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.

December 30, 2021

Research News Roundup — 2021 Q4

By Advancing the Science contributor

2021 has been another whirlwind year of COVID-19 related advances, so you might have missed all the other medical and health care delivery findings that have emerged. It would take more time than we both have to recap all the non-COVID-19 news from 2021, but if you read further, you'll learn about some of Mayo Clinic's most interesting research published over the last three months.

There are several advancements in cancer treatment and prevention, and more understanding of how to care for people with rheumatoid arthritis. There are also findings that may help people with seizures or sleeping disorders, as well as many other topics. Read on for more from Mayo Clinic Research.

Mayo Clinic researchers use AI, biomarkers to personalize rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis have often relied on trial and error. Now Mayo Clinic researchers are exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and pharmacogenomics to predict how patients will respond to treatments, and to personalize care. Findings were published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Mayo Clinic research finds immune system responds to mRNA treatment for cancer

Adding messenger RNA, or mRNA therapy improves the response to cancer immunotherapy in patients who weren't responding to the treatment, Mayo Clinic research shows. Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to prevent, control and eliminate cancer. The study is published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Primary care clinicians adjust recommendations for colorectal cancer screening to accommodate patient needs and preferences, study finds

Colorectal cancer is the second-most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Despite the availability of several effective screening tests, colorectal cancer screening rates remain below national goals. "Nearly one-third of eligible adults in the U.S. are not up to date on colorectal cancer screening, and even lower rates have been observed among populations that are traditionally underserved," says Lila Rutten, Ph.D., a health services researcher at Mayo Clinic and the study’s lead author. ...

While colonoscopy is the most often recommended screening method, a new Mayo Clinic study finds that preferences of primary care clinicians shifted toward noninvasive options in general and particularly for patients who were unwilling to undergo invasive procedures; concerned about taking time from work; unconvinced about the need for screening; or refused other screening recommendations. The research, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggests that although health care providers prefer colonoscopy for screening, they recognize the need to tailor recommendations to the needs and preferences of patients.

Sex and race disparities found in management of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the hospital

In recent decades, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) use in the management of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has increased. However, a new Mayo Clinic study finds that ICDs are not used as often for female patients and patients of color. Data from the National Inpatient Sample, an all-payer administrative database of inpatient hospitalizations, showed disparities regarding which patients commonly receive this therapy in the hospital. The data also revealed regional variations in the overall use of ICDs in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

AI algorithm can predict long-term patient survival after cardiac surgery, Mayo Clinic study finds

A novel artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that identifies a cardiac dysfunction from a single-lead EKG also can predict long-term patient survival after cardiac surgery, according to new research from Mayo Clinic.

The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, finds that an algorithm that previously has shown it can detect patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction also may predict long-term mortality after cardiac surgery, making it a potentially valuable tool for assessing risk as patients and their health care providers consider surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis finding may lead to new inflammation blockers

Mayo Clinic researchers have linked the T cell dysfunction seen in rheumatoid arthritis with a metabolic deficiency in a new Nature Immunology publication.

In "helper" T cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis, low levels of a specific amino acid lead to cellular miscommunication, but supplying it may provide a new therapeutic strategy for autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation, including high levels of a cytokine called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. This protein is used to recruit immune system resources and can cause cell death (necrosis).

Mayo Clinic co-leads a new coalition to improve patient care through community-level clinical trials

Mayo Clinic and several health organizations launched the Advancing Clinical Trials at the Point of Care Coalition to improve patient care by giving clinicians quality clinical research evidence in real time to better evaluate treatments and therapeutics, including those to treat COVID-19. The ACT@POC coalition will bring together health systems, community-based care organizations, health research organizations and a more diverse group of patients and providers to support the design of adaptable clinical trials and develop digital health tools that make clinical trials simpler to conduct and more accessible to patients.

Seizure forecasting with wrist-worn devices possible for people with epilepsy, study shows

Despite medications, surgery and neurostimulation devices, many people with epilepsy continue to have seizures. The unpredictable nature of seizures is severely limiting. If seizures could be reliably forecast, people with epilepsy could alter their activities, take a fast-acting medication or turn up their neurostimulator to prevent a seizure or minimize its effects.

A new study in Scientific Reports by Mayo Clinic researchers and international collaborators found patterns could be identified in patients who wear a special wristwatch monitoring device for six to 12 months, allowing about 30 minutes of warning before a seizure occurred. This worked well most of the time for five of six patients studied.

Retrospective study finds that cancer drug also lowers blood glucose

Dasatinib, a drug that often is used to treat certain types of leukemia, may have antidiabetic effects comparable to medications used to treat diabetes, and with more research may become a novel therapy for diabetic patients, according to new research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Comprehensive patient blood management program can reduce use of transfusions, improve patient outcomes

A growing number of hospitals have implemented patient blood management programs to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions and costs. A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds that such a program can not only substantially reduce transfusion use, but also reduce length of hospital stays and in-hospital adverse outcomes.

Mayo Clinic researchers find new treatment for HPV-associated oral cancer

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that a new, shorter treatment for patients with HPV-associated oropharynx cancer leads to excellent disease control and fewer side effects, compared to standard treatment.

The new treatment employs minimally invasive surgery and half the standard dose of radiation therapy, compared to current treatments. The new treatment also lasts for two weeks, rather than the standard six weeks.

Results of a study of the new treatment were presented Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's Annual Meeting.

Common dialysis treatment for patients with acute kidney injury can lead to poor outcomes

Patients with acute kidney injury who receive continuous renal replacement therapy, a common dialysis method, have a high incidence of needing this dialysis method reinstituted after having it removed. This contributes to poor 90-day outcomes, according to new research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Sleep disorder linked to neurodegeneration aim of NIH-funded grant

People with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder act out their dreams. While sleeping safely in bed, for example, they might throw up their arms to catch an imaginary ball or try to run from an illusory assailant. Such actions are more than just a nuisance. People with the disorder have a 50% to 80% chance of developing a serious neurodegenerative disease within a decade of diagnosis.

An international team led by researchers at Mayo Clinic, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) of McGill University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received a five-year grant expected to total $35.1 million to develop biomarkers for the disease.


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Tags: arthritis, artificial intelligence, cancer, cancer screening, cardiology, cardiovascular medicine, clinical research, clinical trials, colorectal cancer, diabetes, dialysis, EKG, epilepsy, health disparities, HPV, human papillomavirus, immunotherapy, inflammation, kidney disease, leukemia, Lila Rutten, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, minimally invasive surgery, News, Research News Roundup, rheumatology, RNA, seizures, sleep medicine, throat cancer

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