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.

October 9, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 10/9/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
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While Mayo Clinic has long been known as a clinical powerhouse, only more recently has the world actively noted our Research and Education shields. This increased awareness has led to visibility for both our research and our researchers in national and international news and education forums. In the past week, they have been featured in articles describing the latest migraine research, advancements in cardiovascular health, the newest findings regarding COVID-19, opioids, daylight savings time, and more.

Panel talks service gaps during pandemic

(Mankato Free Press, 10/8/2020)

Mankato community leaders used a virtual panel discussion this week to discuss how they responded to worsening health and economic gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic’s emergence earlier this year forced nonprofits, schools and medical facilities to drastically pivot to meet the needs of the people they serve. Minnesota State University’s College of Allied Health and Nursing and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences organized the panel to discuss the subject as part of a broader summit on the social determinants of health Wednesday.

… Mohamed Ibrahim, community health specialist with Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, spoke about a similar issue causing health care gaps in the Somali community. His work is aimed at bridging that gap, and he said the health system is working to hire more multi-ethnic community health workers.

“When you need to do contact tracing and getting info out you need people who know that community,” he said.

Mayo, University of Minnesota studying Trump's experimental treatment for COVID-19

(Star Tribune, 10/3/2020)

The experimental antibody treatment that President Donald Trump received for COVID-19 is the subject of an ongoing clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic and a soon-to-be launched University of Minnesota study.

Doctors say the “cocktail” of monoclonal antibodies ordered by Trump’s doctors is one of the more promising options under development in the race to find treatments for the new disease, which claimed 69 lives in Minnesota last week — the highest weekly toll since June.

Research at Mayo already is underway evaluating the antibody treatment in hospitalized patients. …

Early menopausal women experienced different changes in cognitive health imaging biomarkers based on route of delivery of hormone therapy vs. placebo in the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study, according to a speaker.

“Effects of early menopausal HT on imaging biomarkers of cognitive health differ by the formulations and administration routes,” Kejal Kantarci, MD, MS, professor of radiology and director at Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Research Center and associate director at Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, told Healio. “We are at the beginning of our investigation. More research is needed to determine the biological reasons behind brain changes during menopausal HT.” …

New guidelines reduce number of opioid pills prescribed to patients after surgery

(, 10/5/2020)

To address the opioid epidemic, surgeons have embraced guidelines to reduce the number of opioid pills they prescribe to patients after surgery, and the efforts have helped to significantly reduce the number of opioids in circulation.

But new research presented at the virtual American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2020 reports that these guidelines may be missing a small group of patients that need a greater level of pain control.

NOTE: This article quotes Cornelius Thiels, D.O., a fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He was previously a surgical fellow at Mayo Clinic and remains a research affiliate. The research was conducted at Mayo Clinic.

AHA News: Despite Recent Setbacks, Americans' Blood Pressure Has Dropped Dramatically Since 1960

(HealthDay, 10/5/2020)

Blood pressure among adults decreased significantly during a 45-year period, according to new research that may offer encouragement for the millions who continue to struggle to control their blood pressure. … Dr. Sandra Taler, a nephrologist and hypertension specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the findings are an important reminder of how far blood pressure treatment has advanced since the mid-20th century.

"There weren't a lot of drugs available in the '60s for treating high blood pressure. Now that we have more tools, the population in general is healthier, but there's still room to do better," said Taler, who was not involved in the research.

"The big message here is that if your blood pressure is not down to the current target [of less than 130 over 80], then you should go in and talk to your provider and say, 'I want to get this controlled.'" …

Biden Tested Negative. He Could Still Have the Coronavirus.

(Asharq Al-Awsat, 10/4/2020)

… A negative test tells us only one thing: That in the moment someone was tested, the swab didn’t pick up any viral particles. It doesn’t tell us the virus isn’t there at all, or that it won’t be there in a day or two, even in a few hours.

“There’s a mind-set out there that the test gives you a definitive answer: If it’s positive, you have the disease. If it’s negative, you don’t,” said Colin P. West, a physician and biostatistician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “That’s just not true.” …

Understanding the Connection Between Migraines, Posttraumatic Headaches

(AJMC, 10/7/2020)

There is no question that posttraumatic headache and migraines are related, said the head of neurology research at the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus; the unknown issue is to what extent they are related.

To what extent are posttraumatic headache (PTH) and migraine related? In a presentation at the Migraine Trust International Symposium, Todd J. Schwedt, MD, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, reviewed the similarities of various overlapping symptoms and their severity. …

Recurrent Transient Global Amnesia Is More Common in Migraineurs

(Neurology Today, 10/8/2020)

… Recurrent episodes of transient global amnesia (TGA)—a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss—are more likely in patients with a history or family history of migraine, according to what investigators believe is the largest study of its kind to date.

Mayo Clinic researchers found a personal history of migraine in 20 percent of patients with a single episode and 36.4 percent of those with recurrent episodes. A family history of migraine was documented in 167 patients (18.5 percent) with a single episode, and 44 individuals (30.8 percent) with recurrent episodes. …

Take Negative COVID-19 Tests Seriously, But Not Literally

(FiveThirtyEight, 10/7/2020)

What you can learn from the White House COVID-19 outbreak.

Kayleigh McEnany tested negative for COVID-19 last Thursday. She tested negative again on Friday. And on Saturday. And also on Sunday.

But she wasn’t negative on Monday.

… Those first few McEnany tests fall into the category of “false negatives,” said Bobbi Pritt, a microbiologist at the Mayo Clinic. She was infected, but the tests couldn’t tell that yet. …

Levosimendan Hints at Potential Benefit in Unusual Form of Heart Failure

(Medscape, 10/6/2020)

An inotropic and vasodilating drug with few clinical-trial victories in heart failure (HF) or other low-cardiac-output conditions showed some limited success in a specific subtype of HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

Patients with pulmonary hypertension on top of HFpEF (PH-HFpEF) showed improvements in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP), defined as a composite of resting and exercise readings, after six once-weekly infusions of levosimendan. Also for these patients, 6-minute walk test (6MWT) distance was significantly prolonged compared to the placebo group. …

The 6MWT improvement with levosimendan "to me is really something, because to my knowledge, this is the first medicine that has actually improved 6-minute walk distance in any patient population with HFpEF," Barry A. Borlaug, MD, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, told | Medscape Cardiology. …

Seasonal time changes losing favor as U.S. prepares to “fall back”

(Newswise via AASM, 10/6/2020)

As the U.S. prepares to “fall back” to standard time on November 1, medical experts and legislators suggest seasonal time changes are taking a toll on more than just our time. A recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that a majority of Americans (63%) support the elimination of seasonal time changes in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time. ...

“Permanent, year-round standard time is the best choice to most closely match our circadian sleep-wake cycle,” said Dr. M. Adeel Rishi, a pulmonology, sleep medicine and critical care specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and vice chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee. “Daylight saving time results in more darkness in the morning and more light in the evening, disrupting the body’s natural rhythm.” …


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Tags: About, Alzheimer's disease, amnesia, antibodies, Barry Borlaug, biomarkers, biostatistics, blood pressure, Bobbi Pritt, clinical trials, Colin West, community engagement, Cornelius Thiels, COVID-19, Findings, health disparities, heart failure, hereditary diseases, hormones, hypertension, Kejal Kantarci, M. Adeel Rishi, memory loss, menopause, migraine, Mohamed Ibrahim, News, News of the Week, opioids, pulmonology, radiology, Sandra Taler, sleep medicine, Todd Schwedt, University of Minnesota, women's health

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