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September 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Tuesday Q and A: Several treatment options can effectively decrease symptoms of Graves’ disease

By lizatorborg

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Three months ago I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I have decided to have a thyroidectomy and want to know what to expect after the procedure. Will all of my symptoms (Graves’ ophthalmopathy, heart palpitations, irritability) go away immediately after surgery? What are the side effects of having the thyroid removed?

ANSWER: Thyroid removal is one of several treatment options that can effectively decrease symptoms of Graves’ disease. Others include anti-thyroid medications and radioiodine. Each person is different, and no one treatment is best for everyone. A thyroidectomy often relieves symptoms of Graves’ disease. But as with all surgery, there are risks and possible complications associated with thyroidectomy.

Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Because thyroid hormones affect many of your body’s functions, signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease can be wide ranging.

Medications that interfere with the thyroid’s use of iodine to produce hormones, known as anti-thyroid medications, may be helpful in controlling the disease. These prescription medications include propylthiouracil and methimazole.

More often, however, the disease is treated with radioactive iodine therapy, also called radioiodine. Because the thyroid needs iodine to produce hormones, the radioiodine goes into the thyroid cells. The radioactivity destroys the overactive thyroid cells over time. This causes your thyroid gland to shrink. Symptoms lessen gradually, usually over several weeks to several months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Melanie Richards, Dr Richards, Graves' Disease, hyperthyroidism, ophthalmopathy, radioiodine, thyroid medication, thyroidectomy, Tuesday Q & A

September 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Monday’s Housecall

By Dana Sparks


teal blue ribbon representing ovarian cancer awarenessman sitting at work desk on a fitness exercise ballTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Ovarian cancer
The signs of ovarian cancer may not appear until the later stages. Find out if you're at risk.

Office exercise: Add more activity to your workday
Is an office job keeping you from exercising? From balancing on a fitness ball to adjusting your commute, try these tips to rev up your routine.

Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
Herbal and dietary supplements for depression can't replace proper treatment. But some show promise.

Cold or allergy: Which is it?person sleeping with cold and flu medicine on bedside table
Is your fall cold really a seasonal allergy? Learn the symptoms of each.

Domestic violence against women: Recognize patterns, seek help
Celiac disease
Breakfast recipes

Click here to get a free e-subscription to the Housecall newsletter.

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Tags: Allergy, Calcium, Celiac Disesase, Depression, Flu, Monday's Housecall, Office Exercise, Ovarian Cancer, Prediabetes

September 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quick Hints for Improving Men’s Health

By Micah Dorfner

the words Men's Health written on notebook paper

Hesitant about going to the doctor for a checkup? Don’t be. A healthy patient-provider relationship and some regular maintenance can give you a long, healthy life.

Paul Loomis, M.D., Family Medicine at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire says, “Prioritizing your health in your thirties and forties is analogous to financial investing. If you start when you’re 50, you’re behind the eight ball. Start when you’re 25, and you will have invested well.” He says some men take better car of their cars than their health and offers these reminders.

Keep your engine tuned - Men don’t appreciate the significance of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke, according to Dr. Loomis. “There’s a lack of awareness about how significant that risk is, but we have better screening and treatment options than ever before.”

Make the connection - Establishing a trusting relationship with your health provider is extremely important for prevention. Checking blood pressure, establishing healthy weight goals and understanding cholesterol and blood glucose numbers puts men on track for long-term health. It also helps with discussing sensitive topics, such as prostate exams. Dr. Loomis says, “Current evidence says you should at least have the discussion at age 50,”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Paul Loomis, Mayo Clinic Health System, men's health

September 13th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Weekend Wellness: Treatment helpful if essential tremor affects daily activities

By lizatorborg

woman staring out a window deep in thoughtDEAR MAYO CLINIC: My father-in-law, husband and daughter all have essential tremor. My husband has never needed treatment, since the tremor is quite mild. But my daughter was just diagnosed at 41, and her symptoms seem to really bother her. What are the treatment options for essential tremor?

ANSWER: Essential tremor is among the most common of all movement disorders. Mild essential tremor usually does not require treatment. But if the tremor becomes worse or if it interferes with a person’s daily activities, treatment may be helpful. Medications can often keep essential tremor under control. Rarely, surgery may be used to treat severe cases.

