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Nick Hanson @nickhanson

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Activity by Nick Hanson @nickhanson

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Mar 18, 2014 by @nickhanson · View  

COPD Associated With Increased Risk for Mild Cognitive Impairment

Bottom Line:  A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in older adults was associated with increased risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), especially MCI of skills other than memory, and the greatest risk was among patients who had COPD for more than five years. The study is published in JAMA Neurology.

Authors:  Balwinder Singh, M.D., M.S., and Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues.

Background: COPD is an irreversible limitation of airflow into the lungs, usually caused by smoking. More than 13.5 million adults 25 years or older in the U.S. have COPD. Previous research has suggested COPD is associated with cognitive impairment.

How the Study Was Conducted: The authors examined the association between COPD and MCI, as well as the duration of MCI, in 1,425 individuals (ages 70 to 89 years) with normal cognition in 2004 from Olmsted County, Minn. At baseline, 171 patients had a COPD diagnosis.

Results: Of the 1,425 patients, 370 developed MCI: 230 had amnestic MCI (A-MCI, which affects memory), 97 had nonamnestic MCI (NA-MCI), 27 had MCI of an unknown type and 16 had progressed from normal cognition to dementia. A diagnosis of COPD increased the risk for NA-MCI by a relative 83 percent during a median of 5.1 years of follow-up. Patients who had COPD for more than five years had the greatest risk for MCI.

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Mar 13, 2014 by @nickhanson · View  

Large Waist Linked to Poor Health, Even Among Those in Healthy Body Mass Index Ranges

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

ROCHESTER, Minn. — March 12, 2014 — Having a big belly has consequences beyond trouble squeezing into your pants. It’s detrimental to your health, even if you have a healthy body mass index (BMI), a new international collaborative study led by a Mayo Clinic researcher found. Men and women with large waist circumferences were more likely to die younger, and were more likely to die from illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer after accounting for body mass index, smoking, alcohol use and physical activity. The study is published in the March edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Man with obese stomach being measured.

The researchers pooled data from 11 different cohort studies, including more than 600,000 people from around the world. They found that men with waists 43 inches or greater in circumference had a 50 percent higher mortality risk than men with waists less than 35 inches, and this translated to about a three-year lower life expectancy after age 40. Women with a waist circumference of 37 inches or greater had about an 80 percent higher mortality risk than women with a waist circumference of 27 inches or less, and this translated to about a five-year lower life expectancy after age 40.

 

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Mar 11, 2014 by @nickhanson · View  

Diabetes in Middle Age May Lead to Brain Cell Loss Later in Life

ROCHESTER, Minn. — March 11, 2014 — People who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age, according to a new study published in the March 19, 2014, online issue of Neurology. Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older.

“Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia,” says study author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Rosebud Roberts M.B., Ch.B.diabetes word art

For the study, the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 people with an average age of 80 were evaluated. The participants had either no thinking or memory problems or mild memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment. They then had brain scans to look for markers of brain damage that can be a precursor to dementia. Participants’ medical records were reviewed to determine whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age or later.

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Feb 12, 2014 by @nickhanson · View  

Expert Alert: Increase in Opioid Prescriptions Parallels Spike in Heroin Use, Overdoses

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Feb. 12, 2014 — Not only is heroin addictive and deadly, its use is increasing among Americans. That disturbing trend parallels the spike of opioid based prescription painkiller abuse in recent years, say Mayo Clinic experts.

Heroin, a drug that can be smoked, sniffed/snorted or injected intravenously, is highly addictive. For comparison, about 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become addicted. Close to 17 percent of cocaine users will. It’s 15 percent for alcohol. But for heroin, 25 percent or more of users will become addicted. That means roughly one in four users become addicts.

Journalists: Video of Dr. Hall-Flavin talking about heroin addiction is available in the downloads.

