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.

June 28, 2021

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 6/28/2021

By Advancing the Science contributor

Vaping, medical AI, the challenges of serving patients with cancer and diabetes, current COVID-19 vaccine and long haul information, and a wide selection of other topics are covered in this week's news.


The Vaping Study You Haven’t Heard Of

Slate, 6/25/2021

A report from the Mayo Clinic looked at 70,000 patients and found no link between e-cigarettes and COVID-19.


Medical AI Confronts Pesky Problem: People

Forbes, 6/27/2021

A statistical measure called “area under the curve” assured Mayo Clinic researchers that their new artificial intelligence (AI) tool was terrific. Then, the clinic doctors threw them a curve ball.

“Some [primary care] doctors thought it was redundant or unnecessary, because they know their patient,” said Barbara Barry, a Mayo scientist who studies how people interact with AI. 

NOTE: Visit the article for both print and audio versions, and more from Dr. Barry.


Clinical Challenge: Immunotherapy-Related Diabetes in Cancer Patients

MedPage Today, 6/25/2021

— The immune-related adverse event is rare and manageable, but not necessarily reversible

… Patients who start ICI therapy with diabetes that is well controlled can still face crisis-level irAEs. Yogish C. Kudva, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues reviewed electronic health records data from 1,444 patients, and pinpointed a dozen patients who received ICIs over 6 years who developed new-onset insulin-dependent diabetes; nine others experienced worsening of preexisting type 2 diabetes (T2D). In the latter group, the "underlying mechanism appears similar to spontaneous T1D but there is a faster progression to severe insulin deficiency," the authors wrote in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.


Levothyroxine Overprescribing Is Common, Consistent Over Time

Medscape, 6/24/2021

Most US prescriptions for the thyroid hormone replacement drug levothyroxine are not appropriate for patients with mild subclinical hypothyroidism, a trend that has remained steady for a decade despite evidence showing no significant benefits for those patients, new research shows.


Financial Burden Higher With CVD Than Cancer

Medscape, 6/24/2021

Cardiovascular disease is associated with even higher financial distress — so-called financial toxicity (FT) — than the well-documented association with cancer, and worst off were those with both diagnoses, a new study suggests.


A mix of lab-made antibodies shows promise in treating COVID-19

The Week, 6/23/2021

… The treatment also offers much hope to transplant patients suffering from Covid-19. When researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota screened transplant patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 and provided monoclonal antibodies early, the results were promising. “The outcomes of the first 73 treated patients were favourable, with low rate of hospitalisation and ICU admissions,” Raymund R. Razonable, vice chair of the infectious diseases division at the Mayo Clinic, tells THE WEEK.

NOTE: Read the article for more from Dr. Razonable and other experts.


J&J booster needed? Guidance, please

Star Tribune, 6/25/2021

Variants, new research raise questions about necessity of second shot.

…Debate over J&J boosters is growing. Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a prominent virologist, recently shared that she had gotten a Pfizer vaccine to "top off" her J&J shot. Others urging federal officials to consider this include Mayo Clinic's Dr. Vincent Rajkumar and Stanford University's Dr. Michael Lin.


Coronavirus Life: What To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

U.S. News, 6/22/2021

In a remarkably quick time period—lower than one year—scientists managed to design, create, and check a number of potential vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

… The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, like most of the vaccines at present furthest alongside in growth, goal a specific protein—the spike protein—that the coronavirus makes use of to contaminate individuals. So mutations of that protein may doubtlessly make a vaccine much less efficient, says Poland on the Vaccine Research Group on the Mayo Clinic…

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Poland, or read his Vaccine commentary referenced in the article.


Alzheimer’s drug stirs hope for patients, worry for doctors

AP, 6/27/2021

In the weeks since a new Alzheimer’s drug was approved, hopeful patients have bombarded Dr. Alireza Atri with calls and emails about a treatment that has sparked both excitement and skepticism. 

… Safety will be a key consideration, according to Dr. Ronald Petersen at the Mayo Clinic, which is coming up with its own use guidelines for the drug. “We want to be conservative here,” said Petersen, an Alzheimer’s specialist who has consulted with most major drugmakers in the field, including Biogen.


The growing global "infodemic" around stem cell therapies 

Axios, 6/24/2021

An industry centered around unproven stem cell therapies is flourishing due to misinformation.

