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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.

June 7, 2021

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 6/7/2021

By Advancing the Science contributor

Mayo Clinic research and faculty experts are cited by media outlets on a range of topics this week including the newly-approved Alzheimer's drug (Monday, 6/7/2021), a new treatment for multiple myeloma and another for precocious puberty, as well as remote patient monitoring and other timely topics.


Alzheimer’s Drug Poses a Dilemma for the F.D.A. 

The New York Times, 6/5/2021

If the agency approves it, aducanumab would be the first new Alzheimer’s treatment since 2003. Patients are desperate for new options, but some scientists say there isn’t enough evidence it works…

And some experts, like Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minn., say they’re “on the fence.” He said he’d like to give patients a new option soon but “the data are iffy.” …

NOTE: Similar coverage of the experts' concerns have appeared in a number of other media outlets, some quoting Dr. Petersen, others David Knopman, M.D., another prominent Mayo Clinic neurologist.

Monday morning, June 7, the FDA approved this drug.


Lessons from the pandemic

The Japan Times, 6/6/2021

Since the first news of a mysterious illness began to appear out of Wuhan, Hubei province, China — when a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin were first reported in December of 2019 — the coronavirus has wreaked havoc with the economies and social fabric of most countries around the world…

The speed of China’s response was critical for its success, as was explained to The Lancet by Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research group at the Mayo Clinic. In China, some 1,000 hospital beds for coronavirus patients were built in just 10 days, while in the United States, many hospitals were unable to respond to the increasing demand for such beds…


Covid-19: Here's proof why we should test more rapidly

The Times of India, 6/6/2021

The weekly growth rate of coronavirus testing during the second wave of pandemic reveals how grossly underprepared were the states to handle the crisis…

“When the second wave started, we should have had excess capacity to test much more, and using test positivity increased testing, anticipated and made policy changes. But either we didn’t have the capacity or were not doing much contact tracing and testing of household contacts,” Vincent Rajkumar, professor of medicines at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, United States.

NOTE: A well-respected Mayo Clinic hematologist, Dr. Rajkumar has provided educated commentary on COVID-19 and its vaccines, primarily in the social media arena. Follow him on Twitter: @VincentRK.


Pandemic allows CIOs to move with new speed, but cyber threats lie in wait

Healthcare IT News, 6/4/2021

Agility, flexibility and security are the focus of the latest installment in our COVID-19 era lessons learned feature series, which this time showcases four CIOs, including Mayo Clinic's Cris Ross.


Understanding the Mysteries of POTS and Other Autonomic Disorders

Brain & Life, June/July issues

Vague and common symptoms make disorders of the autonomic nervous system difficult to identify and treat, but better understanding among doctors is improving the prognosis for patients…

POTS is a form of dysautonomia, an umbrella term for conditions that affect the autonomic nervous system (ANS). “The ANS controls things like blood flow to different organs, heart rate, breathing, body temperature, and digestion—automatic functions of the body that occur involuntarily, in the background,” says William P. Cheshire, MD, FAAN, professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Florida. “Autonomic nerves reach every organ and help regulate its function in harmony with other organs or in response to stress. With dysautonomias, there's some disturbance in that system. The effects can be systemic or confined to one area.”


A New Biomarker to Diagnose Acute Myocarditis? 

TCTMD, 6/3/2021

The microRNA’s specificity to myocarditis is unique, and “that would make it a very powerful tool,” a researcher says…

Study author DeLisa Fairweather, PhD (Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL), told TCTMD that “by having a biomarker like this that could be rapidly examined, this would be a distinguishing way to understand that this is myocarditis versus a myocardial infarct versus potentially some other kind of heart disease.” Fairweather said this microRNA—dubbed hsa-miR-Chr8:96—is unique in that it is specific to myocarditis, which contrasts with other CV biomarkers like troponin, which can reflect damage related to a variety of conditions. “That would make it a very powerful tool,” she said.


