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April 15th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

April 17 is ‘Donate Life Day’ in Rochester

By Ginger Plumbo

Wear blue and green, attend ‘Walk of Remembrance’ and flag ceremony to commemorate

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Friday, April 17, is “Donate Life Day” in Rochester, an annual recognition to raise awareness about organ donation. LifeSource, Gift of Life Transplant House and Mayo Clinic Transplant Center are hosting a “Walk of Remembrance” and flag ceremony starting at 4:30 p.m. on the Saint Marys Hospital campus. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.Gift of Life Transplant House

More than 120,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. Nearly 2,000 of those are children. Mayo Clinic has over 3,000 patients on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national waiting list. An average of 21 people die each day in the United States waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs.

Ginger Plumbo, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email:

April is National Donate Life Month, and events are happening across the country to increase support for organ, tissue and eye donation. In addition to the Donate Life Day event in Rochester, there are several other ways to participate or observe Donate Life Month: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Gift of Life Transplant House, LifeSource, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, Minnesota news release, National Donate Life Month, News Release, Organ Donation

April 14th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic and Optum360 Collaborate to Improve Experience for Patients

By Brian Kilen

Agreement includes deployment of existing Optum360 revenue management services technology, development of new tools and delivery of services to increase patient satisfaction

Optum360 and Mayo Clinic announced today that they are collaborating to develop new revenue management services capabilities aimed at improving patient experiences and satisfaction while reducing administrative costs for health care providers.

Medical Director for Patient Experience, Rochester

Medical Director for Patient Experience, Rochester

Optum360 and Mayo Clinic will collaborate on enhancing and redesigning specific elements of the revenue cycle to increase efficiency while creating a convenient, accurate, transparent and personal experience for patients. A key focus is improving the interaction between the provider and payer by opening channels of communication early in the care process. The agreement includes a next-generation patient cost estimator, streamlining prior authorization/pre-certification, enhanced claims editing functions and administrative simplification of billing activities associated with pre-care packaged pricing.

“Mayo Clinic and Optum360 have a shared vision of how a patient can best experience the revenue cycle as part of their care,” said Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Mayo Clinic Medical Director for Patient Experience, Rochester. “Through our work together, we will also address the unique needs and regulatory requirements of the market and deliver a superior patient experience.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Kilen, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Tags: business, Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, insurance, News Release, Optum360, RCM, revenue cycle management, Rochester news release

April 13th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Creating Profile to Identify Patients Most at Risk of Developing Pancreatic Cancer

By Kevin Punsky

Endoscopic ultrasound.

The endoscope (not seen) is placed in the stomach, via the mouth. The ultrasound device, located on the tip of the scope, provides a black and white image. In this image, the normal pancreas (“panc”) is located on the right, and a large black circular cyst is seen in the center. Doppler ultrasound is used to check the nearby blood vessels such as the superior mesenteric vein (SMV) which show red blood flow.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When people find out — usually from a diagnostic scan looking at something else — that they have a lesion in their pancreas that could morph into pancreatic cancer, they can panic. They insist on having frequent CT scans and biopsies to monitor the lesion, or they ask for surgery. Physicians also don’t know if these abnormalities are dangerous, so the patients end up in surgery having part of their pancreas removed. Often the lesion is nothing to worry about.

But a team of international physicians, led by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has developed a profile of the patient who would be most at risk of developing lesions that are most likely to develop into cancer. Their analysis is published online today in the journal Digestive and Liver Diseases.

“The factors we found that increase risk of pancreatic cancer now allow us to separate patients as either low or high risk,” says the study’s senior author, Michael B. Wallace, M.D., MPH, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. “High-risk patients can then be scanned and biopsied more frequently or can opt for surgery, but low-risk patients don’t need such surveillance. They can be watched much less intensively.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746,

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Tags: cancer, Dr Massimo Raimondo, Dr Michael Wallace, Dr Timothy Woodward, Florida, Florida News Release, Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Medical Research, News Release, Pancreatic Cancer

April 9th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Combine Common Genetic Variants and Other Factors to Improve Breast Cancer Risk Prediction

By Joe Dangor

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Recent large-scale genomic analyses have uncovered dozens of common genetic variants that are associated with breast cancer. Each variant, however, contributes only a tiny amount to a person’s overall risk of developing the disease.

A Mayo Clinic-led team of international researchers has now combined 77 of these common genetic variants into a single risk factor that can be used to improve the identification of women with an elevated risk of breast cancer. This factor, known as a polygenic risk score, was built from the genetic data of more than 67,000 women. The results of the research are published April 9, 2015, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).

A companion study has extended this finding to show that this measure of genetic variation can be combined with traditional predictors of breast cancer risk such as breast density and family history to improve personalized estimates of breast cancer risk. Those findings appeared in JNCI last month.

MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Fergus Couch are in the downloads.

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Tags: BRCA1 and BRCA2, Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Risk, common genetic variants, Dr. Couch, Dr Vachon, genomic analyses, Minnesota news release, News Release, polygenic risk score, cancer

April 8th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Effective Leadership: One Remedy for Physician Burnout

By Bob Nellis

Burnout is a common problem among U.S. doctors and studies suggest it adversely impacts quality of care and patient satisfaction. Many factors impact how physicians perceive their career. A new study suggests there’s an interesting correlation between physician burnout and the effectiveness of their supervisors. That’s what researchers found at Mayo Clinic when they undertook a large internal study on the satisfaction of physicians and the leadership qualities of their supervisors. The findings appear today in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

 “We found that at the work-group level, 11 percent of the variation in burnout and 50 percent of the variation in satisfaction among physicians was attributable to the leadership behaviors of their supervisor,” says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo researcher and first author of the study. “The behaviors of physician supervisors have a direct impact on the personal well-being of the physicians they lead.”

