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Wed, Jan 20 at 9:00am EST by stheimer · View  

Study Finds No Link Between Surgical Anesthesia and MCI

Mayo surgery 16 x 9

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A Mayo Clinic study of people who received anesthesia for surgery after age 40 found no association between the anesthesia and development of mild cognitive impairment later in life. Mild cognitive impairment is a stage between the normal cognitive decline of aging and dementia. The findings are published in the February issue of the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Elderly patients can develop delirium after anesthesia and surgery, but it usually resolves within days or weeks.  Researchers have been studying whether surgical anesthesia is associated with more prolonged cognitive impairment.

“We looked at a group of patients who have been followed here in Olmsted County, where we have detailed information about their cognitive function as they age. The bottom line of our study is that we did not find an association between exposure to anesthesia for surgery and the development of mild cognitive impairment in these patients,” says senior author David O. Warner, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist.

A previous Mayo study found that older patients who receive anesthesia are no likelier than others to develop dementia.

JOURNALISTS: Audio and video of Dr. Warner are available in the downloads below.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

In the current study, researchers analyzed detailed patient information from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging and the Rochester Epidemiology Project.

The study included people who were ages 70 to 89 and cognitively normal as of October 2004; their mean age was 79, and there were almost equal numbers of men and women. They were evaluated every 15 months. Of 1,731 people studied, 85 percent had at least one surgery requiring general anesthesia after age 40; 31 percent developed mild cognitive impairment during the study evaluation period, but it was not found to be linked to their anesthesia exposure.

The researchers noted that while exposure to anesthesia for surgery after age 40 wasn’t associated with mild cognitive impairment, they couldn’t exclude the possibility that surgical anesthesia after age 60 might be, particularly in vascular surgery patients.

“That may not be surprising, because there is increasing evidence that some of the problems that we see with cognition in the elderly may be caused by vascular problems that cause stroke and other sorts of problems like that,” Dr. Warner says, adding that more research is needed.

Mayo researchers are also studying the effects of anesthesia in young children. At that other extreme of age, they are seeing some associations between surgical anesthesia exposures and some problems with learning and memory later in life, Dr. Warner says.

“That by no means is established yet. Right now it’s just associations, and we and many other people are doing a lot of work to try to see if this really is a problem in children or not,” he says. “Because of the associations that we’ve seen, there is more concern in the young than the old, and it will require quite a bit more research to find out what is happening with the children, and if there is a problem, how we can best address it.  But for the moment, there is little clinical evidence that anesthesia itself leads to cognitive decline in the elderly – although more research is needed.”

The current study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants P50 AG016574, U01 AG006786, K01 MH068351 and K01 AG028573; by the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program; Mayo Clinic Center for Translational Sciences Activities grant UL1 TR000135 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The Rochester Epidemiology Project is funded by National Institute on Aging grant R01-AG034676.

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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

About Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Proceedings is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education. It publishes submissions from authors worldwide. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000. Articles are available online at http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org. 

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Tue, Jan 5 at 9:45am EST by stheimer · View  

Mayo Study: Radiation an Important Addition to Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Candidates

microscopic slide of pancreatic tumor cells

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Radiation therapy was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence in pancreatic cancer surgery patients, making it, like chemotherapy, an important addition to treatment, Mayo Clinic research found. Whether radiotherapy helps patients after pancreatic cancer surgery has been a long-standing question, and the findings suggest that it does, says senior author Christopher Hallemeier, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The study is published in the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s  International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

The researchers studied 458 patients who had pancreatic cancer surgery at Mayo Clinic between March 1987 and January 2011. Of those patients, 378 received chemotherapy and radiation therapy after surgery, and 80 had only chemotherapy after their operations.

Eighty percent of those who received chemotherapy and radiation after surgery had no recurrence of cancer within the area targeted by the radiation, the tumor bed and lymph nodes, within five years after diagnosis. That compared with 68 percent of those who had chemotherapy only following their operations. Additionally, patients who received radiotherapy had longer survival times.

Over the past five years or so, the trend has been toward providing chemotherapy and radiation before surgery in an increasing number of patients with operable pancreatic cancer, Dr. Hallemeier says. He and his colleagues plan research to study the benefit of that, but first wanted to address the longtime question of whether radiation helps after surgery.

