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.

August 10, 2021

Mayo Clinic Research in the news — 8/9/2021

By Advancing the Science contributor

COVID-19 has once again taken almost all the headlines. However, research and expertise across the vastness of medicine still continues. Those stories are at the top -- dancing after menopause, hemp seeds for inflammation, 'brain orgasms', and more. Then read on for the latest understanding in why the delta variant spreads even among vaccinated people, what we know about the lambda variant, the importance of vaccines - both COVID-19 and the flu, and more.

TODAY, A new study finds postmenopausal women can dance into better heart health

 … “(The paper) is mostly adding to our understanding, and I particularly like that they used not some structured exercise program, but a dance program. I thought that was a unique part about it,” Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director and director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health, who was not involved in the research, told TODAY. “One of the things that I’m not sure that they could capture is that the women might have benefitted from a sense of camaraderie.” …

Real Simple, We All Know Seeds Are Good for You, but These 6 Are the Healthiest

… Hemp (which isn't hallucinogenic) is an unusual food source of GLA, an anti-inflammatory. This may explain why it's linked to skin and joint health, says Cathy Deimeke, a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

MedPage Today, Key Factors Signal Infection Risk in Alcoholic Hepatitis

… Examining outcomes of nearly 300 patients hospitalized for AAH over the past 2 decades, ascites at admission (HR 2.06, 95% CI 1.26-3.36) and use of corticosteroids (HR 1.70, 95% CI 1.05-2.75) showed the greatest association with bacterial infection risk, reported Douglas Simonetto, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues…"Our hope is that future studies can evaluate whether targeted prophylactic antibiotics for patients at high-risk for infection can improve survival," said co-author Daniel Penrice, MD, also of the Mayo Clinic, who noted that an ongoing trial is evaluating the use of antibiotics in patients with severe AAH on prednisolone. …

HealthDay, Most Athletes With Genetic Heart Ailment Can Return to Play

… The study is a continuation of research on return to play that genetic cardiologist Dr. Michael Ackerman, director of Mayo's Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, first published in Journal of the American Medical Association in 2012. "When I joined Mayo Clinic's staff in 2000, we rejected the prevailing approach to athletes with genetic heart diseases that was embraced throughout the world: 'If in doubt, kick them out.' After seeing the demoralizing and destructive effects of disqualification on athletes, we decided to embrace a shared and informed decision-making process," Ackerman said in a Mayo news release. …

Targeted Oncology, Does Atezolizumab Boost Survival With Chemotherapy in Small Cell or Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the Prostate?

“Recent introduction of checkpoint inhibitor therapy for SCC of the prostate was based on extrapolation from studies in small-cell lung cancer. We wanted to review the outcomes for such patients who had received chemo-immunotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic, the study lead Lance C. Pagliaro, MD, professor of oncology, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology at Mayo Clinic, told Targeted Oncology™ in an interview. …

Healio, Non-invasive, inexpensive analytical tool predicts survival in multiple myeloma

… “There are many advantages,” Angela Dispenzieri, MD, from the division of hematology at Mayo Clinic, said in her presentation. “It's more sensitive than immunofixation. It can differentiate M-proteins from therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. It's good for complete response. Part of this project is we think it's good for MRD measurement. It certainly can be used for serial measurements.”

Metro UK, Could the ‘brain orgasm’ of ASMR be the key to better mental wellbeing?

Dr Arya Mohabbat, a physician and expert in integrative medicine at the Mayo Clinic in America, is also studying the effects of ASMR. ‘The science is pretty clear,’ he says. ‘Using a functional MRI we’ve learnt that if you show someone who is ASMR-capable specific stimuli to illicit this response, there is significant increase in activity in areas of the brain that have to do with attention, focus, concentration, sensory processing, plus the reward centres.

Becker’s Hospital Review, Mayo researchers study 2B claims to find telehealth's payoff

Researchers from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic found that telehealth was highly effective at delivering quality care for several healthcare conditions, but can be improved with remote monitoring tools and a flexible payment system, according to a July 30 report published in Telehealth and Medicine Today. The researchers looked at 2 billion claims in all 50 states, covering more than 50 percent of private insurer activity in the United States, from January 2019 to December 2020. Researchers also conducted a provider survey (July to August 2020) and a patient survey (November 2020 to February 2021). …

Rheumatology Advisor, Dementia Associated With RA, But Mitigation Depends on Lifestyle  … Elena Myasoedova, MD, a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and her team used a population-based cohort design to explore the association between RA and dementia as well, adjusting for more than 10 possible confounders, including CVD and CVRFs, in their recent study.2 The study found, in part, that incidence of dementia has decreased since the 1980s, but it highlighted the comorbidity of RA as it relates to dementia. This was the first study to evaluate trends in dementia occurrence, by decade, in RA incidence in the population of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and compare these trends to the general population,” said Dr Myasoedova. …    

CURE, Pregnant Women With Previous or Current Cancer Diagnoses May Experience More Complications During Delivery

The findings, which were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also demonstrated that women with current or historical cancer were older and had more costly hospital visits, compared to women without cancer. “Women who have been diagnosed with cancer either during pregnancy or before they have completed child-bearing need appropriate counseling so they can make informed choices,” the study authors wrote. “However, because of limited clinical experience and expertise, management of cancer in pregnancy remains a challenge for clinicians and the expectant mothers and their families.” …

COVID-19 taking center stage, year 2

Reuters, Explainer: Beyond Delta, scientists are watching new coronavirus variants

…A key issue is that the current vaccines block severe disease but do not prevent infection, said Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccine scientist at the Mayo Clinic. That is because the virus is still capable of replicating in the nose, even among vaccinated people, who can then transmit the disease through tiny, aerosolized droplets. To defeat SARS-CoV-2, he said, will likely require a new generation of vaccines that also block transmission. Until then, the world will remain vulnerable to the rise of new coronavirus variants, according to Poland and other experts…

CNN, What experts are learning about Lambda, a coronavirus 'variant of interest'

… "I think any time a variant is identified and demonstrates the capacity to rapidly spread in a population, you have to be concerned," Dr. Gregory Poland, a professor of medicine and director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told CNN on Friday. There are variants arising every day -- if a variant can be defined as new mutations," he said. "The question is, do those mutations give the virus some sort of advantage, which of course is to human disadvantage? The answer in Lambda is yes."

