- News Releases
ROCHESTER, Minn. — September 20, 2012. When severe chronic nerve pain doesn't respond to medication, surgery or physical therapy, implanted devices may provide relief, according to the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. In one type of device, electrical pulses are directed along a nerve to block or override pain impulses traveling along the same nerve. Medication pumps are another option, dispensing medication directly into the fluid around the spinal cord. There are two types of electrical stimulation devices, and they may be used together. In spinal cord stimulators, a wire is placed within the spinal canal and connected to an electrical generator implanted beneath the skin in the abdomen. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, spinal cord stimulators may improve pain from failed back surgery, peripheral neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome, which results in leg or arm pain. More targeted than spinal cord stimulators, peripheral nerve stimulators are placed along nerves that branch off from the spinal cord. They may be used to treat leg pain after back surgery, post-herpetic neuralgia and some types of headaches. This newer technology hasn't been approved by the FDA. Implanted medication pumps are most often used to relieve pain from cancer or chronic back pain. The drug delivery system consists of a small flexible catheter placed in the spinal fluid. The catheter connects to a drug infusion pump implanted in the lower abdomen. The adjustable pump is programmed to dispense medication. It can be refilled by injection through the skin into the device. Drug delivery pumps are effective but have limitations. Patients may develop increasing tolerance to the pain medication. Most often, pain medication pumps are offered to patients with limited life expectancy or in other extreme situations.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — September 20, 2012. To help Mayo Clinic design the most effective treatment possible for brain cancer patients, the JLG Brain Cancer Foundation is pledging to raise $250,000 to assist in the development of a brain tissue bank at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida. It has already raised $145,000 toward that goal. The brain cancer tissue bank will include brain tumor tissues for all stages and types of brain cancers. "This vast tissue library will enable Mayo Clinic researchers to accurately identify the key molecular culprits in brain cancers — not just genes or proteins that influence cancer development, but the ones that make cancers more aggressive or resistant to therapies. Once found, these malignant forces can be stopped," says Jill Geehr, the daughter of Jacquie Lorraine Goldman, for whom the Foundation is named. Mrs. Goldman was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the most virulent form of brain cancer, in 2008. She participated in several experimental drug trials over the course of treatment at Mayo Clinic, but lost her struggle 1.5 years after diagnosis — well above the normal survival, says Ms. Geehr. "We want to see that people diagnosed with brain cancer have options for treatment that are effective," she says. "Right now, most people who receive this diagnosis have an outcome that is pretty bleak." "Mayo Clinic is pursuing a transformative vision for brain cancer care. We can help," says Ms. Geehr. The Foundation's annual fundraising events are being held later this month. The second annual TASTE food and wine event is Thursday, Sept. 27 at TPC Sawgrass, and the Unlock the Cure JLG 5K Fun Run is slated for Saturday, Sept. 29, in Jacksonville Beach at The Beach Restaurant. Brain tissue samples that are now starting to be collected at Mayo Clinic "will be instrumental in developing a new understanding of the biology and treatment of brain malignancies like that of Mrs. Goldman's," says Kurt Jaeckle, M.D., the Mayo Clinic neuro-oncologist who treated Mrs. Goldman. "This Brain Cancer Tissue Bank never would have been possible without the kind donation and pledge of the JLG Brain Cancer Foundation," he says. "It is our hope that every person who has fought or continues to fight brain cancer will lead us closer to unlocking a cure," says Ms. Geehr.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — September 19, 2012. Mayo Clinic has assembled the nation's leading experts including professional sports league representatives to discuss the clinical and scientific aspects of concussions and the related growing public health concerns at the Symposium on Concussion in Sport, Sept. 28–29, at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The symposium will be held at the Mayo Clinic campus in Scottsdale, 13400 East Shea Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 29. Among the experts scheduled to present are concussion representatives from each of the major professional leagues: National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. The symposium is designed to help physicians recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion, evaluate athletes, recognize when it is safe to return to play, and understand the short- and long-term neurological consequences of concussion. "Concussion is a major public health priority that transcends age, gender and sport," says David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic and director of the symposium. "The underreporting and recognition of concussion and the potential for short-term catastrophic consequences and disabling long-term neurological impairment from repeated concussions have prompted the passage of legislation in many states that requires the immediate removal from play of an athlete suspected of having a concussion; mandatory concussion education of all those who intersect with an athlete; and return-to-play clearance by a qualified health care provider."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — September 17, 2012. An enzyme that could represent a powerful new tool for combating Alzheimer's disease has been discovered by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The enzyme — known as BACE2 — destroys beta-amyloid, a toxic protein fragment that litters the brains of patients who have the disease. The findings were published online Sept. 17 in the science journal Molecular Neurodegeneration. MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video resources, including an interview with Dr. Leissring, are available for journalists at the Mayo Clinic News Network. Alzheimer's disease is the most common memory disorder. It affects more that 5.5 million people in the United States. Despite the disorder's enormous financial and personal toll, effective treatments have not yet been found. The Mayo research team, led by Malcolm A. Leissring, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, made the discovery by testing hundreds of enzymes for the ability to lower beta-amyloid levels. BACE2 was found to lower beta-amyloid more effectively than all other enzymes tested. The discovery is interesting because BACE2 is closely related to another enzyme, known as BACE1, involved in producing beta-amyloid. "Despite their close similarity, the two enzymes have completely opposite effects on beta-amyloid — BACE1 giveth, while BACE2 taketh away," Dr. Leissring says. Beta-amyloid is a fragment of a larger protein, known as APP, and is produced by enzymes that cut APP at two places. BACE1 is the enzyme responsible for making the first cut that generates beta-amyloid. The research showed that BACE2 cuts beta-amyloid into smaller pieces, thereby destroying it, instead. Although other enzymes are known to break down beta-amyloid, BACE2 is particularly efficient at this function, the study found. Previous work had shown that BACE2 can also lower beta-amyloid levels by a second mechanism: by cutting APP at a different spot from BACE1. BACE2 cuts in the middle of the beta-amyloid portion, which prevents beta-amyloid production. "The fact that BACE2 can lower beta-amyloid by two distinct mechanisms makes this enzyme an especially attractive candidate for gene therapy to treat Alzheimer's disease," says first author Samer Abdul-Hay, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The discovery suggests that impairments in BACE2 might increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This is important because certain drugs in clinical use — for example, antiviral drugs used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — work by inhibiting enzymes similar to BACE2.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida have identified an enzyme that could represent a powerful new tool for combating Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common memory disorder ...
Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, is a condition that slowly robs you of your ability to move, eat or even breathe. A related condition called ...