By definition, tremor causes involuntary, rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor most often affects the hands, but may also involve the head or voice. The hand tremor typically is most obvious when a person is holding his or her hands outstretched or when using the hands for fine motor skills, such as writing. Essential tremor gradually worsens — but very slowly — over many years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: dbs, deep brain stimulation, Dr Ahlskog, Dr J Eric Ahlskog, essential tremor, tremor, Weekend Wellness

September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment


By Dana Sparks

little boy sick on a couch coughing


Are you concerned about the Ebola virus spreading outside Africa?  Have you heard about the respiratory virus Enterovirus 68 affecting children in the United States? On the next Mayo Clinic Radio, Saturday, September 13 at 9 a.m. CT, infectious disease expert Pritish Tosh, M.D., will join us to talk about both issues. He'll also discuss drug-resistant bacteria, the overuse of antibiotics and the importance of hand-washing.  Join us.

Myth or Fact: The Ebola virus is more dangerous than influenza.

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 September 13, 2014 (right click MP3) 

Mayo Clinic Radio is a weekly one-hour radio program highlighting health and medical information from Mayo Clinic. The show is taped for rebroadcast by some affiliates.

For future topics, click on Upcoming Programs.
To listen to archived shows, click on Episodes.

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Tags: Dr Pritish Tosh, Ebola, enterovirus, Mayo Clinic Radio, respiratory infection

September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Physicians Find Liver Transplant Patients Can Avoid Costly Stay In ICU Post Surgery

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 12, 2014 — The liver transplant team at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found, based on 12 years of experience, that more than half of patients receiving a new liver can be “fast-tracked” to return to a surgical ward room following their transplant, bypassing a one- or two-day stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In the September issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, the physicians and researchers have turned their knowledge of who can be safely fast-tracked into a scoring system that other transplant centers can also use — thus sparing patients potentially overly aggressive treatment and saving substantial health care dollars.

MEDIA CONTACT: Paul Scotti, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0199. Email:

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Tags: C Burcin Taner, Florida News Release, liver transplant, M.D., Mayo Clinic In Florida, News Release, Transplant Center

September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Worldwide Study Demonstrates Accuracy of Genetic Analyses

By Kevin Punsky

E. Aubrey Thompson, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic in Florida

E. Aubrey Thompson, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Physicians envision a future in which genomic data from patients is heavily used to manage care — but experts have questioned the accuracy and reliability of these analyses. Now, a study by 150 researchers in 12 countries finds real strength and agreement across RNA genomic sequencing techniques and laboratories — as well as ways to improve what little variability exists to set a new high standard.

The results of the study were published in Nature Biotechnology in three separate research articles.

These results should provide assurance to patients, clinicians and the research community that genomic sequencing is accurate, says E. Aubrey Thompson, Ph.D., a professor of cancer biology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, one of three institutions that led the study. Dr. Thompson is a study co-author and member of the project leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cancer biolog, Dr E Aubrey Thompson, Florida News Release, genomic sequencing, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic In Florida, Medical Research, News Release

September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mentoring for New Cancer Survivors

By Dana Sparks

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

Mentoring for new cancer survivorstwo women laughing together and sharing friendship - diversity
Long-time cancer survivors provide a valuable service in mentoring those who are newly diagnosed.

PSA and other tests to monitor slow-growing prostate cancer
 Are you undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer? Find out which tests doctors say you should have.

Miles for Melanoma
A new lease on life inspires one man to give back to cancer research at Mayo Clinic.

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Tags: cancer, Living With Cancer Blog, Melanoma, PSA

September 11th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Multi-Institutional Research Team Measures Multiple Morbidities

By Bob Nellis

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Rocca are in the downloads.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A collaborative study by researchers from Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University has measured multimorbidity — multiple diseases or medical conditions co-occurring in a single patient — and has determined which combinations of medical conditions are more prevalent by age, sex, and race/ethnicity in a geographically-defined Midwestern population. Investigators say that their findings, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, are valuable in light of the aging population, the need to plan and prioritize health care interventions, and have broad implications for clinical research.

