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.

September 4, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 9/4/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
researcher in white coat and gloves examining something, blurry room-sized biostorage in the background

A wide range of topics were covered by news media over the last week, citing Mayo Clinic Research or including Mayo researchers' perspectives. Below are excerpts from some of these articles, as well as links to the full stories online. Read on for news about gluten-free cosmetics, daylight savings time, advances in understanding in Alzheimer's and heart disease, behind the scenes of your nostrils, and much more

… “The gene KDM6A was found to have protective effects on the brain. Thus, the more doses of the gene — i.e., XX vs. XY — the better resilience,” Michelle M. Mielke, PhD, director of the Specialized Center of Research Excellence on Sex Differences at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, told Healthline. She wasn’t involved in the study.

“A next step in this research will be to identify other genes on the X or Y chromosomes that are beneficial or detrimental to the brain,” Mielke added. This will help experts develop a “better understanding of some of the pathways that can protect the brain and therefore be potential drug targets.”

NOTE: Dr. Mielke continues her insights in the article. Read it online.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for the abolishment of seasonal time changes last week

… “Permanent, year-round standard time is the best choice to most closely match our circadian sleep-wake cycle,” M. Adeel Rishi, lead author on the AASM report and a Mayo Clinic sleep specialist, says in an accompanying statement. “Daylight saving time results in more darkness in the morning and more light in the evening, disrupting the body’s natural rhythm.

Sexual harassment is not a new or rare phenomenon in the workplace, but since the #MeToo movement began in late 2017, more victims have come forward to report allegations of harassment at work, including at health care institutions.

As a leading health care institution, Mayo Clinic has committed to a culture of fairness, equity and safety. To demonstrate its commitment and transparency, Mayo Clinic reviewed all sexual harassment complaints and investigations from September 2017 to September 2019 and published the results in an article, “Addressing Sexual Harassment in the #MeToo Era: An Institutional Approach,” in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a monthly peer-reviewed journal.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are two fatal neurodegenerative diseases marked by different clinical signs. But they are believed to be caused by a common underlying mechanism: a mutation in the C9orf72 gene that leads to the toxic accumulation of the TDP-43 protein.

Now, scientists at Mayo Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania are providing additional insight into the problem by shedding light on the role of another protein called poly(GR) in TDP-43 aggregation.

The pandemic shifted strategic focus and investments for Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic as the system sought to treat patients safely and using resources responsibly during the early days.

Operations are now returning to a more normal cadence and the health system is resuming focus on digital transformation, including its strategic partnership with Google and the roll-out of a new artificial intelligence factory. In a Sept. 1 episode of the Becker's Healthcare podcast, CIO Cris Ross discussed how the pandemic affected the health system's goals and the essential IT investments Mayo plans to make in the next year.

NOTE: A link to the podcast and transcribed interview are available online.

Clinical Trials Show Higher Spatial Resolution, Less Noise, Fewer Artifacts, And Color Capabilities in Patients’ Images

… “Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. have evaluated Siemens Healthineers’ photon-counting detector system’s performance in phantoms, cadavers, animals, and humans. Images of more than 300 patients produced with this technology consistently demonstrated that the theoretical benefits of this type of detector technology yield a number of important clinical benefits,” said Cynthia McCollough, professor of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic.

“Publications by our research team have shown improved spatial resolution, decreased radiation or iodine contrast dose requirements, and decreased levels of image noise and artifacts,” McCollough said. “Additionally, the ability to simultaneously acquire multiple 150-micron-resolution datasets, each representing a different energy spectrum, is anticipated to lead to new clinical applications.”

The natural antioxidant epicatechin significantly improves heart structure and function in young people with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) over nearly six months of treatment, a small Phase 2 study has shown. …

Epicatechin is an antioxidant compound found in wine, dark chocolate, and green tea. The Mayo Clinic and Epirium Bio are developing epicatechin as a potential treatment for FA. 

Personalized medicine approach helped reduce adverse events by 34 percent

An international, first-of-its-kind cardiology trial used personalized genetic testing to reduce by 34 per cent the number of serious adverse events following balloon angioplasty, a treatment for the most common form of heart disease. 

For patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), the choice of antiplatelet therapy can be critical to post treatment success, and to minimize the chance of heart attack or stroke.   

The TAILOR-PCI trial, co-led by principal investigators Michael Farkouh, M.D., cardiologist and Multinational Clinical Trials Chair at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and director of the Heart and Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research, University of Toronto, and Naveen Pereira, M.D., professor of medicine and cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, studied the effectiveness of genetic-guided therapy in patients that have had PCIs when compared to conventional therapy.  …

HELP Study results, evaluating levosimendan in patients with Pulmonary Hypertension and Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (PH-HFpEF), will be presented during a Late-Breaking Clinical Trial session during the HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting

… The HELP Study (Hemodynamic Evaluation of Levosimendan in PH-HFpEF) was a multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial designed to evaluate levosimendan in 36 patients with pulmonary hypertension and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (PH-HFpEF). Endpoints in the trial evaluated various invasive hemodynamic and clinical measures including a 6-minute walk test.

Detailed results of the HELP Study will be presented as a late-breaking oral abstract by Dr. Barry Borlaug, Chair for Research, Division of Circulatory Failure, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and a member of the HELP Study Steering Committee.

At the virtual Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium, Andrea Tooley, MD, offered new fellows wellness, collaboration and professional development advice to ease the transition from residency.

Tooley, who is an assistant professor of oculoplastic and orbital surgery at Mayo Clinic, where she completed her residency, reflected on her own experience in her 2-year fellowship journey in New York City.