“Heroin is prevalent, it’s out there and it is deadly,” says Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and addiction expert. “But it doesn’t have to be. There is hope out there for people if they can get treatment.”
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Jan 23, 2014 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Improves Patient Safety in 2013, Reports Record Low Adverse Health Events

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Jan. 23, 2014 The Minnesota Department of Health released its 10th annual Adverse Health Events report today and Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester reported only 29 events in 2013 — down from 38 in 2012. This decrease is primarily due to reductions in advanced-stage pressure ulcers and surgery-related events. Mayo's emphasis on pressure ulcer identification and prevention led to fewer pressure ulcer reports in 2013.The reporting system requires Minnesota hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report whenever one of 29 serious adverse events occurs and conduct a thorough analysis of causes. In 2013, the number of events reported statewide was 258. Data was collected from Oct. 6, 2012 through Oct. 7, 2013.Gonda Building with Mayo flag

Journalists: Rochester campus b-roll is available in the downloads.

“The data reflect the high dedication of our nursing and medical teams, as well as our strong detection and reporting efforts,” says Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Patient Safety Officer in Rochester. “We are encouraged by these results and hope to see even further reductions in the coming year.”

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Dec 11, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Study: Chronic Lung Disease Linked to Cognitive Impairment, Memory Loss

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dec. 11, 2013 — A recent Mayo Clinic study found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — and chances are that it will include memory loss. The study was recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers looked at about 2,000 people 70-89 years old in the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging. About 1,600 were cognitively normal, 317 had mild cognitive impairment and overall, about 288 had COPD. COPD was found to be associated with almost two-fold higher odds of MCI, and the odds get worse the longer someone has COPD.  Rates were similar among men and women.

transparent view of the lung

Lung Illustration

Incidence of dementia progresses with age, and in the absence of any effective therapy for treatment or management of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, identification of risk factors is critical, says Balwinder Singh, M.D., first author of the study and a Mayo Clinic neurology research collaborator who is a psychiatry resident at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

“COPD is reversible in early stages, especially in smokers,” Dr. Singh says. “These findings are important because they highlight the importance of COPD as a potential risk factor for MCI and will hopefully lead to early intervention to prevent incidence or progression.”

MCI is a stage between normal cognitive aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment are at increased risk of progressing to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [...]

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Nov 26, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Experts Available to Discuss New Epilepsy Therapy

ROCHESTER, Minn. — People with epilepsy may have a new high-tech way to manage hard-to-control seizures. A new implantable medical device that delivers responsive neurostimulation has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The technology is designed to detect abnormal activity in the brain and respond and deliver subtle levels of electrical stimulation to normalize brain activity before an individual experiences seizures. The treatment is available at all Mayo Clinic sites.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Joseph Sirven talking about the device, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Mayo Clinic in ArizonaFlorida and Minnesota were all involved in the clinical trials for the device (and have collectively enrolled the highest number of patients into the trials).

The device is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in people 18 years of age or older with partial onset seizures who have undergone diagnostic testing that localized no more than two epileptogenic foci, are refractory to two or more antiepileptic medications, and currently have frequent and disabling seizures (motor partial seizures, complex partial seizures and/or secondarily generalized seizures).

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Oct 16, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Psychiatrist: Taking Guns Away From Mentally Ill Won't Eliminate Mass Shootings

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Oct. 16, 2013 — A string of public mass shootings during the past decade-plus have rocked America leaving policymakers and mental health experts alike fishing for solutions to prevent these heinous crimes. A Mayo Clinic physician, however, argues that at least one proposal won't stop the public massacres: restricting gun access to the mentally ill. J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the editorial published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings today, argues several points including that mass shootings are carefully planned — often spanning weeks or months. There is plenty of time for a meticulous planner and determined killer to get a gun somewhere in that time, he argues.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Bostwick talking about the editorial, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Dr. Bostwick's editorial is a commentary on an essay in the same issue of Proceedings titled "Guns, Schools, and Mental Illness: Potential Concerns for Physicians and Mental Health Professionals." The authors focus on recent mass shootings and argue that these actions were not and could not have been prevented by more restrictive gun legislation. They further contend that a diagnosis of mental illness does not justify stripping Second Amendment rights from all who carry such a diagnosis, most of whom will never commit violent acts toward others.

Before reading the essay Dr. Bostwick — who is generally in favor of gun control — expected to disagree with its contents. Instead, he agreed. [...]

