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.

February 1, 2021

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 2/1/2021

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Mayo Clinic faculty continue to share their expertise across a broad range of medical and health care topics, including women's health, concussion, disparities in care, and the never abating COVID-19.


Mayo Clinic Indicates Age Has Distinct Influences on Sex-Related Outcomes After Heart Attack

Pharmacy Times, 1/27/2021

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found ways that the sex and age of an individual can play a large part in who experiences a heart attack, the methods used to treat these heart attacks, and the eventual post hospital outcomes of the people who experience heart attacks, according to a press release.

The objective of this study was to determine whether age is a key factor in sex-related differences among patients who experienced a heart attack. Using public all-payer hospitalization data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the research team evaluated more than 6.7 million hospitalization records for heart attacks. The researchers then categorized the information by sex and divided the patients into 4 age categories: under 45 years of age, 45 to 64 years of age, 65 to 84 years of age, and over 84 years of age. …


Delta Air Lines hires Mayo Clinic executive as company's first chief health officer

Atlanta Business Chronicle, 1/25/2021

Delta is betting health care will be a key aspect of its post-pandemic existence, so the airline hired an executive to tackle the issue.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) on Jan. 25 announced the hiring of Dr. Henry Ting as its first chief health officer. Ting is currently chief value officer for the Mayo Clinic and will join Delta on Feb. 15. …


‘WisBusiness: The Show’ features Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Tim Nelson

WisBusiness, 1/25/2021

The latest episode of “WisBusiness.com: The Show” spotlights Dr. Timothy Nelson, the research and innovation director for the Mayo Clinic in northwest Wisconsin.


Less Aggressive Treatment Warranted for MCL With Primary GI Involvement

Targeted Oncology, 1/27/2021

Patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and primary gastrointestinal (GI) involvement have similar outcomes to those with secondary GI involvement, according to results from one of the largest known studies of GI MCL that was published in Blood Cancer Journal.

“The main implications of our research are that primary GI MCL is a rare and distinct presentation of MCL and it tends to be treated less aggressively, especially in patients with a lesser extent of GI involvement. However, we showed that it has a similar outcome to that of secondary GI MCL. Therefore, we can conclude that less aggressive treatment of primary GI MCL could be reasonable, even if it is still unknown how an intensified systematic treatment approach for these patients could result in better outcome,” Grzegorz S Nowakowski, MD, told Targeted Oncology, in an interview. …

NOTE: Read the article for more from Dr. Nowakowski.


Heart failure hospitalizations and deaths vary by race and ethnicity

Kaiser Permanente. 1/25/2021

Black patients with heart failure have higher rates of hospitalization for heart failure but lower rates of death than white patients with heart failure, a new Kaiser Permanente study shows.

NOTE: The study's lead author was Sam Savitz, Ph.D., who is now a health services researcher in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.


New Data Reveals Disparities in Lupus Rates, Particularly for BIPOC Women

Everyday Health, 1/26/2021

Lupus rates are 9 times higher in women than men, and are highest among American Indian and Black women, according to new data.

The research provides the first national estimate of how widespread the auto-immune disease is, including its prevalence in certain ethnic groups. Overall, a total of 204,295 people had lupus in 2018 in the United States, according to the study published this month in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. … The more comprehensive data on lupus rates in the United States will improve research efforts, too, says Ali Duarte Garcia, MD, a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic who was not involved in this latest research, but is a recent recipient of CDC funding to carry this lupus research forward.

 “Now we can look closer at patients’ experiences with lupus and how the disease evolves,” Dr. Duarte Garcia says.

His ongoing work with the CDC will consider lupus patients’ access to healthcare, pain management, the prevalence of disability, the severity of the disease, and mortality and survival rates based on the data from these registries.

NOTE: Read more about Dr. Duarte Garcia's work and the CDC funding. Dr. Duarte Garcia is also a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar.


