Activity by danasparks


17 hours ago by danasparks · View  

Something to Think About ~ Soften Your Biases and Invite Values

children with positive energy playing and having fun blowing bubbles

"Wherever you are right now, consider yourself a source of energy. What is the nature of the energy you are giving out, right at this moment? Are you mostly lost in thought and not giving much? Are you processing irritation, anger, and hurt? Or are you making an active effort to radiate loving energy, with kind and well-meaning thoughts, words, and actions? The energy you emanate starts a chain reaction. You get to choose the kind of reaction you start." -Dr. Amit Sood

Dr. Amit Sood, is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic. You can read previous blogposts by Dr. Sood and follow him on Twitter @AmitSoodMD.

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2 days ago by danasparks · View  

#ThrowbackThursday 1965: Installing Monitor System in St. Marys Unit

1965 patient monitors being installed at St. MarysThis article first appeared June 1965 in the publication Mayovox

Medical Intensive Care Unit at St. Marys, which opened last December, is designed to care for the critically ill medical patient. Since it was expected that a good many of the patients admitted to the unit would be suffering from some type of heart ailment it was decided to install in three rooms (six beds) monitoring equipment which would instantly inform medical personnel at the nursing station or at the patient’s bedside of development of cardiac emergency.

The Clinic assumed responsibility for providing the monitoring system. While some of the equipment in the assembly is commercially available, other parts were made or modified in the Clinic’s Engineering Section and the system was installed by Clinic engineers.

The top photographs show the central monitor at the nurses’ station (left) and the installation in one of the three rooms where control panels are located between the two beds.

By means of small electrodes placed on the patient’s chest the ECG (electrical activity of the heart) can be observed both on the small round screen in the bedside unit and on the large 17” screen in the central monitor which will carry simultaneously ECG recordings from six patients.

The heart rate can be read on meters in both the central and bedside monitors. Increase or decrease of the rate beyond a pre-determined level will sound an alarm at the nurses’ station.

Provision is also made for a pacemaker to give electrical stimulation to the heart. This stimulation can be instituted automatically if the heart rate slows below a pre-determined level or stops. A defibrillator (to stop certain dangerous irregularities in heart action), can be operated at the bedside or can by synchronized with the ECG so that a particular wave pattern will trigger its operation.

ECGs on six patients can be recorded continuously on magnetic tape (lower photograph). This tape is erased except when an acute situation occurs which causes the alarm to sound. The recorder then automatically replays the previous minute of ECG so that the tracing made just prior to and during the acute episode is available.

Installation of the control monitor in its entirety was completed in recent weeks. Bedside monitors in two rooms were available when the unit was opened.

Two surveys (one of the first four weeks of operation of the unit, the second of the following twelve weeks) showed that 41 patients were “on monitor” during these sixteen weeks. During the twelve week period the diagnosis on admission in 83 of 144 patients was some type of heart ailment.

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Sat, Feb 6 at 5:00am EST by danasparks · View  

Something to Think About ~ A Different World

model clay globe resting in person's hand

"You have a choice—to look at the people in the world with suspicion or kindness. If you let your ancestral predisposition stay with you all the time, you’ll look at the world with suspicion. Instead, when you feel safe, choose to look at others with kindness. The more you look at others with kindness, the more kindness you will find. Once you change how you look at your world, you’ll change your world." -Dr. Amit Sood

Dr. Amit Sood, is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic. You can read previous blogposts by Dr. Sood and follow him on Twitter @AmitSoodMD.

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Fri, Feb 5 at 4:58pm EST by danasparks · View  

American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day

Mayo physicians wearing read for GoRed Day

Today, Friday, Feb. 5, is the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day, which is meant to increase awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, even though it is 80 percent preventable. According to Mayo Clinic, many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. In addition, knowing heart disease symptoms and when to seek emergency medical care can save lives, which is something everyone can advocate. ‪#‎GoRed‬

Find more fun photos, from today's events, on Flickr:



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Fri, Feb 5 at 11:30am EST by danasparks · View  

'Super Healthy' Meatloaf and Other Recipes for This Weekend

football party snacks and food

Click for more healthy recipes.