Pets bring much joy to the lives they touch. So it should come as no surprise that the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey, which was conducted by the American Pet Products Association, found that about 85 million families in the United States own a pet. …

This is not the only health benefit pets may provide. A recent study from the Mayo Clinic, which looked at 1,800 people between the ages of 25 and 64 who had healthy hearts, found that almost half owned a dog. Having a dog was likely to spur heart-healthy behaviors, like exercising with the pet, eating well and having ideal blood sugar levels.

Beauty launches are most prominent in the skin care, color cosmetics and hair care categories.

... Despite the plethora of gluten-free products, according to the Mayo Clinic, gluten can’t be absorbed through the skin due to the very large size of gluten proteins. The health risk is accidental ingestion. 

The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is honoring Andrea J. Boon, MD, with the AANEM Scientific Award for PMR. The award recognizes mid-career members for serving as a first author, second author, or senior author on a published paper in a national or international peer-reviewed, indexed journal within the past 2 years.

Dr. Boon was awarded for her work as the senior author on a November 2018 article in Dovepress Journal of Pain Research titled, “Sensitivity of high-resolution ultrasonography in clinically diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome patients with hand pain and normal nerve conduction studies.” 

Dr. Boon saw a way for this study to have a practical effect on her everyday work.

A handful of drugs are approved in the United States to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. …

Trials take years, partly because of the need for long-term follow-up but also because it’s hard to recruit enough people who meet the criteria.

Locating them and screening them can take a long time, Smith said.

That’s why USF, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease in Miami Beach and Brain Matters Research in Stuart are Florida sites for TRC-PAD, Trial-Ready Cohort for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.

TRC-PAD is pulling together cognitively healthy volunteers who are willing to take part in clinical trials aimed at reducing risk of dementia, Smith said. They need to be at risk of memory loss for various reasons. …

… "In the present study, a family history of TGA was rare and not associated with TGA recurrence. The small number of familial cases could be because family history of TGA is not routinely investigated by clinicians or known by patients. A role for genetic factors in TGA is supported by our findings that family history of migraine was an independent risk factor for TGA recurrence. However, more long-term follow-up studies are needed to address this issue," Ken A. Morris, MD, PhD, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues wrote.

As the volume of costly new biologic oncology drugs expands, health systems increasingly are turning to automated dose rounding protocols to reduce the use of single-use vials and trim millions from their overly burdened drug budgets. …

And at Mayo Clinic, nearly $5 million was saved in the first half of 2019 alone by rounding doses of 15 biologic oncology medications. Additional savings of nearly $2.3 million were generated by dose rounding some three dozen oncolytic agents. Between biologics and oncolytics, a total of 9,814 vials were saved systemwide.

New Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) rule requires release of privacy information

… A united coalition of doctors, health care providers, and local and national medical organizations are asking Gov.Jared  Polis and the head of DORA to reject this change, and advocate for the availability of a confidential, accessible and accountable peer assistance program for Colorado’s physicians.

Signing away confidentiality and sharing mental health histories or treatment plans with the state can cost doctors not only their reputations but also their ability to safely practice medicine. Indeed, a study done for the Mayo Clinic found that “nearly 40% of physicians reported they would be reluctant to seek formal medical care for treatment of a mental health condition because of concerns about repercussions to their medical licensure.” This is another reason why confidentiality for physicians is critical. They need access to a trusted, reliable, confidential and ultimately, a peer-to-peer program when faced with a health concern.

Expanded partnership to explore deeper relationship between personalized precision nutrition and chronic disease

… The research team at the Mayo Clinic will leverage Viome’s transcriptomics technology and artificial intelligence expertise along with Mayo Clinic’s medical expertise to enable a better understanding of how nutrition affects obesity, insomnia and heart disease, and explore the effectiveness of Viome’s personalized precision nutrition as a strategy to help in treatment, and possibly even prevention, of these diseases.

A look at how voice-first technology could alter homecare

… According to CBI Insights, the voice-first market is expected to reach $49 billion worldwide. In recent years, multiple health-related voice assistants have been introduced, including by the Mayo Clinic and Boston Children’s Hospital. By 2019, it was becoming easier to ask about specific drugs online, medical transcription offerings multiplied, and organizations started to introduce voice-enabled hospital rooms, physician charting and wellness tracking
for consumers.

NOTE: The article discusses a couple of Mayo's contributions in this arena.

Even though some of them may be hard to believe, it is 100% the truth, with the necessary research to back it up.

  1. You may think your nostrils work at the same time when it comes to breathing in and out, but that is not the case.

Research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal found that nostrils take turns to breath. Every few hours, another nostril takes over and so it goes on ad Infinium.

Women in Oncology, a first-of-its kind effort from Healio, will inform, inspire, engage and empower female professionals with guidance from those who have exceled in their professional careers, mentored younger doctors, and led full and rewarding personal lives.

Healio’s Women in Oncology will advance the work of women in the field of oncology and provide essential insights for overcoming their unique challenges.

Our Peer Perspective Board, under the leadership of Consulting Medical Editor, Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, will guide us along this journey ...

NOTE: 22 women are listed as comprising the Peer Perspective Board, which includes:

"Carrie A. Thompson, MD, MS, is the residency program director and associate chair of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science’s Department of Medicine, where she also is an associate professor. She is a consultant within the division of hematology."


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Tags: About, ALS, Alzheimer's disease, amnesia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Andrea Boon, Andrea Tooley, angioplasty, artificial intelligence, Barry Borlaug, cancer, cardiology, Carrie Thompson, clinical research, Cynthia McCollough, dementia, dogs, Findings, genetic testing, genetics, gluten free, health care value, heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, insomnia, M. Adeel Rishi, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, mental health, Michelle Mielke, Naveen Pereira, News, News of the Week, obesity, oncology, ophthalmology, pain management, People, pharmacy, physician burnout, research education, stroke, women's health

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