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October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Trastuzumab (Herceptin) Continues to Show Life-Altering Benefit

By Paul Scotti

large crowd of women in pink t shirts for breast cancer awareness

Years After Treatment for HER2-Positive Early Stage Breast Cancer Trastuzumab Shows Life-Altering Benefit 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After following breast cancer patients for an average of eight-plus years, researchers say that adding trastuzumab (Herceptin) to chemotherapy significantly improved the overall and disease-free survival of women with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer.

They found that the use of trastuzumab produced a 37 percent improvement in survival and a 40 percent reduction in risk of cancer occurrence, compared to patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

These findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, demonstrate how important trastuzumab has been to the treatment of this form of breast cancer, says the study’s lead author, Edith A. Perez, M.D., deputy director at large, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Edith Perez, Florida News Release, HER2+ breast cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic in Florida, News Release, trastuzumab Herceptin

October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Tuesday Q and A: For most, enterovirus D68 causes only mild symptoms

By lizatorborg

shutterstock_142939915DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Why is it that children are the ones most affected by the enterovirus? I have read that it starts with mild cold symptoms, so how will I know when it’s time to see a doctor? What symptoms should I look for in my children?

ANSWER: There are many forms of enteroviruses. The one making headlines now is called enterovirus D68. This virus most often affects children and teens because their bodies have not built up immunity to it yet. In most cases, enterovirus D68 causes only mild symptoms. But it can become severe in some people. If your child has severe cold symptoms, or if symptoms get progressively worse, make an appointment to see your doctor. If a child has problems breathing, seek medical care right away.

Enteroviruses can cause a wide range of infections, depending on the strain of the virus that is involved. Some can be very serious, such as the enterovirus strain that leads to viral meningitis, while others tend to be only a nuisance, such as those that cause the common cold. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Asthma, common cold, Dr Pritish Tosh, Dr Tosh, enterovirus, Enterovirus D68, Tuesday Q & A, viral meningitis

October 20th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Monday’s Housecall

By Dana Sparks

Tips for dining in or out safely when you have food allergiesfamily eating in restaurant with mother feeding baby
Having a food allergy means taking precautions at mealtime. Learn about safe food handling and preparation when you're at home or away.

Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips
Medication errors and mistakes injure many people each year. Get tips on how to protect yourself.

Acne scars: What's the best treatment?
Various procedures can improve acne scars, but no single treatment is best for everyone.

Vitamin B-12 injections for weight loss: Do they work?
A weight-loss shot sounds appealing, but there's no solid evidence that vitamin B-12 injections work.

Click here to get a free e-subscription to the Housecall newsletter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: acne scars, Bladder Control, Eye Injury, Food Allergies, Hep C, Medication Errors, Monday's Housecall

October 18th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Weekend Wellness: Cause of ischemic colitis often unclear

By lizatorborg

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What exactly is ischemic colitis? Do doctors know what causes it?

ANSWER: Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to part of the large intestine (colon) is reduced due to one of two reasons: either there is a blocked or narrowed blood vessel (occlusive), or there is a temporary decrease in blood flow to the colon  (nonoillustration of abdomin highlighting colon and ischemic colitiscclusive). Ninety-five percent of cases of ischemic colitis are due to a nonocclusive mechanism. When this occurs, cells in the digestive system don’t receive sufficient oxygen which then leads to areas of colon inflammation and ulceration. While the exact cause of ischemic colitis is often unclear, with proper medical care, most people diagnosed with ischemic colitis typically recover in a day or two and never have another episode.

Even under normal circumstances, the colon receives less blood flow than any other portion of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, if the colon is suddenly subjected to reduced blood flow — whatever the reason — its tissues may be damaged. The severity of damage varies depending on the amount of time that the blood flow was interrupted and the degree to which it was decreased. In rare cases, patients can suffer a perforation (tear) of the colon, which requires surgical treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: abdominal pain, atherosclerosis, bloody diarrhea, colonoscopy, Diverticulitis, Dr Sarah Umar, Dr Umar, flexible sigmoidoscopy, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, ischemic colitis, Weekend Wellness

October 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Clear Questions and Answers About Ebola

By Dana Sparks

 EBola NIHNational Institutes of Health (NIH)

Risk factors  By Mayo Clinic Staff

For most people, the risk of getting Ebola or Marburg viruses (hemorrhagic fevers) is low. The risk increases if you:

  • Travel to Africa. You're at increased risk if you visit or work in areas where Ebola virus or Marburg virus outbreaks have occurred.
  • Conduct animal research. People are more likely to contract the Ebola or Marburg virus if they conduct animal research with monkeys imported from Africa or the Philippines.
  • Provide medical or personal care. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives. Medical personnel also can be infected if they don't use protective gear, such as surgical masks and gloves.
  • Prepare people for burial. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever are still contagious. Helping prepare these bodies for burial can increase your risk of developing the disease.

Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection with Ebola or Marburg virus. 
Learn more: Ebola virus and Marburg virus

Mayo Clinic was monitoring the evolving Ebola situation well before the first U.S. case was diagnosed on Sept. 30. The institution is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and state health departments. Mayo Clinic is fully prepared to screen, evaluate and treat patients suspected to have Ebola. That said, at this time, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola across the institution. While Ebola continues to dominate news coverage, and there is reason for concern, you should not overreact or panic.

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Tags: CDC, Ebola Virus, Infectious Disease, NIH

October 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment


By Dana Sparks

middle-aged man exercising and stretching near ocean

On the next Mayo Clinic Radio, Saturday, October 18 at 9 a.m. CT, the topic is Men's Health. Two physicians from the new Mayo Clinic Men's Health Program in Arizona will be here to discuss endocrine issues like diabetes and thyroid health. Other topics will include low testosterone and how prostate and sexual health relate to cardiovascular health.  Urologist Jason Jameson, M.D., and cardiologist David Simper, M.D., will join us. Hope you do, too!

Myth or Fact:  Men experience their own type of menopause.

Follow #MayoClinicRadio and tweet your questions.

To listen to the program on Saturday, click here.

Mayo Clinic Radio is available on iHeart Radio.

Listen to this week’s Medical News Headlines: News Segment October 18, 2014 (right click MP3)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Diabetes, Dr David Simper, Dr Jason Jameson, Mayo Clinic Radio, Men's Health, Thyroid

October 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Health Letter: Highlights from the October 2014 Issue

By Brian Kilen

ROCHESTER, Minn. ― Here are highlights from the October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit or call toll-free for subscription information, 1-800-333-9037, extension 9771. Full newsletter text: Mayo Clinic Health Letter October 2014 (for journalists only).

No exaggeration: Sitting is the new smokingshutterstock_33084607

The new health phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking,” is not an exaggeration, according to the October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Most people don’t smoke, but everyone sits — and most sit too long each day. Many U.S. workers sit for 15 hours a day.

In the past 15 years, a wave of research has shed new light on sitting as a serious health risk, even in those of normal weight and who routinely exercise. Thirty-four chronic conditions and illnesses have been associated with excess sitting. One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day watching television with those who spent more than four hours a day doing so. After adjusting for obesity, age and other risk factors, those with higher screen time had: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: bone fracture, FRAX, healthy living, Minnesota news release, News Release, orthopedics, prevention, Sitting, varicose veins

October 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patient Fatigue

By Dana Sparks

Blue and white banner logo for 'Living with Cancer' blog

Alternative Medicine for Fatiguemiddle-aged couple doing yoga outside on a grassy lawn
Many breast cancer survivors experience fatigue during and after treatment, that can continue for years.

Can bleeding problems during chemotherapy be prevented?
When you have low levels of platelets due to chemotherapy, you bleed and bruise more easily. Here's how to lower your risk of bleeding.

Tips on balancing cancer treatment, desire to work
Work can be a good distraction from thinking about cancer, and it can keep you motivated.

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Tags: Chemotherapy, Fatigue, Living With Cancer Blog

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

‘Harvesting’ Healthy Approach to Fall Work

By Micah Dorfner


Sparta, Wisc. — The harvest season is exciting and especially busy for rural communities, but Mayo Clinic Health System providers understand how dangerous it can be for farmers.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries.

Emergency physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Sparta, Howard Schumaker, M.D., says,“We’ve seen everything from broken bones and amputations to even more unfortunate trauma situations,” Schumaker continues. “What’s most troubling is that many of them could have been prevented.  Farmers often feel the need to hurry to complete their work in the fields due to quickly changing or unpredictable weather. We just want everyone to slow down and to make sure they get their work done safely and efficiently.” Schumaker  echoes a tip his Grandfather gave him, “Remember that the machinery can be your best friend but treat it like it is always waiting to hurt you; the minute you let down your guard it will be too late!”

Other things Dr. Schumaker would like farmers to remember this fall include: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Howard Schumaker, Farm Accidents, Farm Safety, Mayo Clinic Health System, MCHS, trauma

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment


By Dana Sparks

person getting flu shot in arm
Flu shots: Especially important if you have heart disease

Barrett's esophagus

Pain and depression: Is there a link?

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

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Tags: Barrett's Esophagus, Cardiomyopathy, Depression, Flu Shot, IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Thursday Consumer Health Tips, Vaccination

October 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Treating POTS: A Teenage Syndrome Solution

By Dana Sparks

'Mayo 150 years serving humanity' 150th Sesquicentennial LogoMaybe you’ve heard the complaints: I’m too tired to get up, my stomach hurts, I just want to sleep. These symptoms might be typical of some teenagers, but for others they're signs of a very real illness called postural tachycardia syndrome or POTS. Today, social media has helped spread awareness of the syndrome, but historical documents suggest Dr. William Worrall Mayo, founder of Mayo Clinic, may have treated young people with it more than a century ago. [TRT 4:43]

Journalists: The video package and extra b-roll are available in the downloads. To read the full script click here.

