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February 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

WellStar Health System and Mayo Clinic Announce Collaboration

By Kevin Punsky

MARIETTA, Ga. — Feb. 6 — WellStar Health System (WellStar) and Mayo Clinic today announced that the metro Atlanta-based health system is joining the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of like-minded organizations that share a commitment to better serving patients and their families. WellStar is the largest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in the southeast and the only member in metro Atlanta.

Outside wideshot of driveway to front entrance of Kennestone HospitalUsing digital technology to promote physician collaboration and sharing of the latest medical information, experts from WellStar and Mayo Clinic will work together to further enhance the delivery of healthcare for patients, allowing many patients to avoid unnecessary travel for answers to complex medical questions.

“WellStar is home to some of the most accomplished and preeminent physicians in the Southeast,” says Robert Jansen, M.D., executive vice president and chief administrative medical officer of WellStar. “Working with Mayo Clinic through the Mayo Clinic Care Network offers our physicians a new resource to ensure the kind of innovative and leading care that patients have grown to expect from WellStar.” Read the rest of this entry »

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February 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Uggie, four-legged star of the Oscar-winning film “The Artist,” to visit Mayo Clinic

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Feb. 3 — Uggie, the scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier in the 2012 Oscar-winning film “The Artist” will visit Mayo Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 6. Uggie will be in Jacksonville to meet Mayo’s Caring Canines, the volunteer dogs who greet patients and visitors at the clinic.

Picture of Jack Russell Terrier with black bow tieThe visit by Uggie and his owner/trainer, Omar Von Muller, is open to the public, at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in Walker Auditorium in the clinic’s Davis Building. Von Muller will share Uggie’s amazing success story of going from a puppy headed for the pound to worldwide fame. Uggie will perform some of the tricks that delighted fans of “The Artist” in which he portrayed a loyal dog who courageously rescues his owner from a fire. The film received five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, Jean Dujardin.

There are 19 volunteer dogs in Mayo’s Caring Canines program. They make daily “meet-and-greet” visits to patients and visitors, providing warmth and unconditional love.

“The Caring Canines play a valuable role in supporting Mayo Clinic’s commitment to the healing of mind, body and spirit,” says Peter Dorsher, M.D., chair of Mayo’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “Uggie’s impact on people worldwide is further evidence of the human/animal bond and how it can improve our health and well-being. We’re delighted to have him meet our volunteer dogs.” Read the rest of this entry »

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December 4th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Find Shape-shifting Stops Migrating Cancer Cells

By Shawn Bishop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Like a car with a front and back end, a steering mechanism and an engine to push it forward, cancer cells propel themselves through normal tissues and organs to spread cancer throughout the body. Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida, however, have managed to turn these cells into shapes like a round fried egg and an exaggerated starfish that sticks out in many directions — both of which cannot now move.

In research published in the December issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, investigators reveal how interplay of molecules keeps cancer cells moving forward, and how disturbing the balance of these proteins pushes their shape to change, stopping them in their tracks.

Investigators say they have already identified a number of agents — some already used in the clinic for different disorders — that may force shape-shifting in tumor cells.

"We are starting to understand mechanistically how cancer cells move and migrate, which gives us opportunities to manipulate these cells, alter their shape, and stop their spread," says the study's lead investigator, Panos Z. Anastasiadis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

"It is the spread — the metastasis — of cancer that is largely responsible for the death of cancer patients, so stopping these cells from migrating could potentially provide a treatment that saves lives," he says.

The study was conducted using tumor material from breast and brain (glioblastoma) cancer. Both of these tumors are generally lethal when they spread — breast to other organs, and brain cancer as it crawls throughout the brain.

The researchers found that a protein called Syx is key to determining how tumor cells migrate. When researchers removed Syx from the cancer cells, they lost their polarity — their leading and trailing edges — and morphed into the fried egg shape. "They are now unable to sense direction, so they are not going anywhere," Dr. Anastasiadis says.

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November 18th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Brott, Stroke Researcher, Receives Prestigious AHA Award

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thomas G. Brott, M.D., a neurologist and director for research at Mayo Clinic in Florida, has been named the recipient of the American Heart Association's 2013 Clinical Research Prize.

