheumatoid arthritis patients are affected by functional disability issues.


Several news releases were sent out between Friday, May 31, and Monday, June 3, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. You can read about these findings in cancer research in the Advancing the Science post Wednesday, June 5. You can also visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for these and other news releases and stories from Mayo Clinic.

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Tags: arthritis, autoimmune disorder, breast cancer, clinical trials, Cornelius Thiels, gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, minimally invasive surgery, neurology, News, ophthalmology, opioids, Research News Roundup, rheumatology, surgical outcomes

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