Perhaps you've heard the phrase, "stuffing 10 pounds into a 5-pound bag?" What about making a 4-pound meatloaf with only 1 pound of beef? Here's © Chef Richard's super healthy 4-pound "meatloaf" just in time for Super Bowl weekend. Bake at 325 F for about an hour. The internal temperature as checked with a meat thermometer should be 165 degrees. Enjoy!  [TRT 1:05]

Journalists: Broadcast quality video is available in the downloads. 


1 pound ground beef, 95% lean meat 
6 stalks of celery
1 pound carrots
½ pound sweet, raw onions
¾ pound eggplant
3 cups chickpeas or garbanzo beans

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½  cups  medium grain brown rice, cooked
1  egg                              

½  cup sun-dried tomatoes
4  garlic cloves
1  tablespoon parsley
1  tablespoon fresh rosemary
1  tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1  teaspoon black pepper


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Thu, Feb 4 at 6:53pm EST by danasparks · View  

#ThrowbackThursday 1965: Ten Years Since First Open Heart Operation

1965 open heart surgery at Mayo Clinic

This article first appeared March 26, 1965 in the publication Mayovox.

Development of Heart-Lung Bypass Made It Possible

Ten years ago, on March 22, 1955, Dr. John Kirkin, working at Methodist Hospital, operated on a five year old girl who had a ventricular septal defect — a hole in the wall separating the two chambers of the heart which pump the blood into the circulatory system.

After incision and some preliminary operative steps, the patient (as stated in the description of the operation dictated by the surgeon) “went on extracorporeal circulation through a mechanical heart-lung machine. The right ventricle was opened. There was an obvious ventricular septal defect measuring perhaps 1.2 x .6 cm… It was closed with five interrupted silk sutures…”

There is no clue in this precise description that this operation marked a notable point in time: first use by Clinic surgeons of a heart-lung bypass machine which made possible open heart surgery.

In August, 1952 (according to minutes of the Sciences Committee) Drs. Kirklin and E. H. Wood presented to the committee “a proposal that they had under consideration for some time calling for the production and experimental use of a mechanical heart for certain types of cardiac surgery.”

The Clinic’s Section of Engineering undertook development of a bypass apparatus which incorporated features of one which Dr. J. H. Gibbon of Philadelphia, with the assistance of IBM, had developed.

The Clinic’s machine was ready for testing in 1954. Prior to, and following, this time, Clinic surgeons, physiologists and other laboratory consultants, internists, pediatricians, anesthesiologists and their technical assistants had carried out research, collected and studied data, developed technics and perfected each detail of the procedure for ultimate clinical application.

The principle of the apparatus is indicated in the key word, “bypass.” Blood from the vessels which supply the heart and lungs is diverted into the machine where oxygen is replenished, carbon dioxide is removed and the blood is pumped back into the patient’s body. For the period necessary for the operative procedure the heart is kept free of blood. The machine performs the function of both heart (to pump the blood) and lungs (to supply oxygen).

The impressive progress in heart surgery which has occurred since 1955 rests chiefly on development and application of the bypass machine. Once it became possible for surgeons to open the heart and work directly in a visible and blood-free field they rapidly developed technics which allowed them to correct many different types of heart defects.

In September, 1955 use of the Clinic’s heart-lung bypass machine was demonstrated on a nationally televised “Medical Horizons” program which originated in Methodist Hospital surgery.

In 1957 heart surgery was transferred from Methodist Hospital to St. Marys and an intensive care unit was instituted there for postoperative care of heart patients. A cardiovascular catheterization and angiography laboratory was also developed at St. Marys to provide improved facilities for diagnosis.

Last week (on March 27) operations in which a heart-lung bypass machine was used totaled 3,897. Patients have ranged in age from under one year to well over 70. In the beginning most patients were children and operative procedures in the main were directed toward correction of defects present at birth. New developments (such as replacement of a defective heart valve with an artificial valve) have broadened the field and now the number of adults undergoing heart surgery is about equal to the number of child patients.

One of the conditions for which operation is most commonly performed here is tetralogy of Fallot, the commonly called “blue baby” syndrome.

Heart defects caused by calcification and heart disease resulting rheumatic fever are also conditions in which operation is frequently performed.

Dr. F. H. Ellis, Jr. (who assisted at the first heart operation) and Dr. Kirklin have been joined by two more surgeons in performance of heart surgery: Dr. D. C. McGoon and Dr. R. B. Wallace. With present facilities (four heart-lung bypass machines now available) it is possible to schedule as many as seventeen open heart operations in a week. Despite this there has been a continuous back-log of patients awaiting operation.