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Oct 15, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Study: Teachers More Likely to Have Progressive Speech and Language Disorders

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers have found a surprising occupational hazard for teachers: progressive speech and language disorders. The research, recently published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, found that people with speech and language disorders are about 3.5 times more likely to be teachers than patients with Alzheimer's dementia.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Josephs talking about the study, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Speech and language disorders are typically characterized by people losing their ability to communicate — they can't find words to use in sentences, or they'll speak around a word. They may also have trouble producing the correct sounds and articulating properly. Speech and language disorders are not the same as Alzheimer's dementia, which is characterized by the loss of memory. Progressive speech and language disorders are degenerative and ultimately lead to death anywhere from 8-10 years after diagnosis. [...]

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Sep 18, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Study: Blood Biomarker Could Mark Severe Cognitive Decline, Quicker Progression Among Parkinson's Patients

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sept. 18, 2013 — A genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson's disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4 to 7 percent of all patients with the disease) also alters how specific lipidsceramides and glucosylceramides are metabolized. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Parkinson's patients who do not carry the genetic mutation also have higher levels of these lipids in the blood. Further, those who had Parkinson's and high blood levels were also more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia. The research was recently published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Mielke talking about the study, visit Mayo Clinic News Network.

The discovery could be an important warning for those with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. There is no biomarker to tell who is going to develop the disease — and who is going to develop cognitive impairment after developing Parkinson's, says Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and first author of the study. [...]

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Sep 9, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Debunk Common Suicide Myths in Light of World Suicide Prevention Day

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sept. 9, 2013 — Talking to someone about depressed will increase the chances that they will act on it — true or false? False. The truth: When someone is in crisis or depressed, asking if he or she is thinking about suicide can help. Giving a person an opportunity to open up and share their troubles can help alleviate their pain and open a path to solutions. This is just one of many suicide prevention myths to debunk as we approach World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10. [...]

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Sep 8, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Obese Teenagers Who Lose Weight at Risk for Developing Eating Disorders

Teens also likely to go undiagnosed, develop more severe medical complications

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sept. 8, 2013 — Obese teenagers who lose weight are at risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, Mayo Clinic researchers imply in a recent Pediatrics article. Eating disorders among these patients are also not being adequately detected because the weight loss is seen as positive by providers and family members.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Sim talking about the article, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

In the article, Mayo Clinic researchers argue that formerly overweight adolescents tend to have more medical complications from eating disorders and it takes longer to diagnose them than kids who are in a normal weight range. This is problematic because early intervention is the key to a good prognosis, says Leslie Sim, Ph.D., an eating disorders expert in the Mayo Clinic Children's Center and lead author of the study. [...]

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Aug 29, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Parkinson's Goes Prime Time: Five Things to Know About Parkinson's Disease

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Aug. 29, 2013 — Michael J. Fox is back in the spotlight this fall in a new sitcom "The Michael J. Fox Show" and spreading awareness about Parkinson's disease, a condition both he and his TV character have in common. Fox has been an outspoken advocate for Parkinson's disease research and awareness since disclosing his condition to the public in 1998.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For more information and downloadable audio and video from Dr. Hassan about Parkinson's disease, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and may cause shaking, muscle stiffness, slowing of movement, impaired balance or other symptoms. It impacts about 1 in 200 people, says Anhar Hassan, M.D., a Mayo Clinic movement disorders specialist. [...]

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Jul 25, 2013 by @nickhanson · View  

Bipolar Disorder Takes Different Path in Patients Who Binge Eat, Study Suggests

ROCHESTER, Minn. — July 25, 2013 — Bipolar disorder evolves differently in patients who also binge eat, a study by Mayo Clinic, the Lindner Center of HOPE and the University of Minnesota found. Binge eating and obesity often are present among bipolar patients, but the mood disorder appears to take a different path in those who binge eat than it does in obese bipolar patients who do not, the researchers discovered. The findings are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video of Dr. Frye is available for download from the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Up to 4 percent of Americans have some form of bipolar illness, and of those, just under 10 percent also have binge eating disorder — a higher rate of binge eating than seen in the general population, says co-author Mark Frye, M.D., a psychiatrist and chair of the Department of Psychiatry/Psychology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) update released this spring recognizes binge eating disorder as a distinct condition, he noted.

Bipolar patients who binge eat are more likely to have other mental health issues such as suicidal thoughts, psychosis, anxiety disorders and substance abuse, the study found. People with bipolar disorder who are obese but do not binge eat are more likely to have serious physical problems such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

It was more common for women than men with bipolar disorder to binge eat or to be obese, the study showed.

