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 14, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 12/14/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
decorative photo of woman's hand placing an ornament on a Christmas tree

Media outlets
Large and small are covering
Things from Mayo's halls.

A Haiku to hail the holidays may not be what you expected, but there are plenty of moments to celebrate in the news this week. Mayo Clinic Research and faculty expertise are present in discussions about therapeutic use of essential oils, improvements in patient quality of life, shared decision making and more. The "more" includes celebration of a historic award received 70 years ago last week, updates on the Havana syndrome, and many different facets of COVID-19 research.

NOTE: The next issue of Mayo Clinic Research in the news will be Monday, Dec. 28.

These Are The Best Essential Oils For Headache And Migraine Relief

Women's Health, 12/9/2020

Essential oils have all kinds of awesome health benefits. Not only do they smell amazing (and probably mentally transport you to the spa), but when used as aromatherapy, they can reduce anxiety, boost your mood, help you sleep, and may even reduce inflammation in the body.

The plant-extracted, highly concentrated liquids can be rubbed on the skin and inhaled, put in a diffuser and breathed in from the air, or placed on a pendant so you can smell them throughout the day. No matter how you prefer to use them, one of the coolest benefits of essential oils is headache relief. Yup, if you've got a throbbing head or a major migraine, inhaling essential oils could be the remedy you need, says Nancy Rodgers, a massage therapist and certified aromatherapist in the integrative medicine department at Mayo Clinic. …

Quality of Life Improves Over Time for Patients With Aggressive Lymphomas

Oncology Nursing News, 12/7/2020

Patients with aggressive lymphoma tended to have major improvements in quality of life (QOL) after 1 year, compared to baseline QOL at diagnosis. Then, QOL increases continued upward for years to come, according to research presented at the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Researchers used the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) – which includes well-being, physical, functional, social/family, and emotional factors – to analyze QOL in 2,018 patients with newly diagnosed aggressive lymphoma.

“The scale itself is a 27-item questionnaire measuring each of the 4 domains, which are compounded to create an overall quality of life score. A higher score indicates a better-rated quality of life,” Robert M. Kraft, MD, study author and internal medical resident at the Mayo Clinic, said in his presentation. …

NOTE: Read the article for more from Dr. Kraft's presentation.

The story of the medical breakthrough that won two Mayo Clinic researchers a Nobel Prize

MedCity Beat, 12/11/2020

December 10, 1950 was a regular Sunday in Rochester. It was about time for Mayo Clinic’s annual employee talent revue. It was the first holiday season that the Plummer Building was lit up like a Christmas tree. Rochester’s population had not yet eclipsed 30,000.

It was a crisp, cloudless 21-degree day in Rochester — not too unlike the climate of Stockholm, Sweden, where Drs. Edward Kendall and Phillip Hench found themselves on that Sunday in December. Seventy years ago this week, the two doctors, along with Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein, were awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery and medical implementation of cortisone. …

NOTE: This article is accompanied by a podcast from the Rochester Rundown featuring an interview with Mayo Clinic historian Matt Dacy.

AHA/ACC: Shared decision-making key in diagnosis, treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy-key-in-diagnosis-treatment-of-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy

Cardiology Today, 12/9/2020

The role of shared decision-making, prevention strategies for sudden cardiac death and recommendations for exercise are among the key points of an updated guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The joint American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology update, published in Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, added clinical data and new expert recommendations to the previous 2011 guideline publication.

“Shared decision-making, a dialogue between patients and their care team that includes full disclosure of all testing and treatment options, discussion of the risks and benefits of those options and, importantly, engagement of the patient to express their own goals, is particularly relevant in the management of conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” Steve R. Ommen, MD, FACC, FAHA, professor of medicine and consultant in the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and chair of the writing committee for the guideline, said in a press release. “This updated guideline places emphasis on including the patient in the decision-making process rather than simply providing dogmatic lists of do’s and don’ts.”

NOTE: Read the whole article for more from Dr. Ommen on the updated guidelines.

Utility of PRAME staining in identifying malignant transformation of melanocytic nevi

Dermatology Times, 12/8/2020

Recently, PRAME (preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma) immunohistochemical staining has shown its usefulness in distinguishing benign from malignant melanocytic cell populations, offering another color to the canvas in the quest for a more definitive diagnosis of melanoma.

… “The differential density of staining in the malignant and benign components of a single lesion suggests that whatever is driving PRAME overexpression in malignant melanocytes is likely a late-stage development in the degenerative process. In other words when the burden of mutations reaches a tipping point, and a benign melanocyte starts behaving like a malignant melanocyte, this is when we see melanocytes start to over-express PRAME,” says Aaron Steen, MD, Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-author of the study.

Scientists Are Slamming A Report Saying Microwave Attacks Could Have Caused “Havana Syndrome” In US Diplomats

BuzzFeed, 12/7/2020

A microwave attack is the “most plausible” explanation for an outbreak of mysterious injuries that dozens of US diplomats in Cuba reported three years ago, a long-awaited study released over the weekend concluded.

But scientists who collaborated on the National Academies of Sciences report, commissioned by the US State Department, say that the finding about possible microwave attacks is far from conclusive. Outside experts on microwaves and the mysterious “Havana syndrome,” meanwhile, dismissed it as implausible. One scientist dubbed it “science fiction.” …

NOTE: Read the article for more on the report and comments from panel member Jeffrey Staab, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

COVID-19 of course has its own substantial share of news coverage, and Mayo's research and faculty are well represented. Here is an abbreviated list of recent headlines and links to the associated stories.


Mayo Clinic news, FAQs, clinical trials and other items related to COVID-19 are all available in one spot on the internet.

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Tags: Aaron Steen, cardiology, cortisone, COVID-19, Havana Syndrome, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, integrative medicine, Jeffrey Staab, lymphoma, Matt Dacy, melanoma, migraine, National Academies of Sciences, News, News of the Week, Nobel Prize, quality of life, Robert Kraft, shared decision making, Steve Ommen, telemedicine, vaccines

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