…"There is an infodemic in this area; it's run by misinformation," says Zubin Master, associate professor of biomedical ethics at Mayo Clinic's Biomedical Ethics Research Program and the Center for Regenerative Medicine.


Doctor warns fall months will be ‘most dangerous’ for unvaccinated 

KTAR, 6/28/2021

About half of Arizona’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and a Mayo Clinic doctor encourages the rest who are eligible to do the same. “As we move toward the fall, I believe that we will be entering the most dangerous period for those that are unvaccinated or choose not to be vaccinated,” Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, said during a call with reporters last week…


World Vitiligo Day 

WJCT, 6/25/2021

June 25 is World Vitiligo Day. Vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes white spots on the skin, is commonly referred to as a “forgotten” disease, but it's estimated to affect up to 2% of the population. Dr. Ashley Wentworth of the Mayo Clinic  joined us to discuss the disease and what the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville does to treat and study it.


New rules make it easier for FDA to crack down on unscrupulous stem cell providers, doctors hope

WFTS, 6/24/2021

3 1/2 year grace period to file paperwork recently ended

…Dr. Zubin Master, a bioethicist at the Mayo Clinic whose research focuses on regenerative medicine believes the FDA has done a good job regulating the industry but he also believes more can be done if the stem cell industry was standardized globally. Recently, he co-authored a report calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to get involved. Master, who wrote this report independent from his role at the Mayo Clinic, thinks setting more global standards for stem cell therapy will help better regulate the industry worldwide and dispel misinformation about what is and isn’t approved uses for stem cell treatments.

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Master.


'Greatest threat': A warning on the dangers of COVID-19's Delta variant and children 

WTMJ, 6/24/2021

The newest COVID-19 variant is being called the “greatest threat” to the nation’s efforts to contain the pandemic by White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Centers for Disease Control has labeled the Delta variant “a variant of concern.” Now a doctor who heads up the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Greg Poland, is warning parents they need to be proactive to keep their children safe…

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Poland.


Shaji Kumar, MD on the Impact of Daratumumab, Lenalidomide, and Dexamethasone in Transplant-Ineligible Newly Diagnosed MM 

CancerNetwork, 6/24/2021

CancerNetwork sat down with Shaji Kumar, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting to talk about the 5-year follow-up to the phase 3 MAIA study (NCT02252172) and the impact of daratumumab (Darzalex), lenalidomide (Revlimid), and dexamethasone in transplant-ineligible newly diagnosed multiple myeloma vs lenalidomide and dexamethasone.

NOTE: Read more online or watch the video interview with Dr. Kumar.


Dr. Sonbol on the Role of Pembrolizumab in Gastric Cancer

OncLive, 6/24/2021

Bassam Sonbol, MD, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona, discusses the role of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of patients with gastric cancer.

NOTE: Read more online or watch the video interview with Dr. Sonbol.


Drugmakers Broaden Pitch for Covid Therapy as Case Rate Slows 

Bloomberg, 6/23/2021

As Covid-19 cases decline, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Vir Biotechnology Inc. are seeking new life for their monoclonal antibody therapies as preventative drugs, targeting millions of people worldwide with compromised immune systems.

… Moreover, if patients do lack responses in other parts of the immune system after vaccination, it’s not yet known whether antibodies alone can provide sufficient protection, said Vincent Rajkumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.


Mayo receives awards for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery project 

La Crosse Tribune, 6/23/2021

Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse has received the Bronze Award and Excellence Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers for its Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) project. The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers presented Mayo’s Southwest Wisconsin Orthopedics team with the awards May 21…


Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19 Effective for Transplant Patients 

HealthDay, 6/23/2021

Favorable outcomes, minimal adverse effects seen in solid organ transplant recipients who received monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19

Monoclonal antibody therapy seems to be beneficial for solid organ transplant recipients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, according to a study published online June 7 in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. Zachary A. Yetmar, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of solid organ transplant recipients who received monoclonal antibody infusion for COVID-19 through Jan. 23, 2021. Data were included for 73 patients (63 percent male) with a median age of 59 years.


Study: Hip replacement increases quality of life, but not activity 

Inforum, 6/22/2021

Researchers find joint surgery alone won't start patients moving. You have to do that yourself.