"The illness is more complicated, and then by definition how you would conceptualize how best to individualize treatment is more complicated," Dr. Frye says. "It really underscores the importance of trying to stabilize mood, because we know when people are symptomatic of their bipolar illness their binge frequency is likely to increase. We want to work with treatments that can be helpful but not have weight gain as a significant side effect."

The researchers used the Mayo Clinic Bipolar Biobank, a collaborative effort by Mayo Clinic, the Lindner Center of HOPE, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic Health System. More research is planned to see whether there is a genetic link to binge eating disorder in bipolar disease.

"Patients with bipolar disorder and binge eating disorder appear to represent a more severely ill population of bipolar patients. Identification of this subgroup of patients will help determine the underlying causes of bipolar disorder and lead to more effective and personalized treatments," says co-author Susan McElroy, M.D., chief research officer at the Lindner Center of HOPE.

The study was funded by the Marriott family. Co-authors also include Scott Crow, M.D., University of Minnesota Medical School; Nicole Mori of the Lindner Center of HOPE; and Joanna Biernacka, Ph.D., Stacey Winham, Ph.D., Jennifer Geske, Alfredo Cuellar Barboza, M.D., Miguel Prieto, M.D., Mohit Chauhan, M.D., and Lisa Seymour of Mayo Clinic.

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About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit 150years.mayoclinic.org, http://www.mayoclinic.org and newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.


MEDIA CONTACT:
Nick Hanson, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, [email protected]

 

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Oct 26, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Researchers Develop New Tools to Better Treat ADHD Patients

SAN FRANCISCO — October 26, 2012.  Mayo Clinic researchers are presenting new findings on the early treatment of child and adolescent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder this week at the American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting in San Francisco. They include a method to get better input from parents and teachers of children who are being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time — allowing for more effective treatment upon the first consultation. Researchers also showed how a tool can help clinicians better diagnose and treat children who have both ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder.

group of kids with backpacks

Journalists: For video and audio of the researcher talking about the study, visit Mayo Clinic News Network.

In the first study, Mayo Clinic researchers required parents and teachers of children coming in for their first ADHD consultation, defined by some combination of problems such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, consultations to complete extensive background forms and analysis. By offering incentives and stressing the importance of being prepared for the first consultation, clinicians were able to boost parent and teacher compliance from 25 to 90 percent at the Mayo Clinic Child and Adolescent ADHD Clinic. As a result, researchers have been able to better recommend treatment and therapy right off the bat.

"I'd compare treating a child with ADHD for the first time to consulting with someone who has type II diabetes — we need to measure a diabetic patient's blood sugar level before we can properly treat them," says study lead author Jyoti Bhagia, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist. "The same goes for ADHD. The more we know about children in the early stages of treatment, the more quickly we can get them the help they need."

In the second study, Mayo Clinic researchers gave 75 patients with ADHD at the Mayo Clinic Child and Adolescent ADHD Clinic a written, subjective evaluation to test for oppositional defiance disorder, a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior toward authority figures.

They found that the test was far better able to pick up whether the child had the disorder than an anecdotal physician diagnosis. Of the 75 patients in the study, 27 percent, or less than a third, were diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder by their providers. After taking the subjective test, 48 percent tested positive for oppositional defiance disorder. That shows the presence of oppositional defiance disorder with ADHD is underdiagnosed and children may not be receiving the behavioral treatment they need.

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Oct 25, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Gene That's Usually Bad News Loses Punch If You Live to Your 90s

ROCHESTER, Minn. — October 25, 2012.  A gene linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer's, heart disease and diabetes becomes less important to quality of life once people hit their 90s, a Mayo Clinic study shows. At that point, good friends and a positive attitude have a bigger impact, the researchers say. The findings are published this month in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association. DNA gene

