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.

December 7, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 12/7/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
graphic art newspaper laptop

Lots of chatter last week on COVID-19 and the pending arrival of a vaccine(s). Our researchers and clinicians agree that vaccines are a useful part of our toolbox for fighting infectious disease, and have high hopes for effective reduction of the risks of COVID-19 through widespread vaccination. Other research that made the top of the list covers mesothelioma outcomes, medical education, acute kidney injury, and dementia.

Mayo Clinic Health System program helping keep COVID patients out of the hospital with infusion therapy

WKBT TV, 12/4/2020

Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse is developing a way to help treat certain COVID patients while keeping them out of the hospital, and this new program could help prevent hospital overflow. …

Research so far has shown that the bam treatment improves COVID symptoms sooner in certain patients, which would allow them to recover at home. …

NOTE: Read more about the new treatment, bamlanivimab, in the related news release.

Mesothelioma Research Team Identifies Features That Point to Greater Mortality Risk, 12/7/2020

Though malignant mesothelioma has a well-deserved reputation as a fatal form of cancer, some patients survive far longer than others, with some living decades beyond the time that their disease is diagnosed. Identifying the distinguishing factors that make patients more or less vulnerable to dying of the disease has long been a priority for researchers. Now a group from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Sao Paolo have identified some features that increase mortality.

NOTE: Read more about the findings in the article or the abstract.

Mayo Clinic CIO says AI has been key to understanding COVID-19

Healthcare IT News, 12/1/2020

From genetic sequencing to symptom tracking to vaccine development, machine learning algorithms have been instrumental in helping uncover hidden clues about the novel coronavirus, says Cris Ross.

In his opening keynote Tuesday at the HIMSS Machine Learning & AI for Healthcare Digital Summit, Mayo Clinic CIO Cris Ross enumerated some of the many ways artificial intelligence has been crucial to our evolving understanding of COVID-19.

Way back in March, for instance, researchers were already using an AI algorithm – trained on data from the 2003 SARS outbreak – for "a recurrent neural network to predict numbers of new infections over time," he said. "Even from the beginning of COVID-19, artificial intelligence is one of the tools that scientists have been using to try and respond to this urgent situation."

NOTE: Read the article for more of Cris Ross' remarks.

Researchers use mannequins to test mask effectiveness

WYTV, 12/2/2020

Both disposable paper medical masks and the two layer cloth masks were fine for blocking droplets

New research was conducted at the Mayo Clinic to test how well masks work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clinic researchers used masked and unmasked mannequins and measured the spread of virus droplets at different distances. They found the real danger is wearing nothing on our faces.

Mayo takes over sponsorship of residency in Mankato

Mankato Free Press, 12/1/2020

A long-standing family medicine residency program in Mankato will transition to a new educational affiliation in 2022, while continuing to bring up-and-coming physicians to the area.

The University of Minnesota medical school has sponsored the Mankato Family Medicine Residency Program since it started in the mid-1990s. Mayo Clinic Health System’s Eastridge clinic has been the site for the residents since 2005.

Eastridge will remain the site, but the program will switch to a Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education sponsorship in July 2022.

Poland ’77 Provides Expertise on Coronavirus Vaccine Development

Illinois Wesleyan University, 11/30/2020

As the results of late-stage clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine are announced, Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group director Dr. Gregory Poland ’77, an Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus, is being called upon by national media outlets to provide an expert analysis.

Poland, one of the nation’s leading vaccinologists, recently appeared on NPR’s Here and Now to discuss the promising results of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine trial. …

The extraordinary story of Mayo Clinic's 'Dr. Q' is featured in new Netflix documentary

Florida Times-Union, 12/4/2020

As a teenager — long before he gave the commencement speech to his class at Harvard Medical School and became a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon — Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa would sometimes cry himself to sleep in the back of the $150 mustard-yellow AMC Gremlin that he called both transportation and home.

He was an undocumented migrant farm worker in California who had jumped a border fence on the day before his 19th birthday. He had little money and missed his family and friends in Mexico. Working in the fields, he sometimes felt invisible: The owner of the farm would walk through the busy workers as if they did not exist. …

NOTE: Read the story to find out more about Dr. Q and the upcoming documentary.

Study finds 30% of patients with AKI do not receive adequate follow-up

Nephrology News & Issues (via Healio News), 12/3/2020

Research presented at the virtual ASN Kidney Week suggested 30% of patients hospitalized with AKI received inadequate follow-up, with medical risk factors being the “primary determinants” of care after hospitalization.

“[AKI] affects 20% of hospitalized patients and results in long-term adverse outcomes,” Erin F. Barreto, PharmD, RPh, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and colleagues wrote in a poster. “To limit its complications, post-discharge follow-up is advised. The objective of the study was to evaluate the frequency of appropriate follow-up after discharge among AKI survivors.”

NOTE: In addition to conducting research, Dr. Barreto is a clinical pharmacist and Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar.

Public tentative to receive COVID-19 vaccine

KAAL TV, 12/3/2020

The public is voicing their concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Seven hours and 400 votes into the poll on the ABC 6 News Facebook page, about 53 percent of people said they will never receive the vaccine. Getting vaccinated as soon as possible and waiting up to six months each received about 20 percent, while waiting two to three months received about seven percent of the vote.

Co-Director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group Dr. Richard Kennedy says the number of people who will wait extended periods of time to get vaccinated are a cause for concern.

"People that want to get back to normal and don't want to take the vaccine are in a sense shooting themselves in the foot. They're ignoring one of the most powerful tools we'll have available to beat this pandemic and get back to normal," Dr. Kennedy said.

NOTE: Visit the site to watch the news segment or read more from Dr. Kennedy.

Dementia may cause major financial problems long before diagnosis

The Seattle Times (via The Washington Post), 12/5/2020

… The study found that those who developed dementia were at “significantly higher risk of payment delinquency” compared with a similar population of people who were healthy. “To our knowledge, these results represent the first large-scale evidence of financial harms related to preclinical and diagnosed ADRD,” the researchers wrote.

Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, called the study “very important and insightful and unique.” Petersen, who was not part of the study, noted that the findings appear consistent with existing research involving older adults participating in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, which also examined their financial capabilities. …

NOTE: The article continues with more insights from Dr. Petersen.


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Tags: About, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Alzheimer's disease, artificial intelligence, cancer, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, clinical trials, COVID-19, dementia, Education, Erin Barreto, Gregory Poland, infectious disease, Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars, kidney disease, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, medical research education, mesothelioma, News, News of the Week, People, Richard Kennedy, Ronald Petersen, vaccines

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