Increased demand on internists in caring for such patients is reflected in the organization of a third medical section with a primary interest in cardiology and in the addition of three pediatric cardiologists, Drs. W. H. Weidman, P. A. Ongley and D. G. Ritter to join Dr. J. W. DuShane in this specialty. Research in collaboration with laboratory associates continues with the objective to improve present methods and develop new technics which may make possible aid to patients whose heart conditions are not now considered to be operable.

An earlier Mayovox story (September 10, 1955) listed the persons who contributed to the first open heart operation here. On this tenth anniversary we repeat their names:

Drs. Kirklin and Ellis;

Mr. R. E. Jones and his associates in Engineering;

Drs. David Donald, E. H. Wood, H. J. C. Swan, Pater Hetzel, J. H. Gindllay, H. F. Helmholz, Jr., Physiology and Surgical Research;

Dr. DuShane, pediatric cardiologist; Dr. H. B. Burchell, cardiology supervisor; Dr. R. T. Patrick, anesthesiologist; Dr. H. G. Harshbarger surgical assistant to Dr. Kirklin; Drs. T. B. Magath and D. M. Mathieson, Clinical Pathology; Mr. R. C. Roesler, then administrator of Medical Sciences;

James Fellows, technician who assisted in operation of the bypass; Lucille Cronin, Betty Hennessey, Owen Ellingson, Fred Williams, Physiology technicians;

At Methodist Hospital, Delores Miller and Shirley Reusser, surgical nurses; Elizabeth Goodwyne, surgical supervisor; Mr. H. C. Mickey, Methodist Hospital administrator.

What of the five year old girl, the first patient to undergo open heart surgery here?

In medical parlance (which leaves a human story untold) she is “alive and well.”

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Wed, Feb 3 at 3:54pm EST by danasparks · View  

In the Loop: Pigs’ Feet and Power Tools Help Open Door to Careers in Orthopedics, Engineering

medical students in laboratory studying orthopedics and engineering
When it comes time for students to choose a career path, orthopedic surgery and engineering are not at the top of the list for most female students. “It’s traditionally been thought of as an old boys’ club,” says Mayo Clinic's Ian Mwangi. “There’s a stereotype that orthopedic surgeons are jocks, that the field requires brute strength.” And those stereotypes contribute to a “huge gap in the number of women pursuing orthopedic and engineering careers.” How large a gap? Consider this: While about half of medical school students are women, just 7 percent of orthopedic surgeons are.

This article appears In the Loop

The Perry Institute, however, is trying to change that. According its website, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to “inspiring young women to be leaders in the exciting fields of Orthopaedic Surgery and Engineering.” One way it's accomplishing that goal is by partnering with organizations around the country to provide hands-on educational programs for high school and medical students. Mwangi, a program manager for the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, helped bring the program to Mayo Clinic.

“The Perry Institute does a great job of breaking down barriers for students,” Mwangi says. On Jan. 8 and 9, more than 60 medical and high school students gathered for a mix of lectures from Mayo staff, hands-on modules, and Q&A sessions with women working in the fields. They used power tools and manufactured “bones” to simulate orthopedic operations. “It was like part woodshop, part surgical suite,” Mwangi says. “The students loved it.”

The high school students got to practice casting (on each other) and suturing (that’s where the pigs’ feet came in). Those experiences were highlights for Lyric Lopez, a sophomore at John Marshall High School in Rochester, who has had her sights set on a medical career for as long as she can remember. “I’ve had a passion for helping people since I was little,” she tells us, adding “blood and guts don’t bother me.” (Ditto pigs’ feet.) The program made her “really interested” in orthopedics and engineering, specialties she hadn’t thought much about up to that point. “It was amazing, definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had,” she says.

Mwangi says that’s good news for Lyric — and also for the patients she may care for one day. “Diversity brings new ideas and new perspectives, and helps reduce health disparities,” he says. “At Mayo, we’re committed to creating a diverse workforce. Programs like this help plant seeds in students who may eventually come to Mayo for training and perhaps stay on as staff.”

Read more In the Loop stories.