Journalists: For multimedia resources and membership, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Researchers used the National Institutes of Health-supported Rochester Epidemiology Project, a database of patient records in Olmsted County, Minn., to find people ages 90 to 99 living on their own or in long-term care. The 121 participants completed an interview, a physical exam and a quality-of-life questionnaire. Participants were divided into groups based on their cognitive function, to sort out the effects of age and disease on well-being, and blood samples were taken for genotyping. Researchers discovered that those who carried the gene in question, known as ApoE4, were no worse off than others in the study. "We found if people had good physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being, more social connectedness, and if they perceived themselves to have better coping skills, they felt they had better quality of life," says co-author Maria Lapid, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist. "The study shows that the ApoE4 genotype doesn't determine what your quality of life will be, and that, regardless of your gender, environmental factors play a significant role in your physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being," she says. "You can have good quality of life regardless of this gene." The median age of those studied was 93; 87 percent were women. Those reporting poorer quality of life tended to be men, for reasons that are unclear, and people who experienced pain. The Alzheimer's Association, National Institute on Aging, and Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Program of the Mayo Foundation funded the study.

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About Mayo Clinic:

Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit 150years.mayoclinic.orghttp://www.mayoclinic.org and newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.


Media Contact: Nick Hanson, 507-284-5005 (days), [email protected]

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Oct 16, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Eating Lots of Carbs, Sugar May Raise Risk of Cognitive Impairment, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

ROCHESTER, Minn. — October 16, 2012.  People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found. The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

illustration of brain

MULTIMEDIA ALERT:: For audio and video of Dr. Roberts talking about the study, visit Mayo Clinic News Network.

The research highlights the importance of a well-rounded diet, says lead author Rosebud Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist.

"We think it's important that you eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, because each of these nutrients has an important role in the body," Dr. Roberts says.

Researchers tracked 1,230 people ages 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year. At that time, their cognitive function was evaluated by an expert panel of physicians, nurses and neuropsychologists. Of those participants, only the roughly 940 who showed no signs of cognitive impairment were asked to return for follow-up evaluations of their cognitive function. About four years into the study, 200 of those 940 were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

Those who reported the highest carbohydrate intake at the beginning of the study were 1.9 times likelier to develop mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest intake of carbohydrates. Participants with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times likelier to experience mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest levels.

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Oct 8, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Researchers Stop Neuromyelitis Optica Attacks with New Therapy

ROCHESTER, Minn. — October 8, 2012.  Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a new therapy for patients with neuromyelitis optica that appears to stop inflammation of the eye nerves and spinal cord. NMO is a debilitating central nervous system disorder that is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis (MS). In the study, patients with severe symptoms of the disease, also known as NMO, were given eculizumab, a drug typically used to treat blood disorders.

close-up of eye

While not a cure, the therapy Mayo Clinic researchers used in the study to halt attacks could potentially lead to longer attack-free periods for the thousands of NMO patients worldwide. The research is being presented Oct. 9 at the American Neurological Association Annual Meeting in Boston.

NMO manifests itself in attacks that can cause blindness in one or both eyes, weakness or paralysis in the legs or arms, painful spasms, loss of sensation, and bladder or bowel dysfunction from spinal cord damage. Attacks may be reversible, but can be severe enough to cause permanent visual loss and problems with walking. NMO can affect children as young as 2 and adults as old as 90. It is more prevalent in females than males, but affects all racial and ethnic groups. Immunosuppressants are the first line of treatment for NMO.

Mayo Clinic researchers have been international leaders in NMO diagnosis and treatment. In 2004, Mayo Clinic researchers discovered the antibody NMO-IgG — the first serum biomarker for any form of inflammatory demyelinating brain disease. A year later, they identified the target of the antibody as the water channel aquaporin 4. These discoveries helped physicians better understand the cause and potential treatments for NMO.

Mayo researchers studied 14 NMO patients with active and severe disease symptoms, defined as two attacks in the previous six months, or three within the past year. When the NMO-IgG antibody binds to its target on brain cells, it activates complement, a substance that can kill or injure these brain cells. Patients
were treated with eculizumab, an antibody that stops complement from being activated. All 14 study participants received the treatment intravenously every two weeks for one year.

"Disability in NMO is attack related and these attacks are usually severe. If untreated, they can have devastating, irreversible effects on function," says lead author Sean Pittock, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist. "If we can stop the attacks in NMO — and it appears we can — then we can hopefully prevent disability and allow patients to maintain function and a good quality of life.

