As SARS-CoV-2 spreads throughout the world, COVID-19 has become the subject of almost every conversation. Not surprisingly, the media are actively following developments in research on symptoms, testing, treatment and vaccines. In addition to some of these stories, you'll find Mayo Clinic research and researchers highlighted across a wide range of topics. We are also joined in mourning the loss of one of our clinician-researchers, David Ahlquist, M.D.
Exact Sciences, 11/2/2020
Unwavering. That’s how we think of our chief scientific advisor, Dr. David Ahlquist. With deep sorrow, we announce Dr. Ahlquist’s untimely passing yesterday at the age of 69, one year after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). …
MedCity Beat, 11/3/2020
Dr. David Ahlquist, a groundbreaking Mayo Clinic researcher who helped provide the first major alternative to a colonoscopy, died Sunday from complications related to ALS. He was 69. …
KTOE radio, 11/6/2020
This fall, there has been a surge of COVID-19 infections across Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, including in communities served by Mayo Clinic Health System. … Below are 10 myths debunked and the facts that support the truth.
Fierce Biotech, 11/6/2020
Respiratory viral infections from influenza and SARS-CoV-2—the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19—cause a disproportionally high number of deaths among elderly people. And older survivors are prone to long-term impairment of lung function. But the exact mechanisms regulating the development of chronic lung disease after viral pneumonia are unclear.
A new study offers one explanation for why older people may be more susceptible to lung inflammation and fibrosis following viral infection. By studying aged mice, Mayo Clinic researchers found that T cells that reside in tissues—as compared to circulating T cells—were defective after influenza infection. Rather than being protective, these T cells in old animals contributed to inflammation, according to findings published in Science Immunology.
The researchers argued that the discovery could help guide a T-cell-targeted treatment strategy for elderly patients with chronic lung disease after viral pneumonia, including COVID-19.
Brain levels of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), a key factor in the neurodegeneration that occurs with Alzheimer's disease, begin declining nearly two decades prior to the end of life and show an independent effect on the rate of hippocampal atrophy that occurs with the disease, new research shows.
"TDP-43 Is strongly associated with changes early in the atrophic process with strong relationships throughout the last 17 years of life," first author Marina Buciuc, MD, of the Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, said in presenting the findings as part of the American Neurological Association's ANA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. …
Clinical Advisor, 11/9/2020
… Omega-3 research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings is the most comprehensive analysis to date on EPA and DHA dosage and its role in cardiovascular prevention, with a review of 40 clinical trials.4 The authors found that EPA plus DHA supplementation is associated with a statistically significant reduced risk for:
NOTE: Read the article to learn more about the research and how to apply the findings for healthier patients.
NY Times, 11/9/2020
Far too few patients are referred for treatment that could stave off another costly, debilitating and sometimes deadly fracture.
… “We’ve become so wedded to the concept of bone density that we ignore the simple fact that fracture is itself the definition of the disease,” Dr. Sundeep Khosla, endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in an interview.
NOTE: Dr. Khosla and other experts are quoted throughout the article.
Two new approaches are improving care for patients with head and neck cancer. One is proton beam therapy, which yields less toxicity and better swallowing and quality-of-life outcomes compared to conventional radiotherapy. The other is gabapentin used prophylactically before radiotherapy, which reduces the need for opioid pain relief afterward. …
"We're now seeing a preponderance of human papillomavirus [HPV]–related oropharyngeal cancers, and these patients are in their 40s and 50s and are otherwise healthy and have a significant life span ahead of them," commented Samir Patel, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona. He was lead author on the study of proton beam therapy. …
NOTE: Dr. Patel's study, and the other highlighted in this article were presented during the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 2020 Annual Meeting.
Oncology Nursing News, 11/4/2020
While genetic testing lays the groundwork for individualized cancer care and better outcomes, many patients are having their targetable mutations missed, according to recent research published in JAMA Oncology.
Researchers analyzed 2984 genetic testing results from patients with cancer who were treated at one of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center’s 3 locations: Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. Findings showed that 13.3% (397) patients had a pathogenic germline variant (PGV) that was associated with the development of cancer. …
NBC News, 11/3/2020
No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but some work better than others.
… But even if a Covid-19 vaccine is only 50 percent effective, it could make a difference, experts say, pointing out that the flu vaccine effectiveness can vary widely from year to year, anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent over the last decade, and the shots still offer benefits. When the flu vaccine matches up well with the influenza viruses that are circulating, the shots can reduce illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the CDC says.
And if enough people were immunized, a Covid-19 vaccine wouldn’t need to be near-perfect to have a substantial impact in the community, said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group and editor-in-chief of the journal Vaccine.
NOTE: Dr. Poland's comments continue through the article, along with those of other experts.
Neurology Today, 11/5/2020
A new paper finds that the deleterious effect of amyloid-beta on cognition worsened when white matter hyperintensities were also present. The findings underscore an associated but synergistically independent interaction between cerebral small-vessel disease and Alzheimer's disease.
… “This study finds a statistical interaction between cerebral small-vessel disease and Alzheimer's disease,” said James Meschia, MD, FAAN, professor and chair of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. “But the statistical interaction does not prove that cerebral small vessel disease and Alzheimer's disease are tightly, mechanistically linked. We would need evidence beyond observational studies to prove a mechanistic link.”
NOTE: Dr. Meschia's comments continue in the article.
Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, MD, FACP, medical oncologist, medical director, Cancer Clinical Research Office, vice chair and section chief, Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the future of telemedicine in colorectal cancer (CRC).
NOTE: This is a video podcast.
MedPage Today, 11/4/2020
— Those who never had paid job twice as likely to show memory impairment at age 70
Working women had slower memory decline as they aged than women who had not worked outside the home, a longitudinal study found.
Non-working mothers were twice as likely to develop memory impairment at age 70 as working married mothers, reported Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, PhD, MPH, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles, and co-authors. ...
"Of studies in the dementia field that have incorporated sex and gender, the vast majority focus on sex differences or sex-specific factors including pregnancy, the menopausal transition and use of hormone therapy, genetics, or differences in biomarker profiles," said Michelle Mielke, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Bryan James, PhD, of Rush University in Chicago, in an editorial accompanying the study. …
NOTE: Further comments are included in the article. To find out more about Dr. Mielke, read her research profile.
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