A Major Change? 6-Monthly Leuprolide for Central Precocious Puberty 

Medscape, 6/3/2021

The 6-month subcutaneously injectable leuprolide acetate (Fensolvi, Tolmar Pharmaceuticals) effectively and safely treats children with central precocious (early) puberty, research suggests…

Asked to comment, session moderator Jad G. Sfeir, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, told Medscape Medical News: "Prior to this, treating precocious puberty was always a challenge...This is a major change, as the treatments can be spaced out and still show good benefit based on this study."


Clinical Challenges: Quadruplet Therapy in Multiple Myeloma

MedPage Today, 6/1/2021 

Potential for deeper responses weighed against cost considerations

…"We want regimens that produce the longest disease-free or progression-free survival, because they predict the best outcomes, including long-term survival," said Rafael Fonseca, MD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. "And you do that by achieving the deepest response possible, so getting the deepest response is the most important thing for a frontline regimen at the moment."


Remote patient monitoring reduces acute care use among patients with cancer, COVID-19

HemOnc Today, 6/4/2021

A remote patient monitoring program significantly reduced the rate of hospitalization among patients with cancer diagnosed with COVID-19, according to results of a cross-sectional analysis presented during the virtual ASCO Annual Meeting.

…“Our findings and experiences with the COVID-19 remote patient monitoring [RPM] program have given us optimism about the future of care delivery innovations for [patients with cancer],” Joshua C. Pritchett, MD, fellow in hematology and medical oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Healio. 

NOTE: In addition to Dr. Pritchett, this article quotes Tufia Haddad, M.D., chair of practice innovation and platform for Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and medical director of the Center for Digital Health RPM program.


TAILOR-PCI: Genotype-Guided Antiplatelet Therapy Misses

Medscape, 6/4/2021

The observational extended study of the previously reported 12-month randomized TAILOR-PCI trial shows genotype-guided antiplatelet therapy after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) did not significantly reduce ischemic events compared with conventional therapy, after a median of 39 months. This was the same finding as in the original trial


Survey: Telemedicine became 'essential tool' for headache care during COVID-19 pandemic

Healio News, 6/4/2021

Telemedicine enabled headache care for “many patients” during the COVID-19 pandemic, with high rates of patient satisfaction, according to findings from a survey with more than 1,000 respondents…

“In March 2020, many health care institutions in the United States cancelled elective, non-urgent clinics and procedures in response to the national emergency of COVID-19,” Chia-Chun Chiang, MD, assistant professor of neurology and headache specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said during her presentation. “Telemedicine was quickly implemented and has now become essential, as it minimizes the geographic and physical barriers, preserves personal protective equipment and prevents the spread of COVID-19.”…


Why Scientists Need To Be Better at Visualising Data

Science – The Wire, 6/3/2021

Imagine a science textbook without images. No charts, no graphs, no illustrations or diagrams with arrows and labels. The science would be a lot harder to understand…

Though bar graphs are easy to read and understand, that doesn’t mean they’re always the best choice. In some fields, such as psychology, medicine and physiology, bar graphs can often misrepresent the underlying data and mask important details.

“Bar graphs are something that you should use if you are visualising counts or proportions,” says Tracey Weissgerber, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who studies how research is done and reported. “But they’re not a very effective strategy for visualising continuous data.”…

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Tags: Alzheimer's disease, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular medicine, Chia-Chun Chiang, clinical informatics, clinical research, clinical trials, COVID-19, Cris Ross, David Knopman, DeLisa Fairweather, FDA, Findings, Innovations, Jad Sfeir, Joshua Pritchett, knowledge management, multiple myeloma, myocarditis, neurology, News, POTS, precocious puberty, Rafael Fonseca, remote patient monitoring, Ronald Petersen, S. Vincent Rajkumar, stroke, telehealth, telemedicine, Tracey Weissgerber, Tufia Haddad, William Cheshire

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