“The role of radiation therapy in operable pancreatic cancer has been somewhat controversial. There have been some studies that have shown a benefit and some studies that have not shown a benefit,” Dr. Hallemeier says.

Media contact: Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu
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Nov 17, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Mayo Clinic: Medicare Payments Should Recognize Complexity of Patients, Health Care

medical records, paperwork with calculator and stethoscope


Mayo Clinic
is urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to keep the complexity and diversity of health care and patients in mind as it shifts physician payments from volume-based reimbursement to one based on the value of the care provided.

Mayo on Tuesday submitted written comments to the agency regarding implementation of a new physician payment system under a law passed earlier this year.  The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 repeals and replaces Sustainable Growth Rate-based physician payments with a system designed to reward value and high-quality health care.  Mayo Clinic has long sought repeal of the SGR, viewing it as unworkable and ineffective.

“As CMS begins a historic shift from a volume-driven reimbursement system to one based on the value of care provided, bold creative thinking is required to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the full spectrum of health care, from primary care to highly complex specialized care,” says Robert Nesse, M.D., Mayo's senior director for payment reform.

You can read Mayo's letter to CMS here.

JOURNALISTS: For interviews with Dr. Nesse, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu.

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Nov 11, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Have Questions About Pancreatic Cancer? Share Them in 2 Chats Thursday Nov. 12

pancreatic cancer awareness purple ribbon
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Do you have questions about pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery? Share them with Mayo Clinic gastrointestinal surgical oncologist Mark Truty, M.D., in two chats Thursday.

Dr. Truty will take part in a Mayo Clinic chat Nov. 12 on Periscope at noon Eastern. For details on how to view the Periscope chat and ask questions, please go to: http://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/on-periscope-qa-with-mark-truty-m-d-about-pancreaticcancer/.

Then at 1 p.m. Eastern, Dr. Truty will participate in a Twitter chat held by the National Cancer Institute and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. To view and participate in the Twitter chat, please use hash tag #Pancancer. More details are available here.

JOURNALISTS: For interviews with Dr. Truty, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at newsbureau@mayo.edu or 507-284-5005.

 

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Nov 9, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Deaths From Heart Disease Declining Among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Rheumatoid arthritis patients are twice as likely as the average person to develop heart disease, but a new study shows that efforts to prevent heart problems and diagnose and treat heart disease early may be paying off. Despite the heightened danger, deaths from cardiovascular disease among people with rheumatoid arthritis are declining, the research found. The study was among Mayo Clinic research being presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

Other Mayo studies discussed at the conference chronicled a significant increase in gout; examined rare intestinal microbes in rheumatoid arthritis patients; and discovered that people with rheumatoid arthritis use opioid painkillers at a hCoronary artery diseaseigher rate than the general public, but that it isn’t related to disease severity.

In the study on rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease, researchers looked at heart disease deaths within 10 years of rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis among two groups of people: 315 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis from 2000 to 2007 and 498 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the 1980s and 1990s. They also looked at heart disease deaths among 813 people without the rheumatic disease. Roughly two-thirds of patients studied were women, and the average age was 60.

They found a significantly lower rate of deaths from heart disease in the more recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients than in those diagnosed earlier: 2.8 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

Media contact: Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu.

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Nov 4, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Study: Only 1 in 5 US pancreatic cancer patients get this key blood test at diagnosis

CA 19-9 tumor marker test especially important for early-stage patients, Mayo finds

NAPA, Calif. — Only 1 in 5 U.S. pancreatic cancer patients receive a widely available, inexpensive blood test at diagnosis that can help predict whether they are likely to have a better or worse outcome than average and guide treatment accordingly, a Mayo Clinic study shows. People who test positive for elevated levels of a particular tumor marker tend to do worse than others, but if they are candidates for surgery and have chemotherapy before their operations, this personalized treatment sequence eliminates the elevated biomarker’s negative effect, researchers found.
microscopic slide of pancreatic tumor cells

The findings will be presented at the Western Surgical Association annual meeting Nov. 7-10 in Napa.

“This is another argument for giving chemotherapy before surgery in all pancreatic cancer patients and ending the old practice of surgery followed by chemo,” says senior author Mark Truty, M.D., a gastrointestinal surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “The study answers an important clinical question and applies to every pancreatic cancer patient being considered for surgery.”

The Mayo study, which used the National Cancer Data Base, is the first on the subject based on national data and is the largest of its kind, Dr. Truty says.