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Wed, Feb 3 at 2:26pm EST by danasparks · View  

Could Eating Fish Help in the Alzheimer’s Fight?

Mediterranean-style grilled salmon
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and including fish in our diet for heart health are well documented, but now an observational study published this week by The Journal of the American Medical Association states that eating fish at least once a week could help in the battle against Alzheimer's disease.

Despite concerns regarding mercury in seafood, Martha Clare Morris, lead author of the study at Rush University Medical Center, told CNN, "The findings were very striking. Our hypothesis was that seafood consumption would be associated with less neuropathology, but that if there were higher levels of mercury in the brain, that would work against that. But we didn't find that at all."

Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Dr. Ronald Petersen says, "This study adds to our contention that 'What is good for the heart is good for the brain' but we need to be cautious in generalizing results from observational studies and we still need to be concerned about exposure to excessive mercury." Dr. Petersen adds, "Nevertheless, these data are encouraging in support of the position that lifestyle factors are important in aging."

More informational links:

Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart
Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid
Mayo Clinic Minute: Can Brain Games Help Alzheimer's Disease Patients?
Mayo Clinic Minute: Caring for Those With Alzheimer's Disease

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Mon, Feb 1 at 1:14pm EST by danasparks · View  

In the Loop: It Would Be Un-Minnesotan (and Un-Mayo) Not to Join This Cause

Welcome to Minnesota road sign

If you're reading this, you're probably Minnesotan. Or know a Minnesotan. Or at least know where Minnesota is on a map. Or, maybe you’re not from around here and just have a vague notion that Mayo Clinic has its roots in the North Star State. (It's OK, we Minnesotans have thick, if frost-bitten, skin.) The Land of 10,000 Lakes may be a bit frigid this time of year, but we'll go well out of our way (and uphill both ways) to show we're not cold-hearted.

This article appears In the Loop

We could go on about the kind of folks Minnesotans are, but there's a full-page ad in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that does it better. The ad, signed by John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic's president and CEO, and many other business and civic leaders from throughout the state, is all about Minnesota values, tolerance and understanding, and supporting diversity to create a vibrant community. You might say it's about being Minnesotan.

The ad notes that "Up North," we're perhaps a "soft-spoken" bunch, but we're not inclined to "be silent or still in the face of bigotry." And despite the fact that we may be fond of "snow days," our values don't take days off.

You can read the full text of the ad below:

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Minnesotan
Pop, “Up North” and snow days
all mean something to you.
So do the values we’re raised with:
everyday, sleeve-worn courage, goodness and kindness.
Though we may be a soft-spoken bunch,
we know better than to be silent or still in the face of
bigotry shown to Muslims. Our fellow Minnesotans.
Every intolerant social post,
every prejudiced comment aimed at Muslims
needs a response. Your response.
We must lead people to a place of
tolerance and understanding.
We must come together as
a diverse and vibrant community.
Our values don’t take days off and neither should we.
If you’re Minnesotan, you know this to be true.
We know better. We can’t be tricked into betraying our values.
It’d be so very, very un-Minnesotan of us.

"I was pleased to join other Minnesota civic and industry leaders in this important statement about the values we stand for here in Minnesota," says Dr. Noseworthy. "Mayo Clinic, from its very beginnings, has been a strong voice for tolerance, understanding and inclusion, both in our work with patients and in the community. We want every Minnesotan, as well as those who visit us, to know that they are welcome here and have our support."

Sharonne Hayes, M.D., director of Mayo's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, enthusiastically supports the effort. "Dr. Noseworthy’s message is a great affirmation of Mayo Clinic’s values, which really are the shared values of all of Minnesota: respect, compassion, integrity, healing, teamwork," she says. "It is wonderful to see these crystalized by the CEO of Mayo Clinic and leaders from around Minnesota – people who have tremendous power to set an example for employees, colleagues, neighbors, friends and family."

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Fri, Jan 29 at 9:59pm EST by danasparks · View  

Something to Think About ~ Working with Old Memories

person with old photographs and memories

"While occasionally harboring the hurts and thinking about them might help, more commonly, such thoughts injure us and multiply our misery. This is because when we remember a hurt, we reexperience it. And when we reexperience it, we strengthen it further." - Dr. Amit Sood

Dr. Amit Sood, is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic. You can follow Dr. Sood on Twitter @AmitSoodMD and read previous blogposts.

