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1 day ago · Science Saturday: Behind the scenes-Mayo Clinic Research

biobank medical research lab with Mayo Clinic shields in computer monitor

Everything health care has to offer for patients is the result of research and education related to that research. At Mayo Clinic, research drives everything we do, resulting in evidence-based treatments and continuous improvements in the way patients, caregivers and others experience health care.

At Mayo Clinic we share information about our programs and projects through many means, including the website http://www.mayo.edu.

This site provides the opportunity to get behind the scenes with our researchers and learn about new findings and ongoing exploration. Below are brief summaries of what you will find on the pages of our newest research programs, as well as a few areas with substantially updated content to share.

Read the rest of the article on the Advancing the Science blog. ______________________________________________

Other Mayo Clinic medical research websites:

2 days ago · Women's Wellness: Vaping and pregnancy

a pregnant woman with her partner placing their hands on her stomach in the shape of a heart

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stop using electronic cigarette products while the organization investigates the cause of serious lung illnesses associated with the use of vaping devices.

Most electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain nicotine, which permanently damages a baby’s developing brain and many other organs.  E-cigarettes  also contain a propellant — used to create vapor — and other harmful additives that might not be safe for your baby.

It’s well known that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can harm women and their babies. But research suggests that pregnant women who vape believe that using e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Pregnant women often don’t know if their e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Some also might use  e-cigarettes during pregnancy because of the perception that the devices can help them quit or reduce cigarette smoking.

While use of  e-cigarettes might expose a growing baby to fewer toxins compared with those from regular cigarette use, nicotine exposure of any kind is harmful to a baby.

If you’re pregnant and you smoke or vape, quitting is the best way to give your baby a healthy start. Start by consulting your health care provider for advice or seek counseling.

This article is written by Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and Mayo Clinic Staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.

3 days ago · Making Mayo's Recipes: Soba noodle stir-fry with coconut curry sauce

Soba noodle stir-fry with coconut curry sauce

Try this great stir fry with soba noodles. Plus, using coconut milk and shredded coconut with curry gives a nice flavor.

Each Thursday, one of the more than 100 video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network — just in time for you to try over the weekend. You also can have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

These recipes are created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy living insights on the Mayo Clinic App.

Watch: Making soba noodle stir-fry with coconut curry sauce.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video 1:29 is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please ‘Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.’

Serves 44

4 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced red bell peppers
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
½  cup coconut milk
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon green curry paste
½  cup shredded sweetened coconut
½  teaspoon salt

In a medium-sized pot, cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan with the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, saute the chicken breast strips until they are fully cooked, and set aside.

Return saute pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onions, bell peppers, broccoli and carrots and saute until tender. Add the noodles and chicken strips back into the saute pan with the vegetables. Add the coconut milk, stock and curry paste. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Add the shredded coconut and salt before serving.

Nutritional information per 1½  cups: 425 calories; 14 g total fat; 7 g saturated fat; 0 g transfat; 3 g monounsaturated fat; 83 mg cholesterol; 442 mg sodium; 43 g total carbohydrate; 6 g dietary fiber; 13 g total sugars; 32 g protein.

3 days ago · Mayo Mindfulness: Tackle stress, anxiety and depression to benefit your heart

a woman looking worried, stressed, thoughtful or looking mindful

Stress can contribute to heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation. Some studies suggest that stress and mental health issues may cause your atrial fibrillation symptoms to worsen. High levels of stress may also be linked to other health problems. Coping with your stress is important for your health.

Manage your stress

Finding ways to manage your stress may help improve your health and manage your condition.

Some stress management ideas include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Support from family and friends
  • Regular physical activity
  • A healthy diet
  • A positive attitude

If these stress management techniques aren’t helping, talk to your health care provider.

Depression and anxiety

There is a complex relationship between atrial fibrillation and anxiety and depression.

  • Some research shows that people with atrial fibrillation may be more affected by depression and anxiety.
  • Having depression or anxiety may negatively affect your quality of life and the severity of your atrial fibrillation symptoms.
  • At present, researchers don’t know whether people with anxiety or depression are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation or whether having atrial fibrillation increases the risk of anxiety and depression.

More research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between atrial fibrillation and these mental health conditions.

If you have symptoms of depression or anxiety — such as persistent feelings of sadness or worry, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in most activities — talk with your health care provider. He or she may recommend you see a specialist trained in mental health conditions (psychologist or psychiatrist) for diagnosis and treatment.

This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.

4 days ago · Home Remedies: Animal healers

a young man petting his dog

Pet therapy is gaining fans in health care and beyond. Animal-assisted therapy can reduce pain and anxiety in people with a range of health problems. 

What is pet therapy?

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart diseasecancer and mental health disorders.

Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment for nursing home residents.

How does animal-assisted therapy work?

