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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.

November 16, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 11/16/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
graphic art newspaper laptop

Our research and researchers showed up in a wide range of news stories over the last week, including potential benefits of coffee for patients with colorectal cancer, plus other related stories on racial disparities in screening, and recurrence of polyps. There is COVID-19 news you can use related to obesity, mental illness and valved masks. And mixed in are stories about biomarkers for stroke-related brain injury, babies and zombie cells.


Antibiotic use in babies linked to allergies, asthma and other conditions, study finds

CNN, 11/16/2020

Children younger than two who are given antibiotics are more likely to have a number of ongoing illnesses or conditions later in life, a new study finds.

Babies and toddlers who received one dose of antibiotics were more likely to have asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergies, celiac disease, problems with weight and obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder later in childhood, according to the study published Monday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Multiple antibiotic treatments below the age of two was associated with a child having multiple conditions, the study found, with the illnesses differing due to the child's gender, age, type of medication, dose and number of doses. …

NOTE: This research was conducted using the Rochester Epidemiology Project.


Data Suggests Obesity Increases Risk Of COVID

WCCO-TV, 11/12/2020

… “Overall, obesity appears to increase the risk of COVID-19 by about 50%,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud, Director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program.

Dr. Hensrud says research also suggests that obesity doubles your risk of hospitalization with COVID-19. And it increases your risk from dying of COVID-19 by about 50%.

“Some data suggests this increased risk actually starts in the overweight category,” said Hensrud. …


Blood Biomarker Measures Brain Injury in Stroke Patients

GEN Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, 11/12/2020

A stroke can have a wide variety of outcomes, from mild symptoms and a quick recovery to lifelong disability. The scale for measuring the severity of the disease does not correlate well with brain tissue damage. Therefore, markers of tissue damage would allow for better prediction of outcomes and treatment development. Now, a group has discovered that a biomarker in the blood—a protein known as neurofilament light (NFL)—may determine the extent of brain injury from different types of strokes and predict prognosis in patients.

This research is published in Science Translational Medicine in a paper titled, “Plasma neurofilament light predicts mortality in patients with stroke.

NOTE: Mayo Clinic's Tania Gendron, Ph.D., first author on the paper, is quoted in the article.


Study Shows Correlation Between COVID-19 and Mental Illness Diagnosis

Spectrum News 1, 11/16/2020

A study analyzing more than 62,000 coronavirus cases in the U.S. Found that roughly 20 percent of them went on to be diagnosed with a mental illness within three months of contracting the disease.

The study was funded through the National Institute for Health Research and carried out by Oxford University scientists using data from Trinetx. It found that people were more likely to develop mental health issues after having coronavirus than after other medical issues like the flu or broken bones. People were diagnosed most commonly with anxiety, depression and insomnia.

NOTE: Two Mayo Clinic experts are quoted in this article, Angela Lunde, a co-investigator in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist.


Killing zombie cells improves heart attack recovery

British Heart Foundation, 11/14/2020

A drug that eliminates ‘zombie cells’ improves heart function after a heart attack according to new research, funded by the British Heart Foundation, which could pave the way for a new heart attack treatment.

… The Newcastle team, in collaboration with researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US, Queen's University Belfast and INSERM in France, now hope that this drug could be used within the next decade to help people recover from a heart attack.

NOTE: Read more about zombie cell research at Mayo Clinic.


Risk for Subsequent Cancer Practically Nil After EMR

Clinical Oncology, 11/16/2020

After resection of large colorectal polyps, the recurrence rate on first surveillance colonoscopy is almost 20%, but such lesions are unlikely to be malignant and usually can be treated at the next follow-up exam, researchers have found.

Researchers reviewed 800 cases of endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) of polyps measuring 2 cm or larger, treated between 2014 and 2017 at Mayo Clinic Florida, in Jacksonville. No adenocarcinomas were found during surveillance, which suggests that “missed invasive cancers in piecemeal EMR specimens are extremely rare, and, if occult, they are of little clinical consequence,” Peter A. Senada, MD, a Mayo gastroenterologist who helped conduct the study, said. …


Interview: Racial Disparities in CRC Screening Discussed at ACG 2020

DocWire News, 11/11/2020

Racial disparities in colorectal cancer (CRC) have been documented previously—a disparity recently highlighted by the tragic death of Hollywood actor Chadwick Bosman, who died from colon cancer at the young age of 43 this past summer. Screening is widely regarded as a useful tool in cancer, making possible earlier detection and, subsequently, earlier treatment.

Disparities are also present in screening, however. A study found that minority patients were less likely than their White counterparts to be aware of the recommended screening age for CRC, as well as the multitarget-stool DNA (mt-sDNA) test. The results of the study were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology 2020 Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting & Postgraduate Course (ACG 2020).

DocWire News interviewed study author Paul Limburg, MD, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and chief medical officer for screening at Exact Sciences, about the study. …

NOTE: You can read Dr. Limburg's full interview online.


Why you should think twice before opting for a valved N95 mask

Popular Science, 11/12/2020

Research reveals they don't filter droplets nearly as well as other masks.

… “Our guidance on masks has been largely based on expert opinion,” says John O’Horo, a Mayo Clinic infectious disease doctor who heads up the institution’s Personal Protective Equipment Task Force. Studies like this one provide value because they add actual data to the ongoing conversation around masks. In this case, he says, the expert opinion was proven, but “we may find other mask options that we’re currently shying away from may be more effective than we think as we get more evidence.”

NOTE: Dr. O'Horo's remarks continue in the article.


Coffee May Reduce Risk for Disease Progression, Death in Patients With CRC

Oncology Learning Network, 11/13/2020

A prospective observational cohort study of patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) showed that increased coffee consumption was linked to a lower risk for disease progression and death (JAMA Oncol. 2020;6[11]:1713-1721).

“Several compounds found in coffee possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and insulin-sensitizing effects, which may contribute to anticancer activity. Epidemiological studies have identified associations between increased coffee consumption and decreased recurrence and mortality of colorectal cancer. The association between coffee consumption and survival in patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer is unknown,” wrote Christopher Mackintosh, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues. …

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Tags: allergies, Alzheimer's disease, antibiotic, anxiety, asthma, biomarkers, brain, cancer screening, Christopher Mackintosh, colon cancer, colon polyp, colorectal cancer, COVID-19, depression, Donald Hensrud, epidemiology, Findings, gastroenterology, health disparities, heart attack, influenza, insomnia, John (Jack) O'Horo, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, mental health, neurology, News, obesity, Paul Limburg, pediatric research, Peter Senada, Rochester Epidemiology Project, stroke, Tania Gendron, zombie cells

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