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.

March 1, 2021

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 3/1/2021

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Media coverage of Mayo Clinic research and expertise covered home cancer screening tests, youth vaping, several advancements in women's health, COVID-19 and many other topics. Read on for excerpts and links to the articles.


Health officials: "Youth vaping a serious issue" 

KAAL, 2/25/2021

New findings show youth vaping in Minnesota is worse than many had previously thought. … "Once they are dependent on the nicotine they are getting, they use it to manage their moods. So the message is yes, the best thing to breathe is air and nothing else. But the other thing is to develop other coping mechanisms and not relying on any drug," says Dr. Taylor Hays, Director, Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic.

NOTE: Read article or watch full clip with Dr. Hays' interview.


Putting Faith Into Heart Health 

Minnesota Women's Press, 2/25/2021

Dr. LaPrincess Brewer, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, grew up in Charlotte, NC, attending a Black church. She recalls, “I saw so many congregation members, who were like family to me, passing away from preventable chronic diseases, heart attacks and stroke. I carried these heartbreaks and memories with me throughout my training in medical school. Pursuing a career in cardiology would allow me to reach members of the population that are disproportionately affected.”

NOTE: Read article for more about Dr. Brewer and her research.


Do Home Cancer Tests Work as Well as a Colonoscopy? 

U.S. News & World Report, 2/22/2021

Aside from skin cancers, "colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States," according to the American Cancer Society. It's also the third-leading cause of deaths associated with cancer in men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2021, colorectal cancer is expected to cause about 52,980 deaths, according to the ACS.

… Fortunately, colorectal cancer is very treatable if detected early, says Dr. Daniel H. Ahn, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. "If caught at an early stage, colorectal cancer is not only highly treatable, but curable in many instances, highlighting the importance of routine health maintenance," Ahn says. That means screening.

NOTE: Read article for more from the experts, including Dr. Ahn.


How two pioneering sisters paved the way for women in medicine | Frank Buckley Interviews 

KTLA, 2/24/2021

NOTE: This podcast is an interview by Frank Buckley with Janice P. Nimura,  a writer and recipient of a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Nicole Sandhu, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic general internal medicine doctor, educator and researcher.


Vaginal Pessary Viable Alternative to Surgery for Weak Pelvic Floor

MedPage Today, 2/24/2021

Majority of women continued treatment for at least 5 years

… "This study highlights the efficacy and long-term acceptability of pessaries for women with symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse, positioning them as a simple and safe solution that may obviate the need for pelvic reconstructive surgery," said NAMS medical director Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in a statement.


Inflammation, rheumatologic disorders and heart health 

KEYC, 2/26/2021

According to the Mayo Clinic, Rheumatic diseases are often grouped under the term “arthritis” — which is used to describe over 100 diseases and conditions. These cases of inflammation can have lasting effects on one’s heart health. Dr. Niti Aggarwal, a local Cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, is weighing in on what you should know.

NOTE: Read article or watch news clip for more from Dr. Aggarwal.


U of M, UMN Hormel Institute, and Mayo collaborate on new citizen science project

Austin Daily Herald, 2/23/2021

A University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic partnership has joined with the Zooniverse citizen scientist platform and the Francis Crick Institute in London to leverage world-leading expertise in microscope imaging with the power of citizen science to study the relationship between structure and function in biology to better understand health and disease.

NOTE: Read the article for more on this innovative way to conduct scientific research, as well as comment from project co-leader Jeffrey Salisbury, Ph.D., a cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic.


Depressed adolescents more physiologically reactive to acute social media use vs. controls

Healio News, 2/22/2021

Adolescents with depression were more physiologically reactive to acute social media use vs. controls, according to results of a prospective, cross-sectional study published in Journal of Psychiatric Research.

“In this study, we sought to assess the impact of acute [social media use] on clinical symptoms and physiological markers of stress in a sample of healthy and depressed adolescents,” Reem M.A. Shafi, MBBS, of the department of psychiatry and psychology at Mayo Clinic, and colleagues wrote. …


New proton technique enables more specific targeting of resistant cancer cells

DOTMED HealthCareBusiness News, 2/25/2021

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed LEAP, a new technique that enables clinicians to more specifically target and administer proton therapy to cancer cells that resist other forms of treatment.