If you’re in the hospital your health care provider might mention the hospital’s animal-assisted therapy program. If you’re interested, an assistance dog and its handler would visit your hospital room. They stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You’re invited to pet the dog and ask the handler questions.

After the visit, you realize you feel a little less tired and a bit more optimistic.

Who can benefit from animal-assisted therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • People in long-term care facilities
  • People with cardiovascular diseases
  • People with dementia
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • People with anxiety

And it’s not only people with health problems who reap the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.

Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress.

Does pet therapy have risks?

The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well-trained and screened for appropriate behavior.

Animal-assisted therapy in action

More than a dozen registered therapy dogs and their handlers are part of Mayo Clinic’s Caring Canines program. They make regular visits to various hospital departments and even make special visits on request. The dogs are a welcome distraction and help reduce the stress and anxiety that can accompany hospital visits.

This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.

4 days ago · Teen suicide: What parents and caregivers need to know

Is your teen at risk of suicide? While no teen is immune, there are factors that can make some adolescents more vulnerable than others. Understand how to tell if your teen might be suicidal and where to turn for help and treatment.

What makes teens vulnerable to suicide?

Many teens who attempt or die by suicide have a mental health condition. As a result, they have trouble coping with the stress of being a teen, such as dealing with rejection, failure, breakups and family turmoil. They might also be unable to see that they can turn their lives around — and that suicide is a permanent response, not a solution, to a temporary problem.

Watch: Mayo Clinic Teen Suicide Prevention.

Journalists: This broadcast-quality video (3:47) is available in the downloads at the end of the post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” 

What are the risk factors for teen suicide?

A teen might feel suicidal due to certain life circumstances such as:

  • Having a psychiatric disorder, including depression
  • Loss of or conflict with close friends or family members
  • History of physical or sexual abuse or exposure to violence
  • Problems with alcohol or drugs
  • Physical or medical issues, for example, becoming pregnant or having a sexually transmitted infection
  • Being the victim of bullying
  • Being uncertain of sexual orientation
  • Exposure to the suicide of a family member or friend
  • Begin adopted
  • Family history of mood disorder or suicidal behavior

What role do antidepressants play?

Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the Food and Drug Administration requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. The warnings call attention to the fact that children, teenagers and young adults under 25 might have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed.

Keep in mind that antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicide risk in the long run by improving mood.

What are the warning signs that a teen might be suicidal?

Warning signs of teen suicide might include:

  • Talking or writing about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” or “I won’t be a problem for you much longer”
  • Withdrawing from social contact
  • Having mood swings
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things
  • Giving away belongings when there is no other logical explanation for why this is being done
  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

What should I do if I suspect my teen is suicidal?

If you think your teen is in immediate danger, call 911, your local emergency number or a suicide hotline number — such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) in the United States.

If you suspect that your teen might be thinking about suicide, talk to him or her immediately. Don’t be afraid to use the word “suicide.” Talking about suicide won’t plant ideas in your teen’s head. Ask your teen to talk about his or her feelings and listen. Don’t dismiss his or her problems. Instead, reassure your teen of your love. Remind your teen that he or she can work through whatever is going on — and that you’re willing to help.

Also, seek medical help for your teen. Ask your teen’s doctor to guide you. Teens who are feeling suicidal usually need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in diagnosing and treating children with mental health problems. The doctor will want to get an accurate picture of what’s going on from a variety of sources, such as the teen, parents or guardians, other people close to the teen, school reports, and previous medical or psychiatric evaluations.

What can I do to prevent teen suicide?

You can take steps to help protect your teen. For example:

  • Address depression or anxiety. Don’t wait for your teen to come to you. If your teen is sad, anxious or appears to be struggling — ask what’s wrong and offer your help.
  • Pay attention. If your teen is thinking about suicide, he or she is likely displaying warning signs. Listen to what your child is saying and watch how he or she is acting. Never shrug off threats of suicide as teen melodrama.
  • Discourage isolation. Encourage your teen to spend time with supportive friends and family.
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Help your teen eat well, exercise and get regular sleep.
  • Support the treatment plan. If your teen is undergoing treatment for suicidal behavior, remind him or her that it might take time to feel better. Help your teen follow his or her doctor’s recommendations. Also, encourage your teen to participate in activities that will help him or her rebuild confidence.
  • Safely store firearms, alcohol and medications. Access to means can play a role if a teen is already suicidal.

If you’re worried about your teen, talk to him or her and seek help right away. This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.

5 days ago · Tuesday Tips: What's the best way to avoid the flu this year?

sick woman, flu, cold, tissue, headache

Who has time to be out with the flu? Protect yourself (and the people around you) this year with these simple steps.

Watch: What’s the best way to avoid the flu this year?

Journalists: This broadcast-quality video (:35) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.”