JOURNALISTS: For interviews with Dr. Truty, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu. [...]

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Oct 26, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Surgery Proving Option for More Pancreatic Cancer Patients

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic cancer has long proved the least survivable of the most common forms of cancer, in part because it tends to spread before symptoms appear. Surgery has offered the longest remissions, but for many people with advanced cancer, an operation wasn’t an option. Now, thanks to improvements in chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, even this most recalcitrant of cancers is starting to budge, says Mark Truty, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastrointestinal surgeon.illustration of pancreatic cancer and related anatomy

Dr. Truty and his colleagues are now performing complex tumor removal operations on pancreatic cancer patients who in the past would have been considered inoperable — and they are seeing survival times rise significantly.

“We know that patients who go through our preoperative protocol and to the operating room do significantly better than average, compared to historical outcomes. We’re looking at three- to four-fold improvement in overall survival,” Dr. Truty says. “In the past few years, we have done operations that were never performed before. With improved chemotherapy and radiation therapy, we’re now beginning to push the envelope surgically.”

Journalists: Video and audio cuts of Dr. Truty are available in the downloads.
For interviews with Dr. Truty, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu.

Dr. Truty explains who is a candidate for pancreatic cancer surgery, the types of operations, recovery times and outcomes:

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Jul 1, 2015 by stheimer · View  

One in 4 People Prescribed Opioids Progressed to Longer-Term Prescriptions

pain medication, pills in a bottle

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Opioid painkiller addiction and accidental overdoses have become far too common across the United States. To try to identify who is most at risk, Mayo Clinic researchers studied how many patients prescribed an opioid painkiller for the first time progressed to long-term prescriptions. The answer: 1 in 4. People with histories of tobacco use and substance abuse were likeliest to use opioid painkillers long-term.

The findings are published in the July issue of the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

While the study identified past or present nicotine use and substance abuse as top risk factors for long-term use of opioids, all patients should proceed with caution when offered opioid painkiller prescriptions, says lead author W. Michael Hooten, M.D., an anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“From a patient perspective, it is important to recognize the potential risks associated with these medications. I encourage use of alternative methods to manage pain, including non-opioid analgesics or other nonmedication approaches,” Dr. Hooten says. “That reduces or even eliminates the risk of these medications transitioning to another problem that was never intended.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu  [...]

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Jun 25, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Mayo Clinic Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act

Mayo Clinic CEO & President Dr. John Noseworthy standing outside Gonda and Plummer buildingsMayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, M.D., released the following statement reacting to the Supreme Court ruling today on the King v. Burwell case upholding subsidies:

"The federal premium subsidies will continue to reduce the cost of insurance for the millions of Americans who receive them and continue to improve access to health care,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Minnesota, Florida and Arizona. “It is important that we not step back from our commitment to health insurance coverage for all Americans.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, newsbureau@mayo.edu / 507-284-5005.

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Jun 22, 2015 by stheimer · View  

MEDIA ADVISORY: Mayo Clinic Director of Diversity and Inclusion Takes Part in White House Forum on Diversity in STEM Workforce

STEM science technology engineering math written in white chalk on a black chalkboard isolated on white

WASHINGTONMayo Clinic is participating in the White House Forum on Excellence and Innovation through Diversity in the STEM Workforce. Participants will meet tonight and Tuesday to discuss their organizations’ efforts to increase diversity among science, technology, engineering and math professionals. Sharonne Hayes, M.D., director of diversity and inclusion at Mayo, calls medicine the “extra M” in STEM; as an academic medical center focused on health care, research and education, Mayo offers a wide range of STEM-related employment and is working to increase diversity.

WHO:     Sharonne Hayes, M.D., director of diversity and inclusion at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.   

WHAT:  The White House Forum on Excellence and Innovation through Diversity in the STEM Workforce, sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Participants will discuss the state of diversity in science, technology, engineering and math jobs, how to measure it, and challenges and best practices as organizations work to increase diversity.

WHERE: Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington.

WHEN:    Monday, June 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET; Tuesday, June 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Dr. Hayes will be available for phone interviews during and after the forum.

MEDIA CONTACT:
For an interview with Dr. Hayes, please contact Sharon Theimer at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu.