Why Your Head Hurts After a Workout — & What to Do About It

MSN – she knows, 1/26/2021

R regular exercise comes with plenty of perks — from feeling more connected to your body to the euphoria of runner’s high (it’s real, we promise). It can even reduce your chances of having a headache or migraine. But, it can also have the opposite effect and cause a whopper of a head banger, too. While experts aren’t completely sure what causes them, some of us tend to be more susceptible.

“They are more common in individuals who also experience migraines,” says Rashmi B. Halker Singh, MD FAHS, headache neurologist at Mayo Clinic. In a study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, women disproportionately experienced more migraines than men. …


Prescribing Practices Improving, But Opioids Still Prescribed at High Rate for Diabetic Neuropathy

Endocrinology Network, 1/28/2021

New research from a Mayo Clinic-led team of physicians found the initiation of pain medication for newly diagnosed diabetic peripheral neuropathy has dropped by more than a third since 2014, but also found rates of opioid prescribing remain high. …


Breast Cancer Gene Mutations Found in 30% of All Women

Medscape, 1/29/2021

New findings of breast cancer gene mutations in women who have no family history of the disease offer a new way of estimating risk and may change the way in which these women are advised on risk management.

The findings come from two large studies, both published on January 20 in The New England Journal of Medicine.


First mammography screening guidelines issued for older survivors of breast cancer

Mirage, 1/29/2021

A nationwide panel of experts has developed the first mammography guidelines for older survivors of breast cancer, providing a framework for discussions between survivors and their physicians on the pros and cons of screening in survivors’ later years.

The guidelines, published online today in a paper in JAMA Oncology, recommend discontinuing routine mammograms for survivors with a life expectancy under five years; considering stopping screening for those with a 5-10-year life expectancy; and continuing mammography for those whose life expectancy is greater than 10 years. The guidelines will be complemented by printed materials to help survivors gauge their risk of cancer recurring in the breast and weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of mammography with their health care team.


Reasons exist for escalating insulin prices and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley nails them

The Daily Iowan, 1/31/2021

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley blames escalating insulin prices on manufacturers, health plans, and practices that give vendors discounted prices. PolitiFact Iowa found that to be true. …

Some insulin producers blame insulin’s prices on the cost of innovation. However, Mayo Clinic hematologist S. Vincent Rajkumar dismissed this claim in a paper published by Mayo Clinic in January 2020. Rajkumar wrote that limited innovation exists when it comes to insulin, and that what matters more is affordability. This sentiment was echoed in the April 2019 House hearing when Rep. Mckinley (R-West Virginia) said, “Innovation is supposed to drive prices down, not up.” …


Being obese can sometimes help protect you against certain diseases, study says

Study finds, 1/29/2021

… While a diet rich in unsaturated fats might exacerbate certain illnesses, scientists say eating saturated fats could help protect against them. The findings could offer the answer as to why obesity seems to have a positive impact during acute or short term illness.

Study authors say one example is acute pancreatitis (AP). Diets rich in unsaturated fat may worsen the condition however, saturated fats may provide protection. People with the illness suffer from inflammation of the pancreas, with stomach pain being the main symptom.

“Obesity sometimes seems protective in disease,” the team, led by corresponding author Vijay Singh, writes in the journal Science Advances. “This obesity paradox is predominantly described in reports from the Western Hemisphere during acute illnesses.” …

Related article:

Adipose saturation reduces lipotoxic systemic inflammation


Association honors thoracic oncology specialists with distinguished service awards

HemOnc today, 1/29/2021

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, or IASLC, announced the recipients of its distinguished service awards.

Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, professor of oncology and pharmacology at Mayo College of Medicine, and director of the early cancer therapeutics program and leader of the lung cancer program at all three Mayo Clinic sites, received the Adi F. Gadzar IASLC Merit Award. Adjei has focused his career on oncology drug development and mentoring of next-generation cancer specialists.

NOTE: Read the article for more about the awards and other recipients.


Hormones are key in brain health differences between men and women

The Telegraph, 2/1/2021

Medical science has come a long way since the days of "bikini medicine," when the only time doctors managed a woman's health differently than a man's was when treating the parts of her body found under a bikini. …

Estradiol, the type of estrogen produced by the ovaries during a woman's reproductive years, is the most important driver of brain health, said Dr. Kejal Kantarci, director of the Women's Health Research Center and a radiology professor at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her research suggests longer exposure to estradiol may offer some protection to the brain. ...

