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July 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Widowhood may delay dementia, Mayo Clinic study says

By Jim McVeigh

handsPHOENIX — A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that the care and support family members give to elderly widows following the death of their spouse may be a factor in delaying dementia.

The study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark last week was designed to evaluate the effects of widowhood in people with mild cognitive impairment - a precursor of dementia.  The thinking had been that widowhood would accelerate the development of dementia in people with MCI but the study showed the opposite.

Mayo Clinic researchers used data on more than 3,500 people from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database, which compiles information collected at various Alzheimer’s disease Centers in the U.S. The researchers found that of the 1,078 subjects who developed dementia, people who remained married developed dementia at a younger age than those who were widowed (83 years old versus 92 years). Read the rest of this entry »

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July 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Why Some With Alzheimer’s Die Without Cognitive Impairment, While Others Do?

By Duska Anastasijevic

A Third Protein Provides Clue

Since the time of Dr. Alois Alzheimer himself, two proteins (beta-amyloid (Aβ) and tau) have become tantamount to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). But a Mayo Clinic study challenges the perception that these are the only important proteins accounting for the clinical features of the devastating disease.

In a large clinico-imaging pathological study, Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrated that a third protein (TDP-43) plays a major role in AD pathology. In fact, people whose brain was TDP positive were 10 times more likely to be cognitively impaired at death compared to those who didn’t have the protein, showing that TDP-43 has the potential to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. The study was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

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

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July 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Arizona Pop Warner and Mayo Spearhead Youth Sports-Related Injuries Research

By Admin

PHOENIX — In response to growing concerns about concussions and head injuries in youth sports, Arizona Pop Warner Football and Cheer and Mayo Clinic have announced a groundbreaking collaboration that will provide intensive medical research about the effects of sports-related injuries. As part of the program, all participants ages 10 years and older in Arizona Pop Warner’s flag and tackle football programs, as well as all participants in the organization’s cheerleading programs, will be required to complete a comprehensive evaluation prior to play that will provide a baseline for future testing in the event of an injury. This baseline evaluation will provide immediate data when testing young athletes after an injury, helping physicians determine the nature and extent of the injury and helping to assess a timeline for return to competition.

football on grassy field

David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an expert in concussion care and director of the Mayo Clinic Concussion Program, was invited to join President Barack Obama and other medical experts at the White House in late May. The effort between Arizona Pop Warner Football and Cheer and Mayo Clinic is one of the first  of its kind since President Obama’s call-to-action on May 29 at the White House, assembling prominent athletic organizations, athletes and medical experts to join the Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. The two organizations are working to get the concussion protocol executed before the start of the 2014 season.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jim McVeigh, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-4222

MEDIA CONTACT: Morgan Ringwald, Arizona Pop Warner Football and Cheer, 480-249-6601,

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July 1st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

July 4th Marks 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech

By Duska Anastasijevic

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Seventy-five years ago, on July 4th 1939, baseball legend Lou Gehrig delivered the famous speech bidding farewell to the ballpark and his fans. Two weeks before Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Accompanied by his wife, Eleanor, Lou left Mayo Clinic with the devastating diagnosis on June 20th 1939, a day after his 36th birthday. He died in June two years later, not quite 38 years old, of the rare neurological disease that would come to bear his name.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Journalists, the video package and addition b-roll are available in the downloads. To read the video script click here.

ALS is a type of progressive motor neuron disease that typically strikes at middle to later life and causes nerve cells in spinal cord, brain stem and brain to gradually break down and die. These nerve cells are responsible for muscle function so eventually, ALS can affect Read the rest of this entry »

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June 18th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic’s Zebrafish Program

By Dennis Douda

'Mayo 150 years serving humanity' 150th Sesquicentennial LogoThere is a tiny unsung hero in the medical world, the zebrafish. Studying it has led to countless breakthroughs, from understanding how the body works, to treatments for conditions like cancer and heart disease. At Mayo Clinic, researchers often take their quest for answers to the "Fish Farm.”

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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June 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic: In-School Eye Movement Training Improves Early Reading Fluency

By Admin

PHOENIX — In a new Mayo Clinic study, researchers examined the physical act of reading to see if practicing eye movements in school could lead to better early reading fluency.


