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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — August 29, 2012. Removing the entire pancreas in patients with cancer or precancerous cysts in part of the organ does not result in unmanageable diabetes — as many physicians previously believed, research at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found. The study, published online Sunday in the journal HPB Surgery, evaluates how well patients who had their entire pancreas removed could control their resulting diabetes. The pancreas produces insulin to remove sugar from the blood, so when the organ is gone, insulin must be replaced, usually through an external pump or with injections. The researchers examined control of insulin over several years in 14 patients whose entire pancreas was removed. They compared their findings with 100 people with type 1 diabetes, and must use insulin replacement. They found both groups had little difficulty controlling their blood sugar, and no complications resulted. The findings should reassure physicians and surgeons that removing the entire pancreas is reasonably safe and effective, says senior investigator Michael B. Wallace, M.D., chair of the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "What has confounded surgery for pancreatic cancers and precancerous cysts for a long time is the notion that if the entire organ is removed, patients will have great difficulty in controlling the resulting diabetes," Dr. Wallace says. "Most surgeons try to leave as much of the pancreas as possible". "What we have shown here is that, due to wonderful recent improvements in insulin therapy, patients without a pancreas can control their blood sugar as effectively as type 1 diabetes patients can," he says. Although this study was small, Dr. Wallace says the findings are mirrored in the experiences of patients treated at Mayo Clinic in Florida with total pancreas removal. Even though the approach of preserving as much of the pancreas as possible benefits most patients, leaving part of the pancreas in some patients may put them at risk of developing hard-to-detect cancer in the remaining organ, he says.
Jacksonville, Fla. — August 24, 2012. As another storms brews in the Atlantic, residents of coastal communities are starting to prepare for a potential severe weather emergency. But hurricane shutters, flashlights and batteries are not the only things to consider. Food safety is critical to maintaining wellbeing during a natural disaster, and finding creative ways to feed a family can become an issue if refrigeration and electricity are unavailable. MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video and audio clips of Ron Stone, Nutrition Services at Mayo Clinic, are available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network. "Whether it's a hurricane or another natural disaster, it's critical to understand basic food and water safety, particularly if power outages or flooding occur. Having a plan in place will ensure proper nutrition, energy, and long-term wellness," says Sherry Mahoney, director of Nutrition and Food Services at Mayo Clinic in Florida. She advises creating a meal plan in advance, "since most people aren't thinking about recipes (during a disaster), and refrigeration and cooking may become a problem." But eating out of a can doesn't have to be boring, says Ron Stone, Assistant Director of Nutrition. "There are many options to mix and match from your pantry, and with advanced planning and a little creativity, you can provide healthy and delicious meals for your family," he says." Under their direction, Mayo Clinic dietetic interns recently created sample three-day meal plans (PDF) to feed a family of four. The recipes do not require the use of power or refrigeration, but are still "colorful, exciting and nutritious," Mahoney says. The recipe list (PDF) includes "Coconut Oatmeal Energy Bars," "Stir It Up Vanilla Pudding Parfait," "Reggie's Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad on Flatbread" or "Chocoholic Peanut Butter Pie." Here are tips from Stone for prepping your pantry and planning an emergency menu: Know the safe temperature zones of perishable food. When the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold. The refrigerator, if unopened, will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for around 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Stock up on condiments, particularly those that are vinegar-based, which have a long shelf life and are versatile, such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and BBQ sauce. Consider travel-sized containers for convenience. Keep canned protein on hand (chicken, salmon, beans and peanut butter). Don't forgo the milk: Keep boxes of powdered milk or shelf-stable cartons on hand for cereal or deserts. Dried fruits, nuts and spices can add a boost of flavor to otherwise bland dishes. Don't forget a manual can opener.