Mankato Free Press, Officials stress vaccine urgency as school year approaches

… Earlier Wednesday, two Mayo Clinic doctors used a media briefing to highlight vaccines and masks as the keys to safety in schools amid rising COVID-19 cases in Minnesota and across the country. Vaccines should be “No. 1 on everyone’s back-to-school checklist this year,” said Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester. Wearing a mask also provides a layer of protection against COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, she said. …

La Crosse Tribune, Vaccination crucial as variants continue to emerge, Mayo expert says

… That variants continue to emerge, and in quick pace, is not a surprise, says Dr. Ala Dababneh of Mayo Clinic Health System. “We’re going to keep having variants,” Dababneh says. “The virus is just going to keep changing over time. Any time it infects someone, we’re giving it a chance to change. Really what we’re doing right now is trying to keep track of those changes. We’re going to find plenty of mutations. ... We’re seeing evolution in real time.” …

American Medical Association, What doctors wish patients knew about breakthrough COVID infections … A breakthrough case is defined as “detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen in respiratory specimen collected from a person 14 days after receipt of all recommended doses” of one of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S., said AMA member Devang Sanghavi, MD. That means two weeks after the second shot of Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines, or two weeks after the one-shot J&J COVID-19 vaccine. While there is still more that physicians and scientists have to learn about this fast-moving topic, Dr. Sanghavi—an intensivist and medical director of the medical intensivist unit at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida—took time to discuss what doctors wish patients knew about COVID-19 breakthrough infections. …

Wired, Your immune system is not ready for the office

“Never before in modern human history have we had global distancing, social distancing, mask wearing, quarantining and isolating,” says Gregory Poland, head of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in the US. “It’s going to be an interesting experiment of nature to see what happens when you stop the circulation of those viruses for a season.” …

Star Tribune, Minnesota experts back masks against variant threat

While people hoped their mask-wearing days were over, they need to adapt because of the emerging breakthrough infection risk of the delta variant that requires a broader COVID-19 response to augment vaccines, said Dr. Elie Berbari, chairman of infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic. On the encouraging side, delta waves peaked fairly quickly in India and England, he added, so mask-wearing could help Minnesota endure its version with fewer severe illnesses and hospitalizations. …

KAAL, New research shows people with psychiatric disorders more at risk for severe COVID-19

Medical experts say it was clear early on that some groups of people are affected by COVID-19 more than others. For example, older people or those with underlying health conditions. But now health officials say another population is also at risk for severe disease. "A way that we thought about this is that we were looking kind of for a flag. Which groups of people are going to have problems? And this was kind of our first step in identifying those groups," Jennifer St. Sauver, professor of epidemiology at Mayo Clinic, said.

WQOW-TV, Mayo doctor says COVID-19 cases are climbing, fears hospitalizations are next

Saying "COVID has not gone away," Mayo Clinic Health System officials say current data shows in about four weeks time they expect to see COVID-19 hospitalizations increase due to an increase in cases and low vaccine numbers. They base that on past data that showed as cases went up, they started seeing hospitalizations go up about four weeks later. "The time to get the COVID-19 vaccine is now. Not next week, not a month from now, but today said Richard Helmers, regional VP of Mayo Clinic Health System. "If you are unvaccinated, you need to get vaccinated now. Anybody 12 or older can no longer delay." …

WTIC-TV (CT), No, people who recovered from COVID-19 are not completely immune to the virus

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are again rising across the United States, with the highest spread coming in areas with low vaccination rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase in cases has come with the continued spread of the more contagious delta variant. As a result, the CDC and Democratic and Republican leaders are urging more people to get vaccinated. But what about people who already had COVID-19? ... One study, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, concluded immunity may last as long as eight months after infection. Dr. Abinash Virk with the Mayo Clinic said recent studies show natural immunity may last for at least a year. But she said the COVID-19 vaccines boost immunity for people who already had COVID-19 and provide protection against variants of concern. "Additionally, vaccinated persons have demonstrated longer immunity and lower rates of infection than those who were infected, suggesting the vaccines generate a more sustained immunity than natural infection alone,” Virk said. …


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Tags: Abinash Virk, About, Ala Dababneh, Angela Dispenzieri, antibodies, arthritis, Arya Mohabbat, cancer, cardiology, chemotherapy, COVID-19, dementia, Devang Sanghavi, Douglas Simonetto, Elena Myasoedova, Elie Berbari, exercise, Findings, Gregory Poland, heart disease, heart health, hematology, hepatitis, hereditary diseases, immunization, integrative medicine, Jennifer St. Sauver, Lance Pagliaro, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, menopause, mental health, Michael Ackerman, multiple myeloma, News, News of the Week, Nipunie Rajapakse, oncology, pregnancy, Progress Updates, prostate cancer, psychiatry, rheumatology, Richard Helmers, Stephanie Faubion, telehealth, vaccines, women's health

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