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Shanafelt are available in the downloads.

Media Contact: Bob Nellis at Mayo Clinic Public Affairs: 507-284-5005 or Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Tait Shanafelt, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, medical practice, Minnesota news release, News Release, physician burnout, Research

April 8th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Launches Eight Genetic Testing Panels for Cardiac Disorders

By April Josselyn

cardio panel graphic image

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic’s launch of eight new next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels is intended to improve the lives of patients and families living with inherited cardiac conditions by aiding in the diagnosis and management of these complex disorders.

These disorders include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, Noonan syndrome, Marfan syndrome, long QT syndrome, and Brugada syndrome. The tests, which identify inherited variants across numerous genes associated with cardiac disorders, are now available to Mayo Clinic patients and to providers worldwide through Mayo Clinic via Mayo Medical Laboratories.

“Genetic testing for inherited cardiac conditions is increasingly supported by professionals in the field as a means to confirm the specific diagnosis for patients, individualize their management, and allow for counseling of at-risk family members,” says Juan Bowen, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Marfan Syndrome and Thoracic Aorta Clinic. “In some of the disorders that we treat, having a specific genetic diagnosis affects important management decisions, such as when to refer for preventive aortic repair.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brent Westra, Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cardiology, genetic testing, Individualized Medicine, Linnea Baudhuin, Mayo Medical Laboratories, Minnesota news release, News Release, tests

April 7th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Medical School Receives Accreditation Endorsement for Branch Campuses

By Deb Anderson

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Medical School announced that its expansion plan to establish branch campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida, has received the endorsement of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accrediting body for medical education.

Education Photo2“We are thrilled with the positive response from LCME,” says Sherine Gabriel, M.D., M.Sc., (retiring) dean of Mayo Medical School and William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “This signifies an important step in our transformation to a national medical school and our ability to deliver extraordinary medical education and highly diverse clinical experiences to our students across all campuses.”

Originally established in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1972, Mayo Medical School is considered one of the most highly competitive medical schools in the country for admittance. Averaging over 4,700 applications per year, Mayo Medical School traditionally accepts only 50 students per enrolling class. With the opening of the Arizona campus in 2017, this will increase to 50 additional students per year. The expansion of the medical school is a natural next step in its mission to train highly skilled physicians. Notably, Mayo Medical School students routinely match to top residency programs across the country, and 80 percent — more than twice the national average — publish research manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. Careful planning will maintain another important feature of the school — its high faculty-to-single student ratio.

MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Anderson, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Tags: education, LCME, Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Medical School, Michele Halyard, Minnesota news release, News Release, Sherine Gabriel

March 31st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Study Suggests Acute Injured Kidneys can be considered for Transplant

By Lynn Closway

PHOENIX — The shortage of kidneys needed for organ transplantation in the U.S. can be alleviated in part by using select kidneys with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), resulting in safe and positive outcomes, according to research conducted at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Results of the single-site study, led by Raymond Heilman, M.D., Chair of the Division of Nephrology, suggest that acutely injured kidneys from deceased donors can be considered for transplantation — reconsidering previous thinking that such kidneys should be discarded.

Kidneys can result in acute injury when the organ ceases to function, generally caused by heavy blood loss, severe infection, extreme dehydration and some medications.  At the same time, according to Dr. Heilman, “The kidney has a remarkable ability to regenerate parts of the organ that weren’t working.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Lynn Closway, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-4337, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Acute Kidney Injury, Arizona News Release, kidney transplant, News Release, Organ Transplantation, Raymond Heilman

March 27th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Health Letter: Highlights from the March 2015 Issue

By Brian Kilen

ROCHESTER, Minn. ― Here are highlights from the March 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 March 2015 (for journalists only).

Alternate medications to manage chronic painchronic pain med

Pain medications might not work well for chronic pain ― pain that doesn’t go away with time. The March issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers other types of medications and strategies to consider as part of long-term pain management.

Deciding on potential drug therapy for chronic pain usually involves analysis of the cause or causes of pain and knowing which type of drugs may be beneficial. Pain medications typically work well for pain resulting from headache, an injury or surgery. These same medications can lose their effectiveness over time, and some may even make pain worse or cause unacceptable side effects. Other options include:

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Kilen, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: blood pressure guidelines, chronic pain, Dr Amit Sood, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Minnesota news release, News Release, pain medication

March 24th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Receives Cancer Center of Excellence Designation from the State of Florida

By Dana Sparks

Griffin-Birdsall Cancer Research Building in Florida

Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Fla. has been recognized as one of four Cancer Centers of Excellence to be designated by the State of Florida. The announcement was made Monday by state Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong.  cancer research laboratory petri dishes

The Cancer Center of Excellence designation recognizes Mayo Clinic and three other cancer centers for demonstrating a commitment to excellence by providing patient-centered coordinated care for those undergoing cancer treatment and therapy in Florida. The goal of the program is to encourage excellence in cancer care in Florida, attract and retain the best cancer care professionals to the state, and help Florida organizations to be recognized nationally as a preferred destination for quality cancer care.

In addition to being recognized as a newly designated Cancer Center of Excellence, Mayo Clinic is also one of only two National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers in Florida.

Media Contact: Paul Scotti, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0199. Email:

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Smallridge are available in the downloads.

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Tags: Cancer Center of Excellence, Mayo Clinic in Florida, News Release, Dr Robert Smallridge, Griffin Cancer Research Building