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Jun 8, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Wedding Surprise: Heart Failure Patient Works with Mayo Team to Leave Hospital, Walk Daughter Down Aisle

Andre Pearson, a heart failure patient who has been at Mayo Clinic since March, initially was too ill to leave the Rochester, Minn., hospital to go to his daughter’s wedding in California. He had resigned himself to watching it online. But a few days before the Saturday evening ceremony, with Mr. Pearson doing well, his care team decided to explore whether it might be possible for him to make the trip after all. With the right game plan in place, they determined that it was. A Mayo staff member accompanied him, and Mr. Pearson surprised his daughter, Alexandra, by arriving the evening before the wedding in Indio, Calif., and promising to walk her down the aisle.

"I can't help but cry, but it's tears of joy," Mr. Pearson said Thursday, after learning that he had received medical clearance to leave the hospital for the wedding and his travel plans were under way.

When Mr. Pearson, 61, of Omaha, Neb., arrivedwedding at Mayo in late March, it looked like he might have only a year to live. The ordained pastor was too ill to qualify for a heart transplant, and his kidneys were failing. After surgery in which Mayo surgeons repaired his heart valve and, for the first time at Mayo, implanted both a left ventricular assist device and a temporary right ventricular assist device to help his heart pump, followed by ongoing dialysis and physical rehabilitation, Mr. Pearson is now well enough that he will likely return home within the next month.

After that, he will be evaluated for a possible heart transplant. His kidneys are recovering as well, so he may not need dialysis long-term. His lead cardiac surgeon, David L. Joyce, M.D., credits Mr. Pearson’s tenacity for his recovery.LVAD RVAD figure01

"Really, if you were just to look at everything on paper, you would say, `There's really nothing here we can offer.' Then when you meet Mr. Pearson and you realize what he's capable of, then you start to think outside the box a little bit," Dr. Joyce says. "That's when we came up with the idea of using a new device for supporting the right heart (the right ventricular assist device). He was kind of a pioneer and willing to take on that uncertainty, and it actually worked out beautifully."

Mr. Pearson is the brother of former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson, famous in Minnesota for catching a "Hail Mary" pass against the Minnesota Vikings. Not knowing that Andre Pearson’s brother was Drew Pearson, Dr. Joyce told him before surgery that it would be a bit of a Hail Mary pass; Mr. Pearson and his wife, Gina Pearson, then remarked that they know all about those.

Journalists: Video of Mr. Pearson surprising his daughter and walking her down the aisle and of Mr. Pearson and Dr. Joyce discussing his medical case and the "Hail Mary Pass" is available in the downloads. For interviews, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Media Relations at newsbureau@mayo.edu or 507-284-5005. [...]

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Jun 1, 2015 by stheimer · View  

How Does Human Behavior Lead to Surgical Errors? Mayo Clinic Researchers Count the Ways

Four to nine factors contributed to each `never event,’ study finds

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Why are major surgical errors called “never events?” Because they shouldn’t happen — but do. Mayo Clinic researchers identified 69 never events among 1.5 million invasive procedures performed over five years and detailed why each occurred. Using a system created to investigate military plane crashes, they coded the human behaviors involved to identify any environmental, organizational, job and individual characteristics that led to the never events. Their discovery: 628 human factors contributed to the errors overall, roughly four to nine per event. The study results are published in the journal Surgery.gallbladder removal, surgery in the operation theatre

The never events included performing the wrong procedure (24), performing surgery on the wrong site or wrong side of the body (22), putting in the wrong implant (5), or leaving an object in the patient (18). All of the errors analyzed occurred at Mayo; none were fatal.

The Mayo Rochester campus rate of never events over the period studied was roughly 1 in every 22,000 procedures. Because of inconsistencies in definitions and reporting requirements, it is hard to find accurate comparison data, but a recent study based upon information in the National Practitioner Data Bank estimated that the rate of such never events in the United States is almost twice that in this report, approximately 1 in 12,000 procedures.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Journalist: Sound bites of Dr. Bingener discussing the study are available in the downloads. [...]

