Mayo Clinic Q&A

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts

Most Recent Episodes

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The new work-life balancing act
July 7, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way people work. As vaccination rates increase, some people are returning to the office. But many companies have opted to keep their employees working from home permanently. This change has positive and negative side effects, including the mental health aspects of working from home. 

"Any time there are changes, it can be challenging for people, particularly when you're not used to working from home," says Dr. Greg Couser, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and occupational medicine specialist. "I think there's a big issue for people of setting up good boundaries between work and home. So that's a big challenge." 

Another challenge for many is missing the in-person contact with co-workers. 

"We receive some of our identity from our work," says Dr. Couser. "And so, when we don't have that sort of daily contact with our colleagues, that shifts our identity just a little bit."

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Couser discusses how to cope with the challenges of working from home.

Taking the fear out of cardiac testing
July 2, 2021

When it comes to the heart, it can be scary to seek care when you think you might be having a problem. Tests may be necessary to evaluate your heart, and the unfamiliar terminology associated with these tests can be confusing and intimidating. 

Understanding terms like electrocardiogramechocardiogramcoronary angiogram or stress test may help alleviate the fear.

"Whenever we order these tests, we don't want you to have anxiety," says Dr. Christopher DeSimone, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. "These tests are all done for a reason: to get you a diagnosis and to help you feel better. "

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. DeSimone breaks down the terminology and explains what to expect during cardiac testing and evaluation.

Summer travel and people not in your bubble during COVID-19 pandemic
June 30, 2021

"The reason we have the COVID-19 delta variant, the reason we have the delta plus variant is because of unimmunized people who get infected," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. He adds that 99.2% of the recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are in people not vaccinated against the virus. 

This is why he cautions folks who may be traveling this Fourth of July holiday and throughout the summer. 

"You don't know what variants people are carrying, how symptomatic they are, the health of their immune system, or if they've been vaccinated," says Dr. Poland. "When you are around groups of people indoors that are not in your bubble, so to speak, I think you should still wear a proper mask." 

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland explains why, even if you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you should still consider being masked in some situations. He also discusses breakthrough infections in certain subpopulations, and what that may mean for needing booster shots.

a medical illustration of carotid artery disease

Early detection and new therapies for carotid artery stenosis
Jun 28, 2021

Carotid artery stenosis is a narrowing of the large arteries or vessels on the sides of the neck that carry blood to the head and the brain. This narrowing is usually the result of a buildup of fatty deposits known as plaque within the arteries. Stenosis can worsen over time to completely block the artery and cause strokes. 

"Most of the time, there are no signs or symptoms. And that is a problem because it is a silent disease that progresses over time until there is an acute rupture of the plaque," says Dr. Luis Savastano, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon. "And when that happens, a clot can form in the surface, and the clot can be pushed downstream to the brain. And that is what causes the stroke."

But with early detection and new targeted therapies, injury to the brain can be minimized. On the Q&A podcast, Dr. Savastano discusses new techniques and the tools used to treat carotid artery stenosis and find the root cause of a stroke.

Sorting out car seat safety with the Mayo Mom
June 25, 2021

The best way to keep your children safe in the car is to secure them in a properly installed car seat. But more than half of all car seats may be improperly installed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

So many car seat options are on the market, and many parents find this overwhelming. It's important to buy the right type of car seat, properly install it, and ensure the seat and straps fit your child. The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size and developmental needs.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, a special edition of "Ask the Mayo Mom" focuses on summer and car seat safety. Dr. Angela Mattke a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and host of "Ask the Mayo Mom" is joined by Dr. Meghan Cain, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, and Nicole Guerton, a trauma center injury prevention coordinator at Mayo Clinic Children's Center and a certified child passenger safety technician.

a white male and a Black woman, both Mayo Clinic nurses in scrubs prepare COVID-19 vaccine syringes

COVID-19 vaccination rates stalling, infections from the delta variant rising
June 23, 2021

Summer and fall are going to be a dangerous time for people in the U.S. who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group

"I really think this exponential rise in the number of sequences that are delta must be taken seriously," says Dr. Poland. "We are seeing a surge again, in hospitalizations in the UK, because of the delta variant in people who have not been vaccinated or who only got one dose of vaccine. This is a really critical message for the public to hear because in the U.S. we are stalled in vaccination rates."

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland talks more about a possible COVID-19 surge and being emotionally ready for the pandemic to be over. He also answers listener questions about COVID-19 reinfection, the latest on antiviral development for COVID-19, and the latest news about COVID-19 vaccines affecting menstrual cycles and sperm quality.

Barriers to care for LGBTQ community
June 21, 2021

June is Pride Month, which is celebrated annually to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender queer and gender nonconforming people have had on history. LGBTQ people often experience barriers to accessing health care and preventive services, which can result in disparities in both cancer risk and treatment. 

"Many of those disparities are rooted in stigma and discrimination that have really historically been an issue for this population," says Dr. Jewel Kling, chair of the Division of Women's Health in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Kling discusses cancer screening, prevention and treatment for LGBTQ people, and the importance of finding a trusted healthcare provider.

a futuristic 3D graphic image of a heart EKG, perhaps representing AI artificial intelligence

Cardiology pumps AI into patient care
June 17, 2021

When it comes to technology, Mayo Clinic is a leader in bringing the tools and science of artificial intelligence, or AI, into practice. In health care, AI is simply a way of programming a computer to process and respond to data for better patient outcomes.

Mayo's AI work in Cardiovascular Medicine uses computer algorithms applied to EKG to aid in early risk prediction and diagnosis of serious and complex heart problems. Early applications have used AI and EKG technology to show the difference between numerical and biological age, to screen for atrial fibrillation, and to detect a weak heart pump before a patient is symptomatic. 

"The use of AI will help us detect diseases earlier, so that we can begin treatment sooner, and can better utilize health care resources," says Dr. Paul Friedman, chair of the Department of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic. 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Friedman discusses the latest research and applications for using AI in cardiology.

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Examining reports of heart inflammation in young people after second COVID-19 vaccine
June 16, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is holding an emergency COVID-19 meeting this week to discuss COVID-19 vaccine safety as it relates to news that young people may develop myocarditis after receiving a second dose of a messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, is usually caused by a viral infection. But it can result from a reaction to a drug or be part of a more general inflammatory condition. Signs and symptoms include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath and arrhythmias.

"There have been about 789 cases reported," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "And that can happen for a whole variety of reasons." 

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland details the concerns about the myocarditis reports. He also discusses the latest news on the COVID-19 delta variant, and he explains what scientists are calling the "two-track pandemic."

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Mayo Clinic experts discuss new Alzheimer’s treatment option
June 15, 2021

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive brain disorder that is the most common cause of dementia. 

Aducanumab targets amyloid plaques in the brain that are believed to be an essential component of Alzheimer’s disease. But what does the approval of a new Alzheimer's drug mean for patients?

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and Dr. David Knopman, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, discuss the challenges ahead to identify the appropriate patients for treatment with aducanumab.