"We compared the effects of delivering the same amount of energy or dose into cancer cells using a dense energy deposition pattern with LEAP versus spreading out the same energy more diffusely, which is typical of conventional photon and proton therapy," said radiation oncologist Dr. Robert Mutter, co-principal investigator of the study. "Surprisingly, we discovered that cancers with inherent defects in the ATM-BRCA1-BRCA2 pathway are exquisitely sensitive to a new concentrated proton technique." …


New Uterine Fibroid Treatment Shows Promise

Everyday Health, 2/22/2021

Shown to reduce the symptoms and size of fibroid growths, the new oral combination therapy is undergoing FDA review.

…“Having alternative options that are not as invasive as hysterectomy is important, and it is exciting to hear the results of every study on medical therapy. One of the main concerns of women with symptomatic uterine fibroids is the ability to work and carry on normal activities without interference from heavy menstrual bleeding or other symptoms. Surgical procedures require a longer recovery time, so having medical therapy that is highly effective for the symptoms allows women to treat fibroids in a way that works with their schedules,” says Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Laughlin-Tomaso was not involved with the new study.  

… There are other nonsurgical options such as lupron, a GnRH agonist. Elizabeth A. Stewart, MD, a coauthor of the study and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of reproductive endocrinology at Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School points out key differences between the combo therapy and lupron:  …


Dr. Stephen A. Boorjian on the next steps with nadofaragene firadenovec in NMIBC

Urology Times, 2/23/2021

Stephen A. Boorjian, MD, professor of urology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, discusses the next steps with the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) nadofaragene firadenovec in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

NOTE: Read the article for the rest of the summary and the video podcast from Dr. Boorjian.


Visual Interpretation of Tau PET Predicts Cognitive Decline

Medscape, 2/22/2021

A relatively simple and accessible Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved method of visually classifying flortaucipir PET accurately predicts cognitive deterioration, new research shows.

The results from two independent studies consistently showed that patients with a flortaucipir advanced tau pattern had greater mean deterioration across several clinical endpoints within 18 months.

… Commenting on the analysis for Medscape Medical News, David Knopman, MD, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said its dataset was "very unique" in that it included such a large number of subjects with symptomatic cognitive impairment.

The results provide "important further validation" of the relevance of tau PET for cognition, and "suggest that a visual read, as opposed to a quantitative analysis, could work in clinical settings," said Knopman, who was not associated with the current research.

"Overall, the results provide a great demonstration of role of tauopathy in the AD spectrum." …


Pre-Emptive Treatment May Be Superior to Reactive Treatment of Hand–Foot Reactions in mCRC

Targeted Oncology, 2/25/2021

A preplanned analysis of the Regorafenib Dose Optimization Study (ReDOS; NCT02368886) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) showed using pre-emptive clobetasol to treat hand–foot skin reactions (HFSR) was more effective than treating this adverse event (AE) reactively.

“Regorafenib [Stivarga] causes HFSR. Pre‐emptive clobetasol, a high‐potency topical corticosteroid, appears to lessen the severity of this AE,” wrote the authors led by Aminah Jatoi, MD of the Mayo Clinic, in the published manuscript. “Although further study is needed, the favorable AE profile of this intervention might prompt clinicians to discuss this option with their patients.” …

NOTE: Read the full article for more from Dr. Jatoi and the study results.


How poor communication exacerbates health inequities – and what to do about it

Brookings, 2/22/2021

In the United States, we know that long-standing systemic health and social inequities increase the likelihood of poor outcomes or death for members of racial and ethnic minority groups. For example, Black babies are more likely to die before their first birthday, and Black women are more likely to die from childbirth-related causes than their white counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored the fact that economic and social circumstancessocial determinants of health (SDOH), and maldistribution of resources contribute significantly to health inequity.

… Learning from such efforts and recognizing its troubled history with the non-white community in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins hospital has organized teams to go into communities and build trust with residents and their leaders, working with senior centers, churches, mosques, and other neighborhood settings. Since 2013 the Mayo Clinic has developed a similar partnership with Black churches in Minnesota, focused on cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. North Carolina and the Washington, D.C. area are among the places where community clinics are working closely with Black churches to build greater acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination. Trust-building approaches like these are urgently needed to increase the vaccination rate in non-white communities.


Mayo Clinic to build education research center in Phoenix

Phoenix Business Journal, 2/26/2021

Mayo Clinic is planning to build the education and research building on its Phoenix hospital campus. In an exclusive interview, the CEO explains why the Valley was chosen for the expansion and what's happening next.