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Fri, Jan 29 at 4:13pm EST by danasparks · View  

WHO Convening Zika Virus Emergency Committee

mosquito on hairy human arm biting skin
The World Health Organization is convening an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee Monday, Feb. 1, in response to Zika virus outbreaks in parts of Latin and South America.  In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a level 2 travel alert, which
states that people at high risk, such as pregnant women, may want to consider delaying travel. The danger is that the virus can cause a birth defect called microcephaly in unborn babies which results in long-term disabilities.

Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "Most people who get infected with the virus have no symptoms, and those who do often have mild symptoms that go away within a week. The reason we are concerned about Zika virus is that there is a risk to pregnant women, specifically to their unborn child developing birth defects if the woman is infected, especially later on in pregnancy."

Dr. Pritish Tosh discusses Zika virus in the video below, which includes Spanish subtitles.


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

Dr. Tosh says it's important to know that in order to become infected, you must be bitten by a mosquito carrying Zika virus. It cannot be transmitted person-to-person.

There is no treatment or cure for Zika virus, so the best way to prevent it is to avoid mosquito bites by using some of these tips:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Avoid areas where there are many mosquitos
  • If you are in an endemic area, use a mosquito net at night

See earlier news about the Zika virus in this Mayo Clinic Minute.

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Fri, Jan 29 at 12:32pm EST by danasparks · View  

Bone Marrow Failure and Bone Marrow Transplantation Webinar

normal, healthy bone marrow depicting erythroid and myeloid cells
Mayo Clinic hosted an interactive webinar on bone marrow failure and bone marrow transplantation, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Dr. Shakila Khan, chair of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program; Dr. Vilmarie Rodriguez, associate director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program; and Dr. Mrinal Patnaik, assistant professor of Medicine and Oncology, discussed bone marrow failure symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, including bone marrow transplantation. A live question and answer session followed the presentation.

You can watch: Archived webinar recording.

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online community where you can share your experiences and find support from people like you. You'll also receive trustworthy information from Mayo Clinic experts.

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Thu, Jan 28 at 1:00pm EST by danasparks · View  

#ThrowbackThursday 1981: Paint shop touches all of Clinic

painted Plumber building marble 1981

The finishing touch is usually the last part of a job and a time to celebrate the completion of a project. But for the Clinic’s Paint Shop, a finishing touch is business as usual.

Everything from furniture to parking lot signs comes under the painter’s skilled brushes and spray guns. “Anything other departments want finished or refinished ends up here,” Dennis Sandvik, the shop’s supervisor, said.

painted Plumber building marble 1981

Is it really marble? No. It's a panel painted, or marbleized by Andy Andrist of the paint shop to match the marble of the old reception counter in the Plummer Building.

The paint shop is located on the fifth floor of the Franklin Heating Station. In addition to a large, bright work room, the shop has two ventilated spray booths, a drying room and a storage area. One of the two booths is located on the building’s fourth floor. The shop is kept neat and spotless.

“This is one of the last areas in the Clinic not to be air conditioned,” Sandvik said, explaining that ventilation of the spray booth requires free air circulation.

A great deal of the shop’s work involves finishing equipment either built or modified by the Section of Engineering. Some glass cutting is also done in the shop for windows, doors and frames.

Sandvik pointed out several control panel covers, white paint still wet, bound for the new surgical suites in the Mary Brigh Building at Saint Marys Hospital. The Section of Engineering built the panels which were sent to the shop for painting.

The three painters in the shop include Carl Odman, Andy Andrist and David Kirkeeng. The three men have a combined service record of 32 years in the shop.

One area that poses the most challenge to the shop is the selection of specialty finishes for equipment. Sandvik said one special device used in x-ray had to be coated with lead foil and covered with Teflon after regular lead point would not shield the radiation.

Equipment used in laboratories and exposed to various chemical agents requires special finishes. “It’s a challenge for us to determine what the best finish is,” he said.

The shop also coats surgical instruments with varnish for insulation.

Two of the shop’s painters are assigned to go out into the Clinic campus to do touch-up and maintenance work. Large painting jobs are handled by contractors. Sandvik also supervises the contract painters working at the Clinic.

