Mayo Clinic Q&A

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, Dr. Tom Shives and Tracy McCray ask the questions and get easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.

Most Recent Episodes

How information technology helps in the COVID-19 response
June 3, 2020

During to the COVID-19 pandemic, teleworking and distance learning has become a necessity. The new normal means many people needed technology to do their jobs, and that is certainly true at Mayo Clinic. Information technology (IT) has aided Mayo Clinic during the pandemic in two significant ways. One, thousands of employees moved out of their offices and into their homes to work. And two, patients now more than ever are being seen by their health care providers using video visits and tele-health.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Mark Henderson, division chair of IT at Mayo Clinic, discusses how IT has aided in the COVID-19 response.

Expedited breast cancer treatment
June 2, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that hasn’t stopped is the need for cancer treatment. While patients might be hesitant to leave their homes for weeks at a time for treatment, there is a fast-track treatment option at Mayo Clinic for some breast cancer patients. Certain low-risk breast cancer patients can now complete their surgery and radiation in less than 10 days. 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Tina Hieken, a Mayo Clinic surgeon, explains how the expedited treatment program combines a pathologist's mid-surgery confirmation that the cancer has not spread, with a type of partial breast radiation called brachytherapy

Health and Human Services plays key role in supporting Americans amid COVID-19 crisis
May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique situation that has required work across federal and state agencies to support communities and frontline workers during this challenging time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has played a key role by providing effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health and social services during the COVID-19 crisis. 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Eric Hargan, HHS deputy secretary, discusses the ways the department is supporting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spike (S) proteins on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, give the virus its corona (crown-like) appearance. These spike proteins bind to receptors on healthy cells and fuse with their outer membrane. The SARS-CoV-2 then delivers its genome into the cell and uses the cell’s machinery to replicate itself.

What we know about virus transmission
May 27, 2020

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person to person. While it is possible that someone can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, discusses virus transmission and steps to take to keep yourself safe.

Hospital safety during COVID-19
May 26, 2020

While many nonessential businesses closed or suspended operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals continued to operate and take care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. How have Mayo Clinic hospitals navigated the pandemic and kept patients and staff safe?

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Robert Cima, chair of hospital practice at Mayo Clinic, explains Mayo Clinic's efforts to maintain safety and how staff has risen to the challenge of practicing medicine during a pandemic.

Mayo Clinic specimen collection paperwork with testing tubes

Understanding COVID-19 testing
May 22, 2020

Mayo Clinic has been a leader in developing and deploying testing for COVID-19, but understanding the different types of tests and what they measure can be confusing. Terms like viral, molecular, serology and antibodies aren’t clear for everyone. What are the different COVID-19 tests, and what do they do?

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Bobbi Pritt, chair of the Division of Clinical Microbiology at Mayo Clinic, explains testing options for COVID-19.

Convalescent plasma therapy
May 21, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government is supporting a national Expanded Access Program to collect and provide convalescent plasma to patients in need across the country (uscovidplasma.org). Convalescent plasma refers to blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19. That plasma, which contains antibodies against the virus, is then used to treat others with advanced illness. Working collaboratively with industry, academic and government partners, Mayo Clinic is serving as the lead institution for the program.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Philippe Bauer, site principal investigator for Mayo Clinic in Rochester, discusses the COVID-19 convalescent plasma program.

image depicting the Covid-19-causing coronavirus.

COVID-19 update
May 20, 2020

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, covers the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Poland reviews the latest literature on COVID-19, discusses vaccine trials and explains some unique symptoms of COVID-19.

Ethnic disparities and COVID-19
May 19, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to take hundreds of lives each day in the U.S., public health officials say minorities are being affected disproportionately. Early data shows that African Americans and other U.S. ethnic minorities have contracted COVID-19 at a higher rate and experience greater sickness and a higher death rate than other Americans. 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Irene Sia, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert, and Dr. Mark Wieland, a Mayo Clinic community internal medicine physician, discuss ethnic disparities and COVID-19, including research being done with the Rochester Healthy Community Partnership.

Surgical practice during COVID-19
May 14, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced elective surgeries to be delayed while hospitals prepared for the potential influx of COVID-19 patients. Thanks to effective efforts to flatten the curve and the lifting of executive stay-at-home orders, Mayo Clinic is again able to see patients for elective surgeries. What’s different for patients when having surgery during the coronavirus era? And what extra steps is Mayo Clinic taking to keep patients and staff safe? 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Michael Kendrick, chair of the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic, explains how surgical practice remains safe in the time of COVID-19.