The award recognizes and rewards an individual who is making outstanding contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular science and who currently heads an outstanding cardiovascular clinical research laboratory, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Dr. Brott will be honored on stage during the opening ceremony of the American Heart Association's 2013 annual meeting in Dallas.

He is the first Mayo Clinic investigator to receive the prestigious prize, which has been awarded annually by the American Heart Association since 2005.

"This award is well deserved. Dr. Brott is a pioneer in the field of stroke and cerebrovascular disease research, and his mission to find the best therapies possible for patients has certainly saved lives," says William C. Rupp, M.D., chief executive officer at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Dr. Brott was a leading investigator in the studies that identified tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) as an effective acute treatment for ischemic stroke. He and his team treated the very first patients using this therapy. Along with his colleagues, Dr. Brott defined the evolution of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage during the first hours after onset. In 1998, Dr. Brott came to Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida where he and his colleagues initiated the first NIH-funded genome-wide screen for stroke susceptibility.

Dr. Brott has led federally funded national clinical trials that aim to discover best treatment for stroke and uncover risk factors for the disorder. For example, he is principal investigator for the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST), a study that compares two different treatments for their ability to reduce risk for stroke. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

He also played a key role in designing the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), a tool used internationally that measures stroke-related neurologic deficits.

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November 14th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Blood and Marrow Transplant Program of Mayo Clinic, Nemours Children’s Clinic and Wolfson Children’s Hospital Earns National Accreditation Renewal

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program of Mayo Clinic, Nemours Children's Clinic, Jacksonville, and Wolfson Children's Hospital has been awarded a three-year accreditation renewal by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). The foundation awarded the accreditation renewal after thorough site visits at all collection, transplantation and laboratory facilities at the three locations.

"We are pleased that Mayo Clinic, Nemours Children's Clinic and Wolfson Children's Hospital have met the requirements of the Foundation and have been granted accreditation for their joint Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program," said Phyllis Warkentin, M.D., FACT medical director.

"The teamwork and cooperation between all three organizations in the program has never been better," said Blood and Marrow Transplant Program Director Michael Joyce, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Nemours Children's Clinic, Jacksonville. "FACT accreditation is a promise to our patients that we are adhering to and meeting the highest standards in the field. The hematology/oncology physicians, nurses, laboratory and support staff of Nemours, Wolfson Children's and Mayo Clinic work very hard to achieve maintain these standards."

The joint program was created in 2001 to allow for greater collaboration in physician and staff expertise, research and clinical protocols. Wolfson Children's Hospital and Nemours Children's Clinic, Jacksonville, will celebrate their Blood and Marrow Transplant Program's 20th anniversary next year. Many patient referrals to the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program come from physicians in Jacksonville, across Florida and south Georgia, across the United States and internationally. Since it was established, the combined program has transplanted patients with a variety of illnesses including leukemia, neuroblastoma, sickle cell disease, bone marrow disorders, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, brain tumors, Ewing's sarcoma, and amyloidosis. Stem cell sources include the patient, immediate family members, volunteer unrelated adult marrow donors or donated umbilical cord blood donor units. More than 970 transplants have been completed during this time.

The program shares a single cryopreservation laboratory (where hematopoietic stem cells are frozen and processed) at Mayo Clinic. Mayo maintains the program's adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit, and Wolfson Children's Hospital maintains Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant beds on the Hematology/Oncology Unit in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower. The joint program shares information systems, quality and other clinical and administrative staff.

"We are excited to receive this accreditation. It is a welcome recognition and 'badge of honor' for our program. It also informs and assures our patients, referring physicians and insurance companies of the highest standards of patient care and laboratory practices in our program," said Vivek Roy, M.D., hematologist/oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida and medical director of the adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.

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November 13th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

St. Francis in Georgia Joins Mayo Clinic Care Network

By Kevin Punsky

COLUMBUS, GA. — Building on its reputation for delivering high quality and compassionate care to the communities in which it serves, St. Francis in Columbus, Ga., becomes the most recent member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, representatives from Mayo Clinic and St. Francis announced today. The Mayo Clinic Care Network shares Mayo Clinic's knowledge and expertise with health care systems interested in working together to enhance the quality and delivery of health care for their patients. St. Francis is the first organization in Georgia to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

"St. Francis is proud to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network member," said Robert Granger, president and CEO of St. Francis. "As part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, our physicians will be able to reach out to Mayo Clinic specialists as they consider the care needs for their patients. This collaboration is a continuation of St. Francis' commitment of doing what is best for health care in our community and will enhance patient care for the citizens of Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley."