One painter in the shop, Andrist, has developed a special skill for finishing wood to look like marble. Wood panels in several Clinic buildings have been marbleized by Andrist’s skilled brush. The resulting finish is hard to distinguish from the original marble.

Another major job for the shop is updating and repairing signs throughout the Clinic. Any changes in information or prices shown on the painted signs are made by painters in the shop. A stencil cutter is used to make stencils for marking Clinic property.

The shop is busy all the time with various projects. “There is so much of everything to do. It makes the days go by fast,” Kirkeeng said. The shop uses about 300 gallons of paint and finishes annually, Sandvik estimates.

This article first appeared June 1981 in the publication Mayovox.

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Thu, Jan 28 at 12:30pm EST by danasparks · View  

Healthy Skin, Even During Winter Weather

man outside in winter coat and snow, rubbing hands to keep warm, cold, dry skin
Self-Care Steps for Healthy Skin, Even During Winter Weather  Dr. Dawn Davis, Dermatology

Two big factors affect your skin during the winter: colder temperatures and a lack of moisture in the air. Both can damage unprotected skin. By following a few simple self-care steps, though, you can help ensure healthy skin, even during the toughest winter weather.

The weather changes that come with winter can have a huge effect on skin. First, the level of moisture in the air, or humidity, drops sharply in winter. The water that skin makes naturally to protect and seal itself is more quickly and easily lost into the air. That process causes skin to become drier and more cracked than normal, making it painful, itchy and prone to infection.

Second, when winter comes and the humidity drops, the temperature drops as well. Skin that is exposed to low temperatures becomes vulnerable to conditions like frostbite and pernio, a painful inflammation of small blood vessels in skin that happens in response to sudden warming from cold temperatures. Frostbite and pernio can be serious conditions, often affecting parts of the body — such as ears, chin, lips, fingertips, toes and the tip of the nose — that are located far from core body heat.

Other skin problems that can result from winter weather include an increase in dandruff and flare-ups of dermatitis, an inflammation that can lead to swollen, red, itchy skin. In addition, the risk of sunburn is high during the winter because ultraviolet light from the sun is intensified when it reflects off snow, making exposed skin extremely vulnerable to sun damage.

There is much you can do to lower your risk of having these skin problems in the winter. First, cover up. Hats, mittens and scarves aren't just for kids. Using them to protect your skin from the cold can help keep skin healthy. If your clothing gets wet when you're outdoors, change as soon as possible because damp clothing against your skin can cause it to soften and break down.

Second, get into the habit of moisturizing your skin every day. Look for a hypoallergenic lotion. Avoid moisturizers that have strong perfumes, abrasives or glitter. If a moisturizer seems to irritate your skin, stop using it right away and switch to another brand or formula.

Third, when outdoors, wear sunscreen, especially if you're involved in a snowy activity such as skiing, sledding or snowshoeing. If you're concerned about a lack of vitamin D — which you can get naturally from the sun's ultraviolet light — talk to your doctor about ways to include vitamin D in your diet or through a supplement.

If dandruff is a problem, over-the-counter shampoos can be helpful. Buy more than one brand and switch from time to time. Alternating the brands is important because after a while dandruff becomes immune to one medication. If you occasionally use a different brand, the medication in the shampoo will be more effective. When you apply dandruff shampoo, don't just put it on your hair. Gently rub the shampoo directly on your scalp and leave it there for five to 10 minutes, so the medication has a chance to work.

Finally, using a humidifier in your home during the winter can help add moisture to the air, easing dry skin problems. Just remember to change the filters and water according to the directions, because humidifiers that aren't cleaned properly can lead to infection and other illnesses.

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Wed, Jan 27 at 3:30pm EST by danasparks · View  

In the Loop: Friends, Colleagues Honor Physician With Final Run

David Eitrheim running team
Last year, we checked in with David Eitrheim, M.D., after he had finished his 90th marathon — miles he ran while living with a terminal cancer diagnosis. We were saddened to learn that Dr. Eitrheim recently “completed the race of his life,” on Jan. 1. “Finishing time,” according to his lovingly written obituary, “was 58 years, eight months, nine days.”

