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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.

October 26, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 10/26/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
graphic art newspaper laptop

At Mayo Clinic, patient care is evidence-based, meaning research drives the practice of medicine. Our scientists and clinician researchers are at work across the spectrum of health and the delivery of health care, seeking better outcomes and enhanced experiences while managing the total costs of care. Curable dementia, pot and opioids, childcare during COVID-19, and a dozen other subjects are covered in recent news articles highlighting Mayo Clinic Research faculty and expertise.

The dementia that can be cured

The Guardian, 10/25/2020

There are more than 200 subtypes of dementia. And researchers have found that in one, confusion and memory loss can be treated. But the trick is to spot it…

NOTE: This article includes comment from a number of experts, including Mayo Clinic's Eoin Flanagan, M.B.B.Ch.; and Sean Pittock, M.D.

10 healthcare execs share predictions for nursing in the next 5 years

Becker's Hospital Review, 10/23/2020

Ryannon Frederick, MSN, RN. Chief Nursing Officer of Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): Nursing research will experience extraordinary demand and growth driven by a realization that both complex and unmet patient needs can often be best served by the role of a professional registered nurse. Nurses are uniquely positioned to implement symptom and self-management interventions for patients and their caregivers. Significant disruption in healthcare, including increasing use of technology, will lead to a dramatic shift to understand the role of the RN in improving patient outcomes and implementing interventions using novel approaches. Nursing researchers will provide a scientific body of evidence proving equivalent, if not better, patient care outcomes that can be obtained at a lower cost than traditional models, leading to an even greater demand for the role of the professional nurse in patient care. 

NOTE: In addition to Mayo's Ryannon Frederick, this article contains comments from nine other executive-level nurses from around the U.S.

Harnessing the Microbiome to Understand Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatology Advisor, 10/23/2020

There is growing evidence – both in animal models and humans – to suggest the significant role of the microbiome in the etiology of rheumatic diseases. Over the years, multiple microbial agents and changes in the composition of the microbiota have been associated with specific autoimmune diseases, only emphasizing the importance of the microbiome in rheumatology research today. …

NOTE: This podcast features Maximilian Konig, M.D., Johns Hopkins, and Mayo Clinic immunologist Veena Taneja, Ph.D.

COVID-19 and child care: What the latest research says

The Washington Post (via IBJ), 10/25/2020

… “There is definite evidence that kids can and do have higher viral loads, but less evidence epidemiologically that this translates into the ‘super spreaders’ situation that was feared months ago,” John O’Horo, an infectious-disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wrote in an email.

Young children may have differences in their immune systems, or their smaller lungs could make it harder for them to breathe out infectious particles as far, O’Horo said in a phone interview. Whatever the case may be, it appears that “very small kids are not very efficient at transmitting virus the way that older kids and adults are,” he said.

NOTE: Dr. O'Horo's comments continue through the remainder of the article.

Needed: a national coalition to coordinate Covid-19 clinical trials

STAT – First Opinion, 10/26/2020

… The time has clearly come for a national coalition to coordinate hypothesis-driven clinical research trials to give the medical community the evidence it needs to safely and effectively treat and prevent Covid-19.

NOTE: This opinion piece was coauthored by Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic; . Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., president and CEO, Cleveland Clinic; and Andrew Badley, M.D., chair, COVID-19 Research Task Force at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo study: 10 Google search terms predict COVID-19 hotspots

Becker's Health IT, 10/23/2020

Mayo Clinic researchers examined Google Trends search terms amid the pandemic and found the keywords related to COVID-19 correlated with outbreaks across the U.S.

"Our study demonstrates that there is information present in Google Trends that precedes outbreaks, and with predictive analysis, this data can be used for better allocating resources with regard to testing, personal protective equipment, medication and more," Mohamad Bydon, MD, a Mayo neurosurgeon and principal investigator at Mayo's Neuro-Informatics Laboratory, said in a health system news release. …

Mayo Clinic’s Sprint To Develop A COVID Vaccine

WCCO TV, 10/19/2020

It’s a sprint to the finish line for Mayo Clinic researchers developing a COVID-19 vaccine. WCCO heard how Minnesota patients are helping to eventually protect us from the virus.

NOTE: This TV interview is with Richard Kennedy, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group.

World-Leading Research out of Mayo Clinic leads to help for Alzheimer’s patients

WFLA NBC TV/Bloom, 10/20/2020

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic works towards new therapies for Alzheimer’s patients.

NOTE: This TV interview is with Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D., a neurologist and co-investigator in Mayo's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Skin could be key to early Parkinson's diagnosis, Iowa State researcher finds

Ames Tribune, 10/22/2020

… Researchers used 50 skin samples, half from donors with Parkinson's and half without, to test their theory. Of the patients with Parkinson's, all but one came back with the protein clumping. In the control group, one had the protein clumping.

"These results indicate tremendously high sensitivity and specificity which is critical for a diagnostic test," said Dr. Charles Adler, a professor at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, according to a news release.

NOTE: Co-authors of the referenced publication, which is in Movement Disorder, included Dr. Adler and other Mayo Clinic researchers.

Black individuals bear heavy burden of COVID-19 mortality, but key geographic disparities in health determinants exist

UAB News, 10/20/2020

A new study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers showed that Black individuals have a disproportionately higher COVID-19 mortality burden across all of the United States, which is driven by a high incidence of COVID-19 infection. They found that there are key geographic differences in the distribution of health determinants and COVID-19 mortality patterns. …

Despite Best Safety Evidence, Some Women with Neurologic Disorders Delay Pregnancy

Neurology Today, 10/22/2020

Early Family Planning Discussions Are Critical, Neurologists Say

… “In our study, we found that those who indicated intent to avoid pregnancy were predominantly young, more likely to have menstrual migraine, and more likely to have never been pregnant since the onset of migraine,” said lead author Ryotaro Ishii, MD, PhD, visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. “I recommend that clinicians talk about pregnancy plans with their patients as early as possible.”

