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.

May 24, 2021

Mayo Clinic research in the news — 5/24/2021

By Advancing the Science contributor

As we settle into the second year of the pandemic, and immunization efforts are well underway, the focus on health and medical research seems to be settling into a broader spectrum. Read on for news reports with Mayo Clinic research and faculty members, covering BPAs, Reynaud's, C. diff., and some personal achievements, among other topics.

Experts say this common household product could be harming your health

MD Linx, 5/17/2021

… BPA is a chemical used in plastics manufacturing since the 1960s—including ubiquitous products like water bottles and food containers. While the FDA’s stance is that the BPA levels observed in food products are low enough to be considered safe, recent research indicates that the chemical may be harming our health and that past studies have underestimated the amount of BPA that’s entering our bodies. 

… In the meantime, there are some small actions you can take to lower your BPA exposure. Brent Bauer, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, advises using products labeled “BPA-free” and bear in mind that recycled products with codes 3 or 7 may contain BPA. Another good starting point is to cut down on canned products as much as possible, and use glass or stainless steel containers for food and beverages. You should also avoid putting polycarbonate plastics in the microwave or dishwasher because the heat may allow BPA to transfer into foods.

NOTE: Dr. Bauer is director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. Read about the Integrative Medicine and Health Research Program.

MI diagnoses rise with fifth-generation troponin assay; no resource utilization increase 

Cardiology Today, 5/19/2021

Fifth-generation troponin testing improved diagnosis of MI and myocardial injury, but it did not significantly affect overall resource utilization, according to data presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session…

“Our findings are among the first in the U.S. to provide insights into the real-life implementation of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin into clinical practice. While some previous studies offered some data, ours provides data on the implementation of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T using sex-specific 99th percentile upper-reference limits and diagnoses adjudicated using the Fourth Universal Definition of MI,” Yader Sandoval, MD, interventional cardiologist and consultant in the department of cardiovascular medicine at Mayo Clinic, told Healio. 

NOTE: Read article for more about the study and from Dr. Sandoval Pichardo.

Mayo's new research lab promises 'medicine of the future'

Yahoo News, via Star Tribune, 5/22/2021

Plans were already in the works for a new research laboratory on the Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Then the experience of living through a global pandemic convinced Mayo that there's no such thing as too much biomedical research.

So the clinic nearly tripled the size of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building, only the second dedicated research lab to be built in Rochester in the past 30 years. …

Microvascular complications from CGRP antagonists for migraines uncommon in Raynaud's 

Healio Rheumatology, 5/19/2021

Microvascular complications from the use of calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonists for migraines are uncommon in patients with underlying Raynaud’s syndrome, according to data published in JAMA Network Open.

“Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists were recently approved by the FDA in 2018 and have shown tremendous promise for the use in migraine,” Ilana D. Breen, BS, of the Mayo Clinic Arizona, told Healio Rheumatology. “CGRP is a known potent vasodilator, leading to our concern that these medications may lead to exacerbation of microvascular disease in susceptible patients, such as in those with Raynaud phenomenon.

Microbiome Therapies for Recurrent C. Diff Advance 

MedPage Today, 5/22/2021

Two bacteria-based treatments for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection showed positive results in late-stage randomized trials, bringing them a step closer to the clinic.

The studies tested proprietary mixtures of bacterial agents that colonize the intestinal tract and prevent C. difficile from thriving, and were reported on at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) virtual meeting…

Interim results from a separate open-label RBX2660 trial, PUNCH CD3 OLS, were also reported at DDW in a poster presentation. This trial is using "less restrictive" eligibility criteria than in the randomized trial in an attempt to capture more of a "real-world patient population," the investigators (including Feuerstadt) explained in the poster. In particular, patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease were allowed to enroll, whereas they were excluded from PUNCH CD3, said co-author Sahil Khanna, MBBS, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Khanna.

Man's Robotic Arm Works Faster With High-Tech Sense of Touch

HealthDay, 5/24/2021

… "It has long been known that motor prosthetics need to take into account the external world in order to offer improved performance," said J. Luis Lujan, an associate professor of neurologic surgery at Mayo Clinic. "The work of this research team further demonstrates the importance of tactile and visual feedback in the control of movement, whether of an individual's own limbs or robotic devices."

Cheryl Willman named head of Mayo Clinic Cancer Programs

The Cancer Letter, 5/20/2021

Cheryl Willman was named executive director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Programs and director of Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her transition to Mayo will occur sometime in August, officials said.

…Willman, a pathologist, and cancer genome scientist with a particular interest in cancer health disparities, comes to Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center at a time when the institution is planning an aggressive expansion, development and recruitment of cancer physicians and scientists in Mayo Clinic sites in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota, as well as newly developing Mayo Clinic global cancer programs in London and Abu Dhabi…

40 Under 40: Anna Carrano of Mayo Clinic

The Business Journals, 5/20/2021

NOTE: Read the article for more on the program and Dr. Carrano, who is a postdoctoral neurology researcher.

Mayo Clinic doctors explain the importance of clinical trials

WXOW, 5/20/2021

NOTE: Watch the news clip or read the article online for more from Mayo Clinic physicians Andrew Badley, M.D.; and Naveen Pereira, M.D.

American Thyroid Association Honors Spyridoula Maraka, M.D., with National Thyroid Research Award

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 5/17/2021

Spyridoula Maraka, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), is one of three women nationwide to receive the 2020 Women Advancing Thyroid Research Award from the American Thyroid Association (ATA).

… In addition to her duties at UAMS, Maraka is a physician at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and an investigator in the Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit for Mayo Clinic. She also serves on the editorial board for Thyroid, the official journal of the ATA, and is recognized for her work in the journal’s article, “Clinical Outcomes after Discontinuation of Thyroid Hormone Replacement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”

Why systems thinking is make or break for medical students’ careers

American Medical Association, 5/21/2021

The last few years have been a whirlwind for medical education. The COVID-19 pandemic, growing awareness of social determinants of health, shifting economics and rapidly changing technology have all posed new challenges for educators charged with preparing physicians to-be. But there’s a concept—systems thinking—that ties together all these phenomena and even facilitates the master adaptive learning process…

Following are highlights from "How Can the Master Adaptive Learner Model and Health Systems Science Collaborate to Improve Health Care?" That is Chapter 15 of The Master Adaptive Learner, an instructor-directed textbook designed to help faculty engender the habits of mind for lifelong learning in medicine in their students… 

NOTE: Read article for more on the topic. The highlighted chapter was co-authored by Stephanie Starr, M.D.

Delaying second doses offers wider immunity where vaccines are scarce

The Japan Times, 5/21/2021

Faced with a limited supply of shots and anxious populations waiting their turn, more countries are turning to an initially controversial strategy that’s now been vindicated by scientific studies: doubling or tripling the intervals between the first and second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine…

“If I could, I would push a button that says right now, this second, we give one dose to everybody we can reach,” Gregory Poland, a virologist and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “We’ll get around to second doses later…


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Tags: Andrew Badley, Anna Carrano, biomedical research, Brent Bauer, C. diff, cardiology, Cheryl Willman, clinical trials, COVID-19, education, Findings, Gregory Poland, Illana Breen, integrative medicine, J. Luis Lujan, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, medical research education, migraine, Naveen Pereira, News, News of the Week, People, Raynaud's syndrome, research, robotic technology, Sahil Khanna, Spyridoula Maraka, Stephanie Starr, vaccines, Yader Sandoval Pichardo

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