St. Francis underwent a thorough evaluation process based on quality, service and operational criteria. The assessment confirmed the commitment St. Francis shares with Mayo Clinic in improving the delivery of health care. St. Francis' membership is a direct result of its culture and dedication to providing compassionate patient care.

"We are pleased to welcome St. Francis, an award-winning regional hospital that is continuously recognized for providing outstanding patient care, as a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network," saysStephen Lange, M.D., Southeast medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. "We look forward to working closely with St. Francis to help them continue to provide the highest quality of care and best possible outcomes for their patients."

St. Francis physicians will be able to connect with Mayo Clinic specialists on questions of complex medical care using an electronic consulting technique called eConsults. They also will have 24/7 access to Mayo-vetted medical information and guidelines through AskMayoExpert, a Web-based resource created for physicians and other health care providers. These tools, in addition to health care consulting related to clinical and business processes, will allow staff at St. Francis to accelerate innovations in care in support of the organization's mission to continuously improve the quality of health in the community.

St. Francis employs more than 2,300 associates with more than 300 community physicians (100 employed) through the St. Francis Medical Group. The hospital opened in 1950 and is currently licensed for 376 beds.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network represents non-ownership relationships. Unlike the integration of Georgia's Satilla Regional Medical Center, which became the Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross, St. Francis will continue to be independently owned and operated.

The primary goal of the Mayo Clinic Care Network is to help people gain the benefits of Mayo Clinic expertise close to home, ensuring that patients need to travel for care only when necessary.

The network, launched in 2011, has 22 member organizations based in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wisconsin as well as Puerto Rico and Mexico.



About St. Francis


St. Francis, a 376-bed facility, offers a full range of inpatient, outpatient and emergency room services and is the only area hospital offering open heart surgery. With more than 2,000 employees, 300 physicians and the latest technology, we strive to help you regain and maintain your health. Our overriding goal is to provide you with the best possible care. For more information, visit



About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

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November 12th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic: Researchers to Study Body’s Defense System to Find New Treatments for Alzheimer’s

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida, the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle have received a $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to take a new and more expanded approach to identifying drug targets to treat and possibly prevent Alzheimer's disease.

VIDEO ALERT: Video resources including an interview with Dr. Ertekin-Taner describing the study can be found on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

The investigators are working together to understand the role that innate immunity — the body's defense system — plays in Alzheimer's disease, a disorder of dementia that is rapidly increasing as the population ages.

The teams are focused on uncovering and manipulating the key molecular players in innate immunity with an ultimate goal of developing novel therapies for Alzheimer's disease, says neurologist and neuroscientist Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D., one of the grant's two principal investigators from Mayo Clinic in Florida. The other is Steven Younkin, M.D., Ph.D.

"When activated, human innate immunity results in inflammation, and previous research on this response to development of Alzheimer's disease has been contradictory because no one has yet looked at the whole picture of this effect over time," says Dr. Ertekin-Taner. "It may be that an initial inflammatory response is beneficial, perhaps even protective, but a lengthy response to toxic proteins acts to kill healthy neurons.

"Our goal is to understand exactly if and when an innate immune response is good, and when it is bad, and to identify drug targets that enhance this protective effect and shut down the destructive side of this inflammation."

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November 8th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Trustees Welcome New Member, Elect Emeritus Member

By Admin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Mayo Clinic Board of Trusteeswelcomed Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, as a new member during a meeting today. The trustees also elected Shirley Weis, retiring Mayo Clinic vice president and chief administrative officer, as an emeritus trustee.

Since joining Google in 2001, Schmidt has helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. As executive chairman, he is responsible for the external matters of Google: building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership, as well as advising the CEO and senior leadership on business and policy issues.

From 2001 to 2011, Schmidt served as Google's chief executive officer, overseeing the company's technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Under his leadership, Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation.