NOTE: The referenced study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Why Water Vapor in Hospitals Matters

Infection Control Today, 10/22/2020

Where can we find data on whether or not water vapor is necessary for humans residing in buildings? One great place for such research is the hospital. There is a tremendous amount of data that is collected from one type of hospital building occupant—the patient.

… In 2016, researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a study that showed a causal relationship between low indoor humidity and increased infectivity of the influenza virus in preschool children.3 This study compared indoor RH of 20% or 45% with the number and infectivity of influenza virus in classrooms and with the number of school days missed by the children in each area. The humidified rooms had fewer and less infectious viral particles as well as significantly fewer children absent from influenza illness. …

How obesity could create problems for a COVID vaccine

Nature, 10/20/2020

Researchers fear that vaccines might not be as effective in people who are obese, a population already highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

… It might also depend on how well trial sponsors recruit individuals from under-represented minority groups, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and also experience high rates of obesity, says vaccinologist Gregory Poland at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Poland says that he has urged pharmaceutical companies to stratify their data by BMI, but he worries that the word is not getting out. “I will not be surprised if antibody levels are lower and don’t last as long in people who are obese or overweight,” he says. “It won’t be a surprise to some of us, but it will be a shock to the rest.”

Novel Evidence Suggests Apathy Is a 'Prodrome' of Dementia

Medscape, 10/20/20

A lack of interest in usual activities in older adults may be an early sign of dementia, new research shows.

In a large, prospective study, investigators found that individuals with severe apathy at baseline had a twofold increased risk of developing dementia over a 9-year period compared to their counterparts who were not apathetic.

… Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, David Knopman, MD, professor of neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, said that the study provides some "novel information" about the relationship between apathy and cognitive impairment.

"The idea that apathy is a prodrome of developing dementia is really a very important point. That means it is part of the overall process. You wouldn't call it a risk factor; it's a prodrome because it's part of the disease," said Knopman, who was not involved with the research. …

NOTE: Dr. Knopman's commentary continues through the end of the article.

Young women may be likelier to die after heart attacks than men

Live Science, 10/20/2020

Younger women may be more likely to die in the decade following a heart attack than men of the same age, a new study suggests. …

"The risk factors for disease of other organs overlap with risk factors for heart disease," Dr. Marysia Tweet, an assistant professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science in an email. "A heart attack and the ramifications of a heart attack may affect the health of other organs. Long-term mortality is likely due to a combination of multiple factors." …

NOTE: Dr. Tweet's comments continue in the article.

More Than 40 Million COVID Cases Globally: Lessons Learned? How To Prepare For Winter Months Ahead?

Houston Public Media, 10/20/20

Experts discuss the local, national and global situation of the pandemic, and a Houstonian shares the tragic story of his family’s battle with COVID.

NOTE: Gregory Poland, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research one of the panel members in this Town Square recording.

Right Ventricle Remodeling Predictive of Covid-19 Death

Physician's Weekly, 10/20/2020

Predictive value was independent of clinical, biomarker assessments

Among patients hospitalized with Covid-19, adverse right ventricular remodeling on transthoracic echocardiography was a significant predictor of mortality, independent of standard clinical and biomarker-based assessment. …

In commentary published with the study, cardiologists Patricia Pellikka, MD, of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota and Tasneem Naqvi, MD, of Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona wrote that the findings from this and other studies suggest a key role for echocardiography in understanding cardiovascular injury associated with Covid-19. …

Panel Publishes Consensus Recommendations on Opioid Tapering

Clinical Pain Advisor, 10/22/2020

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) Foundation, as part of a consensus panel project, has developed new recommendations for tapering opioids in patients with chronic pain. The recommendations were published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Doctor reflects on eventful tenure as Minnesota Medical Association president

Mankato Free Press, 10/22/2020

Minnesota Medical Association’s incoming presidents often have a specific initiative in mind for their one-year terms.

Dr. Keith Stelter, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato who recently wrapped up his term as MMA president, came in last fall wanting to look at how climate change could impact health outcomes in Minnesota.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. …

NOTE: Read the article for Dr. Stetler's observations about the past year, and future expectations.

More Women Trying Pot to Manage Menopause

WebMD, 10/19/2020

A new study finds 1 in 4 women have tried cannabis to manage menopause symptoms. Laura Hamilton is one of them. She’s used pot recreationally since she was in college, but was surprised when she realized it was helping ease her menopause symptoms, which included insomnia, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. …

“This study highlights a somewhat alarming trend and the need for more research relative to the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use for the management of bothersome menopause symptoms,” says Stephanie Faubion, MD, medical director for the North American Menopause Society. …

NOTE: Dr. Faubion shares her expertise throughout the remainder of the article.


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Tags: About, Alzheimer's disease, Andrew Badley, artificial intelligence, autoimmune disorder, biomarkers, cardiovascular medicine, Charles Adler, clinical research, clinical trials, COVID-19, David Knopman, dementia, dermatology, Eoin Flanagan, Findings, Gianrico Farrugia, Gregory Poland, health disparities, heart attack, infectious disease, influenza, John (Jack) O'Horo, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Keith Stetler, marijuana, Marysia Tweet, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, menopause, microbiome, migraine, Mohamad Bydon, neurology, News, News of the Week, nursing research, obesity, opioids, Parkinson's disease, Patricia Pellikka, People, population health, pregnancy, rheumatology, Richard Kennedy, Ryotaro Ishii, Sean Pittock, Stephanie Faubion, Tasneem Naqvi, vaccines, Veena Taneja, women's health

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