Dr. Eitrheim packed a lot of miles — and a lot of life — into those years. The longtime physician at Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Cedar, in Menomonie, Wisconsin, logged more than 40,000 miles and completed 91 marathons. Of those, 36 were ultramarathons, including more than a dozen 100-milers. Running was so important to him that when asked by his palliative care physician, former colleague and friend Jim Deming, M.D., “What would give you a really great day?” Dr. Eitrheim’s answer was “I would love to run another marathon.” And so in spite of his illness and the effects of treatment, he did just that — and more. In November 2014, he laced up his shoes and ran the Rails to Trails marathon along the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, followed by an ultramarathon in Arizona.

To honor Dr. Eitrheim and his passion for running, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports that a group of his friends took him — “or at least a pair of his running shoes” — on a final symbolic run on the day of his memorial service. The group of 18 split in two, each taking a shoe and eventually meeting up “at Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie, where (Dr.) Eitrheim — and his shoes — would be laid to rest.” Terry Sullivan, a friend and running buddy, told the paper, “I think it was something Dave could appreciate.” Dr. Eitrheim’s wife, Amy, “met the runners and walkers at the cemetery, where she ‘was giving everyone high-fives when we finished,’” Sullivan told the paper. Read the rest of David's story.

Read more In the Loop stories.

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Mon, Jan 25 at 12:57pm EST by danasparks · View  

Safe Snow Shoveling Tips

person in waist deep snow shoveling
Shoveling snow can be good exercise when performed correctly. But taking on more than your body can handle or ignoring signs that you need to take a break may prove to be harmful.

Health care providers at Mayo Clinic Health System want to ensure your safety as you clear driveways and sidewalks, so here are some tips for safe snow shoveling:

  • Be heart conscious. If you have a history of heart problems and are currently inactive, it’s best to speak with your health care provider before shoveling. Additionally, don’t shovel while smoking, eating or after consuming caffeine; this may place extra stress on your heart.
  • Dress Warm. Wear several layers of clothing. You can always remove a layer if needed.
  • Drink plenty of water. Remaining hydrated during cold-weather months is just as important as during warm-weather months.
  • Warm up your arms and legs. Stretch your arms and legs before beginning to shovel. You are less likely to injure muscles when they are warm.
  • Take it slow. Pace yourself and take breaks if you need to. Safety is more important than speed.
  • Protect your back. Bend at the knees, not the back. Lift with your legs bent, stand with your feet hip-width apart for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Also, don’t pick up too much snow at once; use a small shovel or fill up a large shovel no more than half way.
  • Shovel while snow is fresh. Freshly fallen snow is lighter than snow that has started melting.
  • Listen to your body. This is the most important snow shoveling tip. If something feels abnormal, or if you’re tired, it’s time to stop.

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

# # #

Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.

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Fri, Jan 22 at 8:00pm EST by danasparks · View  

Something to Think About ~ Laughter Provides a Good Physical Workout

young people taking a selfie picture, laughing and smiling
"Research shows laughter provides a good physical workout, generates mental relaxation, lowers blood pressure and pain, and even improves immunity. You’re 30 times more likely to laugh in good company than alone. Further, the more you laugh with others rather than at someone, the greater the health benefit." - Dr. Amit Sood

Dr. Amit Sood, is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic. You can follow Dr. Sood on Twitter @AmitSoodMD

Read previous blogposts:

Immerse Week 3 – Laughter
Immerse Week 3 – Softening Judgments
Immerse Week 2 – Selflessness
Immerse Week 2 – Relationships
Immerse Week 1 – Self Belief
Immerse Week 1 – My Singing

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Thu, Jan 21 at 6:00pm EST by danasparks · View  

#ThrowbackThursday: Glassware Preparation Service Set Up in 1953

1953 Mayo Clinic glassware laboratory

A new Clinic unit, the Laboratory Glassware Preparation Service, has recently been organized. It is headed by Ray Brown, formerly of the Stock Room.

“New” applies particularly to one function of the service—centralized ordering and storage of all glassware for laboratories of the Sections of Clinical Pathology, Biochemistry and Bacteriology. Glassware preparation for these laboratories is carried on much the same as in the past, with some specialization.

Glassware for the laboratories supplied by the new service is stored in the catacombed subway area that extends form the Stockroom to First Avenue. Here Ray attempts to keep on hand six months’ or a year’s supply of tubes, graduates, pipets, beakers, flasks, petri dishes and all the many other types of glassware used in the laboratories served.1953 Mayo Clinic glassware laboratory

New Ordering System

In the past each laboratory ordered, through the Purchasing Agent, most of the glassware needed from a laboratory supply house. Under the new system items needed are secured by requisition from central supply.