Saccades or rapid eye movements are required for the physical act of reading. Previous studies have shown that the ability to perform complex tasks such as saccadic eye movements are not fully developed at the age when children begin to learn to read. Eye movements in younger children are imprecise, resulting in the need for the eyes to go back to re-read text, leading to slower performance. When translated into the task of reading, it slows the reading rate and leads to poor reading fluency and may affect reading comprehension and academic performance. Read the rest of this entry »

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June 4th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Moves Small-Molecule Drugs Through Blood-Brain Barrier

By Bob Nellis

brain imageROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic have demonstrated in a mouse model that their recently developed synthetic peptide carrier is a potential delivery vehicle for brain cancer chemotherapy drugs and other neurological medications. The findings appear in PLOS ONE.

“Not only have we shown that we can transport eight different molecules, we think this method will be less disruptive or invasive because it mimics a normal physiological process,” says Mayo Clinic neuroscientist Gobinda Sarkar, Ph.D., the corresponding author of the study. The researchers are able to transport the drugs without modifying any of the molecules involved. They say this development will aid in evaluation of potential new drugs for brain cancer.

The blood-brain barrier is meant to protect the brain from numerous undesirable chemicals circulating in the body, but it also obstructs access for treatment of brain tumors and other conditions. Too often the only recourse is invasive, which often limits a drug’s effectiveness or causes irreversible damage to an already damaged brain. Nearly all of the drugs that could potentially help are too large to normally pass through the barrier. Additionally, other methods may damage the vascular system.
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May 29th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Neurologist Joins President Obama’s Dialogue on Concussions

By Admin

sideline footballPHOENIX —  David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an expert in concussion care and research, joined other medical experts and President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit today.

The summit is a White House initiative to raise awareness of the increasing rate of concussions among young athletes, and to develop an action plan to protect the safety and health of youth athletes who participate in sport. Medical experts, coaches, parents and players joined President Obama to talk about safe sports. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment


By Dana Sparks

Montage of Mayo Clinic Radio pictures

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 150,000 lives and leaving 250,000 people handicapped each year. Since May is American Stroke Month, we've invited neurologist and stroke expert Robert Brown, Jr., M.D., and David Miller, M.D., to join us Saturday, May 17. What causes a stroke and what are the warning signs? If you think you're having a stroke, what should you do? What are the 10 things you can do to prevent a stroke? We hope you'll join us.

Myth or Matter of Fact: Stroke is unpreventable.

Also this week, Stephen Russell, M.D., Ph.D., will talk about this week's incredible announcement about using the measles virus to put a woman with an incurable cancer into remission. 

To hear the program LIVE on Saturday, click here.
Follow #MayoClinicRadio and tweet your questions.
Mayo Clinic Radio is available on iHeart Radio.

Listen to this week’s Medical News Headlines: News Segment May 17, 2014 (right click MP3)   Read the rest of this entry »

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May 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Researchers Validate Rapid Sideline Concussion Test for Youth Athletes

By Jim McVeigh

Eye movement test detects concussions and possible 'silent' concussions

PHOENIX — A rapid, easy-to-administer eye movement test is showing great promise as a sideline concussion test for youth sports, a Mayo Clinic study finds.

In the study, Mayo Clinic researchers assessed high school hockey players using the King-Devick test. The test requires an athlete to read single-digit numbers displayed on cards. After suspected head trauma, the athlete is given the test, which takes about two minutes, and the results are compared to a baseline test administered previously. If the time needed to complete the test takes longer than the baseline test time, the athlete should be removed from play until evaluated by a medical professional.

About 150 high school hockey players received preseason testing to establish a baseline time in the study. During the subsequent season, 20 athletes had a suspected concussion. All 20 had a prolonged King-Devick test, and all were later clinically diagnosed with a concussion.


“Youth athletes are at a higher risk for concussion and a longer recovery time than adults,” says Amaal Starling, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and a co-author of the study. “While the test has already been clinically validated for detecting concussion in collegiate and professional athletes, we wanted to ensure it was also validated in adolescents.” Read the rest of this entry »

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