Our eyes may provide early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Washington Post, 2/27/2021

Forget the soul — it turns out the eyes may be the best window to the brain. Changes to the retina may foreshadow Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and researchers say a picture of your eye could assess your future risk of neurodegenerative disease. … Early detection “is sort of the holy grail,” said Ron Petersen, director of Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. 

NOTE: Read the full article for more on the topic and from Dr. Petersen.


U. Minnesota to pilot 'next-generation' Google-powered program for health science students

EDSCOOP, 2/26/2021

 Beginning next year, 50 health science students at the University of Minnesota will use Google’s cloud tools to pilot a “next-generation” education experience, the university announced this week.

The “NXT GEN MED” program at Minnesota’s Rochester campus will offer a “one-of-a-kind” program to students next year, including access to a suite of Google’s cloud tools, like 24/7 virtual assistants, premium features on Google Meet and personalized, artificial intelligence-powered tutors.

… The program also will incorporate various learning strategies, Carrell said, including “flipped instruction,” in which students spend more time working to solve real-world problems with their teachers, rather than listening to long lectures, as well as internship and mentorship programs with the nearby Mayo Clinic. …


Would ApoE Make a Better Therapeutic Target Than Aβ?

ALZFORUM, 2/26/2021

Although several anti-amyloid therapies in Alzheimer’s clinical trials melt away plaques, the process stresses blood vessels, causing tiny tears and fluid leakage into the brain. These morphological changes, dubbed amyloid-related imaging abnormalities, aka ARIA, can be detected by MRI. Could a therapy that goes after a different component of plaques clear them without causing ARIA?

… “[It] provides a clear rationale to pursue anti-ApoE based immunotherapy.” Guojun Bu at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, agreed. Bu is optimistic about the potential of ApoE-directed therapies. “These data will spur new interest in targeting ApoE, and diversify our portfolio for treating AD,” Bu said. …

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Bu and about the research.


Revised Anaphylaxis Diagnostic Guidelines Seen as an Improvement

HCP Live, 2/28/2021

In data presented during AAAAI 21, researchers compared the 2006 and 216 versions of the diagnostic criteria proposed by the NIAD/FAAN.

New research shows a recently revised diagnostic criteria is sufficient for emergency departments to identify and treat anaphylaxis in patients.

The World Allergy Organization (WAO) proposed in 2019 a revision of the anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria proposed in 2006 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/ Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (NIAD/FAAN).

A team, led by Justine M. Ade, MD, Mayo Clinic, assessed the accuracy of the revised clinical criteria in 2019 compared to the original diagnostic criteria in 2006 in data presented during the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) 2021 Virtual Sessions. …


Bekaii-Saab Shares Suggested Sequencing Algorithm for Advanced HCC

OncLive, 2/26/2021

Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, MD, FACP, shares his approach for treating patients with HCC across several lines of therapy and factors to consider when making sequencing decisions.

… In an interview with OncLive® during the Institutional Perspectives in Cancer webinar on Gastrointestinal Malignancies, Bekaii-Saab, a medical oncologist; medical director, Cancer Clinical Research Office; and vice chair and section chief, Medical Oncology, Department of Intern, al Medicine at Mayo Clinic, shared his approach for treating patients with HCC across several lines of therapy and factors to consider when making sequencing decisions.

NOTE: Read the article on treating liver cancer for the full interview with Dr. Bekaii-Saab.


Mayo Clinic on COVID-19 – treatments, vaccines and more.

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Tags: addiction research, Alzheimer's disease, Aminah Jatoi, anaphylaxis, arthritis, basic science, bladder cancer, BRCA1, BRCA2, cancer screening, clinical research, cognitive impairment, colorectal cancer, community engagement, COVID-19, Daniel Ahn, David Knopman, depression, dermatology, education, emergency department, Findings, Guojun Bu, gynecology, health disparities, health sciences research, heart attack, hematology, hepatology, inflammation, Innovations, J. Taylor Hays, Jeffrey Salisbury, LaPrincess Brewer, liver cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, microscopy, multiple chronic conditions, News, News of the Week, Nicole Sandhu, Nicotine Dependence Center, Niti Aggarwal, Parkinson's disease, pediatric research, People, proton beam therapy, psychiatry, psychology, Reem Shafi, research education, rheumatology, Robert Mutter, Ronald Petersen, Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, social media, Stephanie Faubion, Stephen Boorjian, stroke, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, University of Minnesota, uterine fibroids, vaccines, vaping, women's health

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