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.


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Posts (4)

Jul 21, 2015 · Data Accuracy and Integrity - Without Which We Have Nothing

mother, child and pie“The cornerstone of our ability to make robust inference and sound clinical decisions is the assumption of the validity, accuracy and representativeness of medical research data.”

So says Véronique Roger, M.D., Director, Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, and in her July editorial in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Dr. Roger likens the core principles of accuracy and integrity to the underpinnings of our society…as universally understood as “motherhood and apple pie.”

She enjoins readers to reflect on these critical components of medical research. She reminds us that as technology advances, patient registries grow, electronic medical records become universal, and the vast amount of data in health care becomes more easily accessed, it becomes ever more important to be vigilant. She highlights not only data quality, but privacy, security, intellectual property and more.

Read “Of the Importance of Motherhood and Apple Pie –What Big Data Can Learn From Small Data” online, and take part in the conversation. 


To learn more about what is happening in the world of big data and the science of health care delivery, consider attending Delivery Science Summit 2015 – Building the Evidence Base in Health Care Delivery, September 16-18, 2015, in Rochester, Minnesota.

Mar 17, 2015 · Would You Get Screened for Cancer if You Could Do It At the Mall Instead of at the Hospital?

Chronic heartburn can cause esophageal cancer. But people who suffer from heartburn often don’t get screened for cancer, and the results can be deadly.

Heartburn can lead to a condition called “Barrett’s esophagus.” Barrett’s esophagus is a strong, and only known, risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.


New research conducted in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery shows that an alternate screening technique that does not require sedation is just as effective in identifying Barrett’s esophagus or cancer as the traditional method. It is less invasive, less costly, and carries less risk due to no sedation – and could be mobile.

mobile research vehicleThe researchers showed that using a mobile van to bring the screening to neighborhood locations (for example, a mall parking lot) is equally effective to hospital-based screening, and may increase screening rates due to convenience and a less formal setting.

Incidence of this deadly cancer has been rising rapidly, and exceeds that of melanoma, lung, colon and breast cancers. Early diagnosis and treatment dramatically increases life expectancy, yet screening and early diagnosis rates remain low.

This approach offers a new opportunity to reduce death and disability from esophageal cancer.

This study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The research is part of ongoing efforts in the center to identify ways to improve population health and lower costs of care.




Mar 12, 2015 · Doubts Put to Rest for Hormone Replacement Therapy

shusterpatientDoctors used to give their female patients hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause believing that it had positive health benefits.

However, data from a large clinical trial cast profound doubt on these benefits. So much so that clinicians were encouraged to only give it to patients for symptoms related to menopause (hot flashes). Many women stopped their HRT.

Meanwhile, other women kept taking it, and the question remained. Does it put their life at risk?

Investigators working with the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery conducted a large review of research literature and concluded that HRT does not increase the overall risk of death from heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

Lead investigator, Khalid Benkhadra, M.D., a research fellow at Mayo Clinic, presented this data March 6, at the Endocrine Society 2015 annual meeting.


Clinical treatments need to be individualized and patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors before changing medications.



Mar 11, 2015 · Diabetes and Minnesota Community Measurement

CSHCDResearchers and clinicians working with the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery have observed that patients with diabetes with good control of their disease had better clinical outcomes.

In this study of 5,731 patients with diabetes, patients were evaluated to see how well their disease control was on three measures selected by Minnesota Community Measurement (MCM): cholesterol, blood pressure and and a blood sugar test.

Patients with less than ideal control in these areas had higher risks for hospitalization, visits to the Emergency Department and death.  These results appeared in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity: Targets and Therapy.


Read more about diabetes and treatment options at Mayo Clinic.

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