NOTE: Read the article for more expert discussion, including more from Dr. Kantarci.


Higher Dietary Fiber Tied to Lower Depression Risk in Young Women

Medscape, 1/28/2021

Higher fiber intake may be associated with decreased risk of depression in premenopausal women, new research suggests.

Investigators analyzed data from close to 6000 pre- and postmenopausal women. They found that, in premenopausal women, dietary fiber intake was higher among those without depression vs their counterparts with the disorder in a dose-dependent manner. However, there appeared to be no relationship between higher fiber intake and depression risk in postmenopausal women.

… Commenting on the study for Medscape Medical News, Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, MBA, a professor and chair of the Department of Medicine and the Penny and Bill George director of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Women's Health in Rochester, Minnesota, noted the study was cross-sectional and therefore the direction of the association could not be determined and "causality cannot be assumed." …

NOTE: Read the whole article for more about the study and Dr. Faubion's discussion.


Bystander Killing Could Be Key Factor in CAR-T Success in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Cancer Therapy Advisor, 2/1/2021

Even after a decade of treating patients with hematologic malignancies with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell (CAR-T) therapies, researchers are still trying to understand why most patients eventually relapse. Equally puzzling to some scientists is the question of these cellular interventions cause lasting remission at all in many patients. …

A study published by Brody’s team and collaborators at Kite Pharma in Cancer Discovery in December 2020 offered one explanation.4 Experiments in animal models suggested that CAR-T cells can kill off-target cells that are in the vicinity of the cells they’re designed to target, offering the first in vivo proof of localized bystander killing. This off-target effect is mediated by the interaction between the protein Fas—a cell death receptor expressed on many cellular surfaces—and its ligand, which is present on T cells. In fact, tumoral expression of Fas was predictive of survival in patients with DLBCL who were treated with anti-CD19 CAR-T cell therapy in the phase 1/2 ZUMA-1 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02348216). …

“I think it’s becoming more and more [clear] that the CAR-Ts, in addition to their CAR interaction with the tumor antigen, rely on the Fas-Fas ligand…interaction to exert their killing. The next question is, ‘how do we manipulate these pathways safely to make CARs more potent?”” said Saad J. Kenderian, MB, ChB, a consultant in the division of hematology in the department of internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study. …

NOTE: Read the article to find out more about the study and Dr. Kenderian's comments.


Concussions: More than a headache

Driftless JOURNAL (Decorah, Iowa), 1/30/2021

… Scott Bohner, D.O., Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, noted that the onset of symptoms may occur minutes or hours after suffering a concussion, such as confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea or fatigue. Other symptoms, which include memory issues, difficulty sleeping, mood changes and imbalance, can arise days later.
    Individuals should seek medical care if they suspect a concussion and are experiencing a severe headache, trouble walking or talking, vision changes, vomiting more than three times, loss of control over bladder or bowels, or feeling weak or numb in part of the body.
“Obviously the more physical or dangerous the sport is to the head, the more risk of concussion,” the WMC doctor said.

NOTE: Read the article for more on concussions from Dr. Bohner.


Mayo Clinic shows expertise in COVID-19 discussions worldwide

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Tags: About, Alex Adjei, Ali Duarte-Garcia, breast cancer, CAR-T, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussion, COVID-19, depression, diabetes, drug discovery, Findings, gene mutation, Grzegorz Nowakowski, health disparities, heart attack, heart failure, Henry Ting, hereditary cancer, hormones, Kejal Kantarci, Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars, lupus, lymphoma, mammogram, medical innovation, menopause, migraine, neuropathy, News, News of the Week, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, obesity, oncology, opioids, pancreatitis, Rashmi Halker Singh, S. Vincent Rajkumar, Saad Kenderian, Sam Savitz, Scott Bohner, Stephanie Faubion, Timothy Nelson, Vijay Singh, women's health

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