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.

November 30, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 11/30/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
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Many of you may feel like it's been a really long time since the last update, but in reality, it's been 7 days. Thanksgiving in 2020 and the fretting related to the holiday – amplified 100-fold by COVID-19 – may have made this past week seem unusually long. But at Mayo Clinic, research has continued, and media outlets have shared both our findings and the expert commentary of our faculty. Read on for excerpts to some of the top stories.


Mayo Clinic: New Research Confirms That Masks Do Help During COVID-19 Pandemic

WCCO-TV, 11/24/2020

Mayo Clinic is releasing pre-published data that it says confirms the critical role masks play in preventing COVID-19 infection.

On Tuesday, the Mayo Clinic said it is releasing the new, unpublished data on masking efficacy to “help highlight the importance of masking and social distancing” as Thanksgiving approaches. …

NOTE: While we typically release research data in a peer-reviewed publication, the public health benefit of the information was considered critical leading up to Thanksgiving. Therefore, we decided to release the findings early. Read the related news release.


Black men make up less than 3% of physicians. That requires immediate action, say leaders in academic medicine.

Association of American Medical Colleges, 11/23/2020

From systemic racism to economic disadvantage, Black men face numerous obstacles in their path to medicine. At the AAMC’s annual meeting, three who succeeded shared their stories and their insights on how best to pave the way for others.

Antwione Haywood, PhD, grew up as the son of an undocumented immigrant who had a sixth-grade education. Nathan Delafield, MD, survived the turmoil of life with a drug-addicted mother. And David Wilkes, MD, knew his family could never afford to pay for medical school. All three men, speakers at the AAMC’s annual meeting, Learn Serve Lead 2020: The Virtual Experience, have become models of great success for Black men in medicine. …

NOTE: You can read more online about Dr. Delafield, a supplemental physician at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, as well as the other doctors featured in this article.


Mayo Clinic launches COVID-19 Vaccine registry

KAAL-TV, 11/23/2020

 Mayo Clinic has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Registry that will identify people interested in participating in upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. 

People who add their name to the registry may be contacted in the future to determine if they are eligible to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial at Mayo Clinic.

The goal is to make sure the trial has diverse involvement and make sure all ages are represented. …


Study Identifies Breast Cancer Risk and Disease-Causing Mutations in Women Over 65

Cancer Network, 11/28/2020

Women with onset of breast cancer over age 65 typically do not qualify for genetic testing, however this study demonstrated that frequency of pathogenic variants and risk of breast cancer is not negligible in this patient population.

A study presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2020 Virtual Meeting provided estimates of prevalence and breast cancer risks associated with pathogenic variants (PVs) in known breast cancer predisposition genes for the US population in women over the age of 65. …

NOTE: The lead author on this abstract is Mayo Clinic research associate Nicholas Boddicker, Ph.D. Read the article for more information and a link to the abstract.


Booze robbing many Americans of their sleep

Medical Xpress (via HealthDay), 11/29/2020

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have lost sleep because they drank alcohol too close to bedtime, including 1 in 5 who often have this problem, a new poll shows.

In the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) survey, men were more likely to say they've lost sleep due to drinking alcohol than women (75% vs. 60%), and adults ages 35-44 (78%) are most likely to have a drink too late at night.

"While you might think alcohol helps you sleep, there are negative effects to having a drink close to bedtime," said AASM President Dr. Kannan Ramar, a sleep medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic. …

NOTE: Kannan Ramar, M.B.B.S., M.D., assumed the presidency of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in June.


Early Diagnosis in Psoriatic Arthritis Is Often Missed

Rheumatology Network, 11/24/2020

How to identify patients with psoriatic arthritis at an earlier stage was a popular theme of research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology on Friday November 6.

More than half of patients with psoriatic arthritis have to wait two or more years for a diagnosis, and time to diagnosis has not significantly improved over the last two decades, a study by Paras Karmacharya, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues found. …


Mayo launches therapy to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations

The Bakersfield Californian (via Star Tribune/AP), 11/24/2020

… Mayo hustled this month to create dedicated space within a medical building in Rochester to administer the therapy, which federal regulators approved Nov. 9 for emergency use. But the drug is in short supply and brings logistical challenges that other health care providers still are trying to work through.

Similar to a drug given this fall to President Donald Trump, the treatment is not intended for use in all COVID-19 patients, nor can it prevent infection, said Dr. Andrew Badley, chairman of the COVID Research Task Force at the Rochester-based clinic. So slowing the spread of the coronavirus remains key.

"Now and for the foreseeable future, it is critical that all of society maintains social distancing, frequent hand-washing, avoidance of large gatherings and universal masking," Badley said. …


Doctors recommend taking holiday weekend to ask about family health

First Coast News, 11/23/2020

 As Thanksgiving approaches, families are finalizing their plans for dinner and maybe a virtual holiday.

Thursday also marks Family History Day, which health experts recommend discussing medical history while folks are together.

"I have a lot of people that I’ve met with that don't know a lot of information about their family history and unfortunately we can’t always go back and get that," Sarah Mantia, a genetic counselor with the Mayo Clinic, said.  …

NOTE: You can read more about Mantia's research online, as well as learn what questions for which you should get answers.

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Tags: About, Andrew Badley, arthritis, breast cancer, clinical trials, COVID-19, Findings, gene variant, genetic counseling, health disparities, Kannan Ramar, Nathan Boddicker, Nathan Delafield, News, News of the Week, Paras Karmacharya, public health, research, sleep medicine, vaccines

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