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Apr 30, 2015 by stheimer · View  

NIH Funding Key to Health Care, Economy, Mayo Clinic Tells Congress

Dr. John NoseworthyMayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy, M.D., submitted the following written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on Wednesday on the fiscal 2016 federal budget:

Introduction.  On behalf of the Mayo Clinic, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations.  For the reasons enumerated below, Mayo requests no less than $32 billion in FY 2016 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  NIH-funded research is an essential national investment that increases understanding of human disease, spurs the development of novel diagnostics and therapies, and uncovers new strategies to prevent disease and to improve health. Because NIH is the largest source of biomedical research funding not only in the United States but also in the world, the failure of NIH funding to keep pace with medical inflation decreases support for and the conduct of basic research; inevitably, this compromises the realization of those crucial scientific breakthroughs that enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce disease and disability.  “Important secondary benefits of medical research such as job creation, regional and global economic activity, international competitiveness, intellectual property and commercializable products are likely adversely impacted as well.”[1]  While NIH funding is certainly not Mayo’s only Labor-HHS funding priority, it is on behalf of these research efforts that we focus on NIH funding in our testimony today.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, newsbureau@mayo.edu / 507-284-5005 [...]

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Apr 30, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Vitamin D Toxicity Rare in People Who Take Supplements, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

cod liver oil omega 3 gel capsules - Vitamin D capsules, supplements

Over the past decade, numerous studies have shown that many Americans have low vitamin D levels and as a result, vitamin D supplement use has climbed in recent years. Vitamin D has been shown to boost bone health and it may play a role in preventing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. In light of the increased use of vitamin D supplements, Mayo Clinic researchers set out to learn more about the health of those with high vitamin D levels.  They found that toxic levels are actually rare.

Their study appears in the May issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

A vitamin D level greater than 50 nanograms per milliliter is considered high. Vitamin D levels are determined by a blood test called a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test. A normal level is 20-50 ng/mL, and deficiency is considered anything less than 20 ng/mL, according the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu [...]

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Feb 2, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Ultrasound Narrows Which Breast Cancer Patients Need Lymph Nodes Removed

Rochester, Minn. — Which breast cancer patients need to have underarm lymph nodes removed? Mayo Clinic-led research is narrowing it down. A new study finds that not all women with lymph node-positive breast cancer treated with chemotherapy before surgery need to have all of their underarm nodes taken out. Ultrasound is a useful tool for judging before breast cancer surgery whether chemotherapy eliminated cancer from the underarm lymph nodes, the researchers found. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This ultrasound shows an abnormal lymph node before chemotherapy for breast cancer.

This ultrasound shows an abnormal lymph node before chemotherapy for breast cancer (Mayo Clinic).

In the past, when breast cancer was discovered to have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm, surgeons routinely removed all of them. Taking out all of those lymph nodes may cause arm swelling called lymphedema and limit the arm’s range of motion.

Now, many breast cancer patients receive chemotherapy before surgery. Thanks to improvements in chemotherapy drugs and use of targeted therapy, surgeons are seeing more women whose cancer is eradicated from the lymph nodes by the time they reach the operating room, says lead author Judy C. Boughey, M.D. a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Journalists: 
Sound bites with Dr. Boughey are available in the downloads.
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Jan 29, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Telemedicine & You: Mayo Clinic Expert Explains New Health Care Option, How State and National Policies Can Catch Up

A telestroke robot is used by Mayo Clinic neurologist Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., to assess whether a patient at another hospital has had a stroke. Source: Mayo Clinic.

A telestroke robot is used by Mayo Clinic neurologist Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., shown on the robot's screen, to assess a patient at another hospital and confer with her local care team.

Rochester, Minn. — If you haven’t already experienced telemedicine, you may soon have the option. Technology is helping people connect with their physicians in new ways and from a distance, and interest is growing in updating state and federal policies to help make telemedicine available to more patients.

Mayo Clinic this week responded to a request from the House Energy and Commerce Committee for recommendations on how lawmakers can help this new health care option progress. Steve Ommen, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Connected Care, explains telemedicine and outlines state and national moves that would help more patients take advantage of it:

 What is telemedicine? Telemedicine most commonly refers to communication with or among a patient’s health care team via video connection, secure text messaging or another platform rather than in person. It can be used to schedule appointments, answer questions, handle routine checkups, allow physicians in different locations to consult about a patient’s case, collect vital signs or even to help examine and diagnose patients. To protect patient privacy, secure communication methods are used.