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Oct 3, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Clinic Debuts Anxiety Coach App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

ROCHESTER, Minn. — October 3, 2012.  Mayo Clinic is releasing an app this week for Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch called Anxiety Coach, a self-help tool that assists people in reducing a variety of fears and worries ranging from extreme shyness to obsessions and compulsions. Unlike other self-help apps, Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach helps people conquer their fears by guiding them through a series of confidence-building exercises while simultaneously tracking anxiety levels in real time and gauging their progress.

man using smart phone

Journalists: For multimedia resources including audio, video and b-roll of the app, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

The app is designed for people with any level of anxiety. It can help someone overcome a common fear such as public speaking, or guide someone who has more severe symptoms in tracking and fighting anxiety between sessions with their health care provider.

The strategies used in Anxiety Coach are based on cognitive behavioral therapy, the most effective psychotherapy for fears and worries. In cognitive behavioral therapy, people increase their confidence by gradually confronting situations that they have avoided out of fear. Research has demonstrated that cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective for anxiety than other approaches that rely on teaching people to relax.

Anxiety Coach was developed by two clinical psychologists who are recognized as experts in the treatment of anxiety disorders — Stephen Whiteside, Ph.D., director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Program at Mayo Clinic, and Jonathan Abramowitz, Ph.D., an adult anxiety disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina.
"The app is based on a long history of clinical research of what is helpful in conquering anxiety," Dr. Whiteside says. "It really challenges people to face their fears, as opposed to other apps that focus on relaxation strategy but don't get to the core of what is helpful in the long term."

Features of the Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach:

  • Short self-test to measure the severity of fears and worries
  • Ability to design a personal plan to target individual fears and worries
  • Library of more than 500 activities that people have found to help master a variety of fears and worries including social anxiety, obsessions and compulsions, specific fears, separation anxiety, panic attacks, trauma-related anxiety, and general worries
  • Track anxiety while challenging fears and worries in real-life situations
  • Record and view progress
  • Tools to learn about when anxiety becomes a problem and how to seek treatment

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Oct 1, 2012 by @nickhanson · View  

Mayo Expert Offers Marathon Tips to Stay Healthy Before the Big Race

ROCHESTER, Minn. — October 1, 2012.  No matter how long or diligently runners train before a marathon, they invariably cross the finish line with some mark of the endurance test they've just experienced. To help alleviate injuries and stay healthy on race day, Ed Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, offers runners prerace tips for a rewarding marathon experience.

two women running a marathon

Dehydration, sprains and "hitting the wall" are among some of the most common race-day problems However, some pain prior to race day doesn't mean runners need to stay at home.

"Soreness of muscles and tissues as you progress through higher levels of training and increasing mileage is normal. If the soreness resolves as you continue to run and doesn't interfere with your running mechanics, you likely can continue," says Dr. Laskowski. But sometimes runners should have an injury professionally evaluated before continuing. "Pain associated with joint swelling or that causes the joint to feel unstable should be checked. You should also seek an evaluation for pain that persists or intensifies after rest from running or pain that causes you to compensate, change your running, or change your gait."

Hydration and energy-boosting carbohydrates during the race also contribute to a healthy race with low risk of injury, Dr. Laskowski says. He advises that if you eat and drink sufficiently in the 8–12 hours prior to a long run, then you should be close to being well hydrated. On race day, water and milk, fruit juice and sports drinks can be consumed up to an hour prior to your run. During the run, sports drinks are a good source of energy, and the sodium they contain may help stimulate thirst and replace electrolytes lost through sweat. After the run, when you are in recovery mode, veggie juice, chocolate milk, smoothies and fruit juice are good choices for hydration.

Dr. Laskowski offers the following tips for marathon runners just prior to the big race:

  • The day before the marathon, consume extra calories, especially high-carbohydrate foods such as bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and/or potatoes.
  • To enable fluid absorption, start drinking fluids at least four hours before exercise.
  • Most marathoners find they perform better if they consume carbohydrates during the race. Sports drinks, bars and gels are good options.
  • To avoid runners' diarrhea, at least one day before running, limit or avoid sweeteners called sugar alcohols — most often found in sugar-free candies, gum and ice cream. For three to six hours before running, limit or avoid caffeine and high-fat foods.
  • After-marathon food should include protein, preferably peanut butter or string cheese, which you should eat within two hours after stepping off the course.

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