This is a special report produced for the Mayo Clinic 150th Anniversary Collection of Stories. To view other stories and learn about Mayo Clinic's sesquicentennial, please click here

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Tags: Dr Phil Fischer, HL, Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic 150, Mayo Clinic 150th anniversary, Mayo Clinic Sesquicentennial, Pediatrics, Pkg, POTS

October 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic News Network — Headlines 10/15/14

By Dana Sparks

Mayo Clinic News Network Headlines include:

  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Tomosynthesis for breast cancer screening
  • Sports injury

Journalists: Video is available in the downloads. Click here for script.


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Tags: Breast Cancer, epilepsy surgery, Sports Injury, Tomosynthesis, Weekly Headlines

October 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

New Guideline in Genetic Testing for Certain Types of Muscular Dystrophy

By Duska Anastasijevic

Knowing the specific subtype is important for getting the best possible careshutterstock_196951337

Rochester, Minn. – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) offer a new guideline on how to determine what genetic tests may best diagnose a person’s subtype of limb-girdle or distal muscular dystrophy. The guideline is published in the October 14, 2014, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the AAN.

Researchers reviewed all of the available studies on the muscular dystrophy, a group of genetic diseases in which muscle fibers are unusually susceptible to damage, as part of the process in developing the new guideline.

Doctors should conduct a thorough evaluation of symptoms, family history, ethnicity, and results of physical exam and certain lab tests to determine what genetic tests may be more appropriate to order.

“The guideline should help physicians arrive at the right diagnosis quicker so patients will not need to take unnecessary test”, says Mayo Clinic neurologist Duygu Selcen, M.D., who was part of the multi-center research team led by Julie Bolen, PhD, MPH, from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “This is particularly important because the muscle diseases are often hard to diagnose”, adds Dr. Selcen.

Media Contacts:
Duska Anastasijevic, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email:

Rachel Seroka, AAN,, (612) 928-6129 Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Duygu Selcen, genetic testing, Minnesota news release, muscular dystrophy, News Release

October 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Monitoring Enterovirus D68

By Dana Sparks

Photo: Mayo Clinic monitoring enterovirus D68

Written by Greg Brown, Mayo Clinic News Specialist

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), enterovirus infections are common in the summer and fall. However, hospitals throughout the U.S. are seeing more children than usual with severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68. The CDC is watching the situation and helping with testing of specimens. Health care providers should consider enterovirus D68 in young children with severe respiratory illness or unexplained muscle weakness, and report unusual increases in cases to their state health department.

There is no vaccine or medicine that treats enterovirus infection specifically; but, children can be treated with supportive care, including oxygen, breathing treatments and fluids, as needed.

Clinicians at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center have been treating a surge of children with acute respiratory illness, involving wheezing and difficulty breathing, since mid-August. One case was confirmed to be due to enterovirus D68, and several other cases are suspected to be due to that virus. Adults also can be infected with enterovirus D68, although the current outbreak of disease appears to affect children primarily. The reason for this is not known. Enterovirus D68 is particularly hard on those with asthma and reactive airway disease.

If you or your children have asthma and or reactive airway disease, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Discuss and update your asthma action plan with your primary care provider.
  • Take your prescribed asthma medications as directed, especially long-term control medication(s).
  • Keep your reliever medication with you.
  • Get a flu vaccine, when available.
  • If you develop new or worsening asthma symptoms, follow the steps of your asthma action plan. If your symptoms do not go away, call your primary care provider right away.

Proactively manage your child’s health by taking these steps: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Asthma, CDC, Dr W Charles Huskins, Enterovirus D68, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, respiratory infection

October 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Tuesday Q and A: Self-care steps may help prevent tonsil stones from returning

By lizatorborg

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What causes tonsil stones? Is there a way to permanently get rid of them, other than having my tonsils removed? I am 48 and have heard that having a tonsillectomy as an adult is a significant surgery that can lead to other problems.illustration of mouth with tonsil stones - tonsollith

ANSWER: Tonsil stones form when substances become logged in the crevices of your tonsils. If you are prone to tonsil stones, having your tonsils removed is the most effective way to solve the problem. If, however, you prefer not to do that, there are ways you can safely remove tonsil stones. There also are self-care steps you can take to help prevent them from coming back.

Your tonsils are two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of your throat, one on each side. The tonsils are a type of lymph node and work as part of your body’s immune system. They act as filters for bacteria and viruses. They also make disease-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Ann Bell, Dr Bell, tonsil calculi, tonsil stones, tonsillectomy, tonsilliths, tonsils, Tuesday Q and A