Prior to joining Google, Schmidt was the chairman and CEO of Novell and chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Previously, he served on the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Bell Laboratories and Zilog. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Schmidt is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Prime Minister's Advisory Council in the U.K. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a fellow in 2007. He also chairs the board of the New America Foundation, and since 2008 has been a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

Weis will retire from Mayo Clinic at the end of 2013. Weis has served as Mayo's chief administrative officer since 2007 and been a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees since 2004. She began her career at Mayo Clinic in 1995 as the executive director of MMSI, became chair of the Managed Care Department in 1999, and served as the vice chair of administration for Mayo Clinic in Arizona from 2001 to 2007.

The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, a 31-member group of public representatives and Mayo Clinic physicians and administrators, is responsible for patient care, medical education and research at Mayo Clinic's sites in Jacksonville, Fla.; Rochester, Minn.; Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz; and Mayo Clinic Health System clinics and hospitals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Georgia.


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

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November 7th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic: Less-Invasive Option as Effective as Esophagus Removal in Early Esophageal Cancer

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nov. 7, 2013 — Use of a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure to remove superficial, early stage esophageal cancer is as effective as surgery that takes out and rebuilds the esophagus, according to a study by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The research, published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, examined national outcomes from endoscopic treatment compared to esophagectomy, surgical removal of the esophagus.

VIDEO ALERT: Video resources including an interview with Dr. Wallace describing the study can be found on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

It found that endoscopic therapy offered long-term survival rates similar to those for esophagectomy, says lead author, Michael B. Wallace, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 17th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Flu Update: Mayo Clinic Experts Encourage Flu Vaccinations, Dispel Common Myths

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

Vaccination Options Are Available for Everyone

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Vandana Bhide, M.D., talking about the flu and flu vaccinations, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Jacksonville, FL — Flu season is upon us, and despite what most people think, influenza is a serious and potentially deadly disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 30,000 deaths occur annually as a result of flu and associated complications. With last year's flu outbreak ranking among the worst in recent history, Mayo Clinic experts offer advice and dispel many misconceptions about the flu to help people stay healthy.

"The vaccine is the best defense against flu and serious flu-related conditions, and because it's difficult to predict how and when the flu will strike, I recommend getting it as early as you can," says Teresa Seville, M.D., Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Vandana Bhide, M.D., internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, advises everyone to consider a flu shot, particularly those at high risk for complications — individuals over the age of 65, pregnant women, children 6 months to two years, and individuals with chronic medical disorders or who are immune-compromised. "Though many people who get the flu will have fever, muscle aches and need to stay home from work or school for a few days, certain people can develop serious complications, which could include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and other conditions. The vaccine can help avoid these issues."

This year, there are several new options for vaccination, including a shot and nasal spray with four strains of influenza rather than the traditional three strains. A high-dose vaccine for the elderly is also available as well as a new vaccine without egg proteins, for those with egg allergies. "There is an option for everyone," says Dr. Bhide.

One of the most common myths about the flu is that the vaccine will cause the flu. "Although many people believe this, it is a myth," says Jennifer White, M.D., family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield, Minn. "Injectable flu vaccines are composed of portions of inactivated flu proteins, and it's impossible for them to cause the flu. Nasal spray vaccines have live, weakened flu organisms that can't multiply or cause disease."

Dr. White adds that pregnant women are encouraged to use the injectable vaccines as the nasal sprays have not yet been studied in pregnant women.

"In general, the best way to avoid getting sick with the flu is by getting vaccinated and practicing healthy habits," says Dr. Seville.

Here are some tips for avoiding illness:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with water and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This is particularly important before leaving the bathroom, eating or touching your face. Dr. Seville says it doesn't matter if you use cold, warm or hot water, but hot water may increase the chance of skin irritation. A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." Use a paper towel to shut off the faucet and open the door while in a public restroom. This will keep you from recontaminating your hands.
  • Don't smoke. In general, smoking makes you more susceptible to illness.
  • Cover your cough with the crook of your elbow.
  • Avoid others who are sick, and stay home from work or school if you are ill. Dr. Bhide recommends visiting the doctor if you are part of the high risk group for flu or around someone who is at risk.
  • Keep your vaccines up to date. Aside from the seasonal flu shot, the most important vaccines include measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and the relatively new Tdap, for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (whooping cough).


For more information about preventing the flu, please


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

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