Mayo Clinic views development of telemedicine as an important next step to improve health care access, quality and efficiency across the country.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

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

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Jan 26, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Precision Medicine: Mayo Clinic Expert Describes Next Steps to Help More Patients

Rochester, Minn. – “Precision medicine” is becoming a national catchphrase after President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address. CIM-Logo Center for Individualized Medicine
But what exactly is it? Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., acting director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, describes this new, rapidly advancing frontier in medicine and outlines 10 changes that would speed development and help more patients benefit from a personalized approach to health care:

What is precision medicine? In precision medicine, also called individualized medicine or personalized medicine, physicians use knowledge about a person’s personal genetic makeup to help determine the best plan for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The mapping of the human genome in 2003 by U.S. scientists jump-started medical genomics; the Human Genome Project was an immense international collaboration that took 13 years and cost $3.8 billion. The National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, which coordinated the project, estimates economic growth from that project at $798 billion.

"We are now poised to apply genomic technologies developed with the findings of the Human Genome Project into everyday patient care,” Dr. Weinshilboum says.

“However, if the U.S. is to remain the world leader in health care innovation and delivery, we need another national genomics effort that will accelerate scientific discovery and clinical implementation while continuing to encourage the rapid technological innovations and entrepreneurialism that have gotten us to this point."

MEDIA CONTACT: To schedule an interview with Dr. Weinshilboum or other Mayo Clinic individualized medicine experts, please contact Sam Smith or Robert Nellis in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu. [...]

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Jan 13, 2015 by stheimer · View  

Influenza and Sepsis: Mayo Expert Describes Signs of Severe Sepsis, Septic Shock

Sepsis can be a dangerous complication of almost any type of infection, including influenza, pneumonia and food poisoningurinary tract infections; bloodstream infections from wounds; and abdominal infections. Steve Peters, M.D., a pulmonary and critical care physician at Mayo Clinic and senior author of a recent sepsis overview in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, explains sepsis symptoms and risk factors, the difference between severe sepsis and septic shock, and how sepsis is typically treated:Sick man with cold or flu lying on sofa checking his temperature for a fever

What is sepsis?Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

“Many infections can cause it,” Dr. Peters says. “It is most common with bacterial infections, but you can get sepsis from other types of bugs also.”

What are symptoms to watch for? A high fever; inability to keep fluids down; rapid heartbeat; rapid, shallow breathing; lethargy and confusion are among the signs. If sepsis is suspected, seek emergency care, Dr. Peters advises. Rapid intervention is critical.

Journalists: Soundbites with Dr. Peters are available in the downloads.

For interviews with Dr. Peters, please contact Sharon Theimer
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu. [...]

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Nov 17, 2014 by stheimer · View  

Blood Test Could Prevent Medication Trial and Error for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

ds00020_im02689_r7_rheumatoidarthritisthuBoston — A molecule in the blood shows promise as a marker to predict whether individual rheumatoid arthritis patients are likely to benefit from biologic medications or other drugs should be tried, a Mayo Clinic-led study shows. The protein, analyzed in blood tests, may help avoid trial and error with medications, sparing patients treatment delays and unnecessary side effects and expense. The research is among several Mayo Clinic studies presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Boston.

Researchers tested blood samples taken before rheumatoid arthritis treatment was given. The patients then were treated with anti-inflammatory biologic drugs, tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors, a new class of medications used for rheumatoid arthritis. They found that a protein made by the immune system, type 1 interferon, appears to serve as a valid marker to tell whether individual rheumatoid arthritis patients will respond to biologics, or other medications should be tried.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Journalists: Sound bites of Dr. Niewold are available in the downloads below.

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Oct 28, 2014 by stheimer · View  

Baby Boomers and Scoliosis: Osteoporosis Is Risk Factor

ex-ray scan showing scoliosis ROCHESTER, Minn. — For many adults, the word scoliosis conjures up childhood memories of lining up in gym class for an examination by the school nurse. But scoliosis isn't just a pediatric condition. Curvature of the spine can develop in adults too, and the osteoporosis that can accompany menopause is a risk factor. Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Paul Huddleston, M.D., explains how scoliosis develops, prevention and treatment options and a trend he is seeing in Baby Boomer women.

What is scoliosis? Scoliosis is a misshaping of the spine as seen from the front — where the spine seems shifted  right or left — or from a side view, where the spine is bent too far forward or backward, or a combination of the two. It doesn’t always cause pain: Schools started screening in elementary school or junior high in part because many children and their parents didn’t know the children had it, Dr. Huddleston says.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Huddleston, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu.  

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

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