Does an artificial hip put a bigger hop in your step? It depends. That's the takeaway from a bracing new study showing that getting a total hip replacement does not itself lead to greater physical activity.


Florida putting $12 million additional funding towards Alzheimer's research and resources

First Coast News, 6/21/2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in Jacksonville at The Windsor at San Pablo Monday to announce $12 million in additional funding from the state toward Alzheimer's research and resources…Just down the road from the facility is Mayo Clinic, which DeSantis says will benefit from the increased funding because their research program is funded by a grant through the state…“Research right next door at the Mayo Clinic is funded by this program and offers educational support as well as opportunities to participate in clinical trials and medical discoveries," DeSantis said.


Investigational Alzheimer's Drug Shows Effects in Inherited Early-Onset Disease

MedPage Today, 6/21/2021

Gantenerumab improves amyloid, tau, neurodegeneration biomarkers

…"The good news is that the anti-amyloid therapies are working the way they should, by reducing the amyloid load," noted Kejal Kantarci, MD, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn't involved with the study. "Although there were no cognitive benefits, this may be due to the fact that the group that was studied was too small and the study timeline was too short to effectively test this," Kantarci told MedPage Today.


AASM deems sleep 'essential to health' in position statement

Healio News, 6/22/2021

Sleep represents a “biological necessity” that is “essential to health,” according to a position paper published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

…“Healthy sleep is as important as proper nutrition and regular exercise for our health and well-being, and sleep is critical for performance and safety,” Kannan Ramar, MBBS, MD, sleep medicine physician at the Center for Sleep Medicine, professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and immediate past president of the AASM, said in a press release.

NOTE: Read article for more from Dr. Ramar.


US Studies Ease Concerns About Downstream Testing With hs-Troponin 

TCTMD, 6/22/2021

In general, switching to high-sensitivity assays was not associated with major bumps in additional evaluations.

…Similarly, when two Mayo Clinic Health System hospitals in Wisconsin moved to an hs-cTn T assay, there were big increases in the diagnosis of myocardial injury and MI, but declines in length of stay and use of stress testing. There was a small increase in use of invasive angiography, and no changes in echocardiography or coronary CT angiography, lead author Olatunde Ola, MD (Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse, WI), and colleagues report…“The message, I think, is that there is not this huge downstream resource overutilization that many feared,” Yader Sandoval, MD (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN), senior author of the Wisconsin-focused study, told TCTMD.


Helping COVID Long-Haulers Get Back on Their Feet 

US News & World Report, 6/21/2021

Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, Title: Medical director, COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation Program, Mayo Clinic. In mid-2020, doctors began noticing a troubling pattern in some COVID-19 survivors – even those with mild infection. Profound, persistent fatigue and disrupted thinking abilities like memory and multitasking were affecting work and family life for patients, whose symptoms were often brushed off by employers and society overall. In June 2020, Vanichkachorn, an aerospace medicine specialist, occupational medicine specialist and family medicine physician, helped launch Mayo’s program, among the first in the country to evaluate and treat patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome.

As told to Lisa Esposito, as part of U.S. News & World Report’s “One Pandemic Question” series…

NOTE: Read article for Dr. Vanichkachorn's discussion.

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Tags: About, Alzheimer's disease, antibodies, artificial intelligence, Ashley Wentworth, autoimmune disorder, Awards, Barbara Barry, bioethics, biomedical ethics, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Center for Regenerative Medicine, COVID-19, diabetes, education, epidemiology, FDA, Findings, gastrointestinal cancer, Greg Vanichkachorn, Gregory Poland, health care systems engineering, hip replacement, hormones, immunotherapy, infectious disease, Kannan Ramar, Kejal Kantarci, M. Bassam Sonbol, Mayo Clinic Health System, medical research, medical research education, multiple myeloma, News, News of the Week, Olatunde Ola, oncology, Progress Updates, pulmonary and critical care medicine, rare disease, Raymund Razonable, Ronald Petersen, S. Vincent Rajkumar, Shaji Kumar, sleep medicine, stem cell therapy, stem cells, thyroid disease, transplant, vaccines, vaping, World Health Organization, Yader Sandoval, Yogish Kudva, Zachary Yetmar, Zubin Master

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