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August 18th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

First in Florida to Receive National Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s stroke center in Jacksonville is the first center in Florida to receive national Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, joining an elite group of centers throughout the United States that are focused on providing advanced and complex stroke care.



Centers that achieve this distinction — awarded by The Joint Commission working with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association — are recognized as leaders that help set the national agenda in highly specialized stroke care. The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

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August 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Understanding Headache Types is Key to Treatment

By Micah Dorfner

man pressing his hands to his temples because of a headache.

We have all experienced the annoying, relentless and throbbing pain associated with a headache. They can slow us down or even bring us to a complete stop. However, did you know that there are several different types of headaches, and knowing the type you've got can be the first step in effectively treating it?

Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner Erin Pokorny takes a look at different types of headaches and shares what you can do to fight them.

  • Tension-type headaches: These are considered to be the most common types of headaches. They are often described as dull and achy and are often brought on by stress, neck pain, missing meals and a variety of other things. Treatment options: Tension-type headaches can often be treated by over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You may also want to try alternative treatments including meditation, relaxation training and massage.
  • Migraines: We've all heard about migraines, and we know that they’re not to be taken lightly. The pain associated with migraines is often described as throbbing and severe. Migraines are often associated with nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light and sound. Pain may worsen with increased activity. Untreated, migraines can typically last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Treatment options: If you know the triggers for your migraines, make sure to avoid these known causes. Over-the-counter medication can help. Other treatment options include prescription medications; rest in a quiet, dark room; or a hot/cold compress to the head or neck.

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August 7th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Study Finds Accuracy of Diagnosing Parkinson’s is Low

By Jim McVeigh

word cloud for Parkinson's diseasePHOENIX — Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute have determined that many people with an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease are not correctly diagnosed according to a study just published in the journal Neurology.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the best-known sign of Parkinson's, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness and slowing of movement. Additionally there are many non-movement problems including constipation, loss of the sense of smell, sleep problems, lightheadedness, urinary difficulties, depression and anxiety. Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, medications may markedly improve symptoms. Currently, there is no accurate diagnostic test for the disease; diagnosis is made based on medical history, a review of signs and symptoms, a neurological and physical examination and by ruling out other conditions. Confirmation of the disease can only be made by performing an autopsy.
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August 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

NIH Renews Funding of Longitudinal Study of Earliest Alzheimer’s Disease Changes

By Jim McVeigh

Mayo Clinic Arizona campusPHOENIX, Arizona – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) renewed funding for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) and Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, longitudinal study of the earliest changes associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages.  The award, an estimated $8.3 million over the next five years, continues NIH’s long-term support of the investigation.

The study, which began two decades ago, has been examining the subtle brain imaging, memory and thinking changes that occur in healthy late-middle-aged and older adults who have inherited from their parents either one, two or no copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s.  Each additional copy of the gene significantly increases a person’s chance of developing the disease.

“We are extremely grateful to the NIH and our wonderful research volunteers for their support,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director and one of the study’s principal investigators. “From the beginning, this study has been driven by our interest in finding treatments to prevent or end Alzheimer’s as quickly as possible, and to provide the information and tools needed to do just that.” Read the rest of this entry »

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July 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Study Says Widowhood May Delay Dementia

By Jim McVeigh

senior citizen, older woman sitting alone and looking out windowPHOENIX — 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).

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