There are many advantages to this centralized ordering of glassware, says Dr. T. B. Magath. By making the stock available to all the laboratories it is possible to keep the “pipeline” smaller.

“For examples,” says Dr. Magath, “five different laboratories might, in the past, have kept on hand a supply of 5,000 tubes—that’s 25,000. But a central stock of say 10,000 or 5,000 tubes will probably be sufficient to keep all of these laboratories supplied.”

These figures point up another advantage of the new system. Instead of the new system. Instead of five laboratories placing orders at different times for a thousand, or two thousand tubes, one order for a much larger number—say 10,000—is placed by Ray Brown through Purchasing Agent Glen Southwick. There’s a considerable saving through discounts on such large orders.

Laboratories now keep on hand only the glassware currently in use since the stock in central supply room is immediately available to them. This cuts down on the need for storage space in the laboratories.

Important Operation

Glassware preparation for the laboratories is a large-scale and important operation.

Besides Ray, ten Clinic men and women are assigned to the service.

The unit on the fifth floor (1914 building) is supervised by Irene Reifsnider. Working with her are Mildred Munkholm, Lucille Kobi and Norma Hicks. Lucille Vorbeck collects and delivers glassware for Bacteriology and Clinical Pathology.

On the fourth floor (Biochemistry) the unit is staffed by Walter Bjork, James Smart and Fred Theel. Fred works half-days here and half-days at Medical Sciences for Dr. Bollmans’ Laboratory.

Glassware preparation at St. Marys is carried on by Milford Week (Biochemistry) and Chester Pfeifer (Clinical Pathology).

Hand Operation

Satisfactory glassware cleansing—with a few exceptions—is a hand operation.  States Dr. Magath: “We’ve tried every mechanical device for glassware cleaning that’s been developed during the past thirty-five years. None has produced results that are up to the standards of our laboratories.”

Certainly, however, the glassware preparation rooms are equipped with every modern device which has proved efficient: stainless steel sinks, jet faucets, constant temperature detergent baths, huge drying ovens, automatic boilers, autoclaves.

Acid cleansing, greatly reduced since the development of new detergents, is carried out for all the laboratories in the fourth floor glass preparation unit. In general, however, the fifth floor unit serves Bacteriology and Clinical Pathology and the fourth floor unit Biochemistry. Glassware used in bacteriology is autoclaved before cleansing if there is any danger of infection in handling.

Clinic laboratories aim at—and achieve—a high degree of accuracy in the tests performed. Skilled technicians, high grade reagents and perfectly cleansed glassware, are essential factors in maintenance of these standards.

No Better Than Glassware

In chemical procedures this means chemical cleanliness; for many bacteriologic procedures, it means sterility. This is of such importance that a basic principal of laboratory operation is: “The accuracy of any test can be no better than the condition of the glassware used in its performance.”

States Dr. Magath: “The new coordinated service for glassware preparation and supply is working very satisfactorily. It will contribute in an important way to the efficient operation of our laboratories.”

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Wed, Jan 20 at 5:02pm EST by danasparks · View  

Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis

close-up of hands with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.


Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing:

  • Osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that weakens your bones and makes them more prone to fracture.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. If rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrist, the inflammation can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers.
  • Heart problems. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of hardened and blocked arteries, as well as inflammation of the sac that encloses your heart.
  • Lung disease. People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath.

Read about the symptoms, causes, treatments, risk factors and more. 

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Wed, Jan 20 at 3:00am EST by danasparks · View  

Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

medical illustration of colon and rectum Ulcerative colitis (UL-sur-uh-tiv koe-LIE-tis) symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Therefore, doctors often classify ulcerative colitis according to its location.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding — passing small amount of blood with stool
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Inability to defecate despite urgency
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • In children, failure to grow

Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. The course of ulcerative colitis may vary, with some people having long periods of remission.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have signs and symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Ongoing diarrhea that doesn't respond to over-the-counter medications
  • Diarrhea that awakens you from sleep
  • An unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two

Although ulcerative colitis usually isn't fatal, it's a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications. Read more about ulcerative colitis.

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