group of people standing together representing diversity

Using a list of 20 medical conditions developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the research team accessed records for over 138,000 persons who lived in Olmsted County, Minnesota, during 2010 via the Rochester
Epidemiology Project. They concluded that multimorbidity is fairly common in the general population; it increases steeply with older age; has different combinations in men and women; and varies by race/ethnicity.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Tags: chronic illnesses, epidemiology, Minnesota News Release, morbidity, multiple conditons, News Release, population studies, research, Rochester Epidemiology Project

September 11th, 2014 · Leave a Comment


By Dana Sparks

fresh green lettuce salad with shrimp (Omega-3 fatty acids) for good cholesterol (HDL)

HDL cholesterol: How to boost your 'good' cholesterol

Aortic valve regurgitation

Diverticulitis diet

Stroke telemedicine (telestroke)

Alzheimer's care: Simple tips for daily tasks

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Tags: Alzheimer's, aortic valve, cholesterol, hdl, stroke, telemedicine, Thursday Consumer Health Tips, diverticulitis

September 11th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Back Pain and Pregnancy: Ways to Minimize Strain

By Micah Dorfner

Back pain is a common complaint for pregnant women. As you gain weight, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward you compensate by leaning back, which can strain the muscles in your lower back.torso of pregnant woman with backache - holding back because of pain

Laura Damrow, certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic Health System in Tomah, says, "In general, good posture can help alleviate back pain.Stand up straight, hold your chest high while keeping your shoulders back and relaxed, and don’t lock your knees.” She offers these other tips:

  • Good posture also means sitting with care. Choose a chair that supports your back or place a small pillow behind your lower back. You may even want to prop your feet on a low stool.
  • Regular physical activity can keep your back strong and might relieve pain during pregnancy. Gentle activities, such as walking, are okay for pregnant women. For every day footwear, choose low-heeled — not flat — shoes with good arch support.

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Tags: back pain, Laura Damrow, Mayo Clinic Health System, pregnancy

September 11th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Running into Fall Marathon Season – Tip #6

By Micah Dorfner


The core element of an effective, efficient running performance is properly training your core muscles. Beau Johnson, physical therapist at Mayo Clinic Health System, reveals that core muscles are more than abs. In fact, according to Johnson, targeting your core means addressing everything from your chin to your ankles. And optimizing this massive muscle group can help you take your running to the next level. (Follow new tips on Thursdays and learn more on Speaking of Health

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Tags: Beau Johnson, core workout, Exercise, Mayo Clinic Health System, Running Tips

September 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

External Drive: Charles’ Artificial Heart

By Dana Sparks

'Mayo 150 years serving humanity' 150th Sesquicentennial Logo

In the world of medicine, miracles happen every day. People overcome serious illnesses that not long ago were considered incurable and untreatable. Charles Okeke [oh-KAY’-kay] is a good example of this. After his own heart failed, he became one of the first patients to have an artificial heart implanted at Mayo Clinic. [TRT 3:33]

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: artificial heart, charles okeke, Dr Eric Steidley, HL, Mayo Clinic 150, Mayo Clinic 150 Anniversary, Mayo Clinic Sesquicentennial, pkg, Arizona

September 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic News Network — Headlines 9/10/14

By Dana Sparks

Mayo Clinic News Network Headlines include:

  • Flu shot 
  • Stress before cancer surgery
  • Weight loss plateau

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



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Tags: Flu Shot, stress, Weekly Headlines, Weight Loss

September 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Experts Comment on Respiratory Illnesses

By Kelley Luckstein

ROCHESTER, Minn. — With the recent news about a large number of children affected by respiratory illnesses in the central U.S., Mayo Clinic Children’s Center pediatrician Phil Fischer, M.D., and pediatric infectious diseases specialist W. Charles Huskins, M.D., share information about these illnesses, what parents should look for and how to prevent them from spreading.

Journalists: Broadcast quality video of Dr. Huskins are available in the downloads.

Dr. Huskins explains that, based on a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 8, it appears that infections in Missouri and Illinois are due to a previously known, but relatively uncommon enterovirus, called enterovirus D68.

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Tags: Dr Charles Huskins, Dr Phil Fischer, enterovirus, Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Minnesota News Release, News Release, respiratory illness