© Copyright 2021 Mayo Clinic Q&A
Mayo Clinic Q&A
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I appreciate these podcasts and hearing Covid guidance explained clearly, concisely and supported with data.
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So many questions answered!
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Question for COVID Podcast
Is the new EUA for prophylactic use of monoclonal antibodies effective against Omicron?
RN in MN to CNS in VA
5 out of 5 stars
I would’ve loved to have heard one refrain of, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas!” Great idea! Hey guys, you are bringing good stuff. Keep your respective chins up. I’ve shared various shows of yours many times…mostly ones re: COVID. You are making a difference and vast numbers of the public, both medical and non-medical, trust you to bring the correct data and science as you are doing. You are heard and you are appreciated!!
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Finally! A source of COVID information by medical practitioners that is based on pure, non-partisan FACTS! This is such a relief from the rubbish the news has become, constantly trying to instill fear into the public and failing to convey actual facts pertaining to the situation. THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Go Vegan Save Bunnies
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Here’s a question for you. Why would you allow someone to enter your clinic while not abiding by your mask policy?
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Better than the news!
Thanks for giving us the understanding of why we should not let our guard down!
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Accurate & Applicable Info
Tracy and Dr. Tom have a real knack for sharing medical information for all to understand by interviewing experts from various fields. Thank you for all your hard work, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic!
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Facts, not fear
This is podcast is what you need to stay informed on the coronavirus spread. World-class experts and excellent hosts. No hype or hysteria.
BU Football S&C
5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoy the hosts - they ask relative questions to today’s public health issues.
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- Copyright 2021 Mayo Clinic Q&A
- Surgical options for breast cancer treatmentMost people diagnosed with breast cancer undergo surgery to remove their cancer from the breast as well as have lymph nodes removed as part of their treatment. "Surgical resection of the tumor from the breast and also evaluation of the lymph nodes are used for the vast majority of patients with breast cancer, in particular, those patients where the disease is limited to the breast," says Dr. Judy C. Boughey, a surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic. "One of the areas where often breast surgery does not have a role is if the breast cancer has spread or metastasized to other areas of the body. So for patients with stage 4 breast cancer, surgery has a much more questionable role." Surgery is used to treat most stages of breast cancer, but it is rarely used to treat metastatic breast cancer — breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer surgery may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy. Breast cancer surgery includes different procedures, such as: Surgery to remove the entire breast (mastectomy) Surgery to remove a portion of the breast tissue (lumpectomy) Surgery to remove nearby lymph nodes Surgery to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy Which breast cancer operation is best for an individual depends on the size and stage of the cancer, other treatment options available, and the goals and preferences of each patient. For people with a very high risk of breast cancer, a preventive (prophylactic) mastectomy may be an option to reduce the risk of future breast cancer. With so many options and decisions to be made, preparing for breast cancer surgery can be a challenge. It's important to be comfortable with your surgeon and to have the support of family and loved ones. "Starting on the breast cancer journey is always a very challenging time," says Dr. Boughey. "Lean on your closest loved ones that you let into your inner circle and talk to them about your diagnosis, your treatment and your journey." Dr. Boughey also encourages people to remember that everyone's journey is unique and to rely on your care team for trusted information. "I think one thing to be very aware of with breast cancer is it is a very common disease, and every one of us knows someone or someone's relative that has been affected by this disease," explains Dr. Boughey. "Truthfully, breast cancer really is not one disease. And so I would just caution against hearing about your friends and their experience because it may have been a different size tumor and may have been treated a different way. And most importantly, it was likely a different tumor biology. And so you don't necessarily always have to listen to everybody's story and experience because that doesn't mean that yours will be the same. Share with your doctors some of the concerns that you've heard from your friends, from your colleagues, what you may have read on the internet, so that if they're not true, your team can dispel those myths for you and make you feel more comfortable." On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Boughey discusses how surgery is used in the treatment of breast cancer.0 comments0
- Mayo Clinic working to support Hispanic patients, staffThe Somos Latinos Mayo Employee Resource Group (MERG) was created in 2016 to promote, educate and celebrate the cultural heritage of Hispanic and Latino staff members and improve the patient experience. While the Somos Latinos MERG is based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Hispanic and Latino MERGs also are active elsewhere across Mayo. "Resource groups are the response to promoting inclusivity as well as championing a team-based approach for all staff," explains Carlos Rodriguez Jr., a senior strategist at Mayo Clinic and chair of the Somos Latinos MERG. "Essentially, our task is simple: to create a community that people feel a part of. And that's what we work to achieve every day." The work of MERGs supports several initiatives underway at Mayo Clinic to improve the experience for Hispanic and Latino patients. For example, Mayo is using in-person interpreters when possible, as well as video and phone interpretation, and making patient education materials available in Spanish. Another support option for patients is the Spanish-speaking patient coordinator program. "The patient coordinator programs are meant to have an individual whose job it is to help the patient navigate the health care system," says Dr. Enid Rivera-Chiauzzi, a Mayo Clinic OB-GYN and physician chair of the Somos Latinos MERG. "It's really complicated to figure out where you're supposed to be for an appointment, where you're supposed to park, who you were supposed to call, and really understanding what happened during your visit. And even if you are proficient in English and Spanish, it's just the culture. Maybe where you grew up is different than here. So the person who is matched with you is a bilingual individual who can help you navigate the health care world." Mayo Clinic also offers support to patients from Latin America who seek care. Representative offices in several countries — Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Peru — are staffed by people who speak the local language, and can answer questions, help request appointments and make travel arrangements. "If you think about a patient representative on the ground in a given country, it really affords the patient the opportunity to connect with Mayo Clinic and start the process before they get to us," explains Rodriguez. "One of the differentiating propositions of Mayo Clinic is the integrated approach. The overall health care system is difficult to navigate, particularly when you're not familiar with the environment. So starting that conversation and engagement early is key to making the long-term relationship with Mayo Clinic a positive one." Closer to home, work is underway at Mayo Clinic to build a Latino mentorship program for clinical staff that will ultimately benefit patients. "We want to create a community of physicians and health care professionals who have been supported along their journey by other Latino and Latina health care professionals, therefore increasing our numbers," explains Dr. Rivera-Chiauzzi. "Our aim is to have more of us in these positions, which will help our patients see more people who look like them, or at least be as equally represented as they are in the community in general. That doesn't mean, 'Oh, I can only see a doctor that looks exactly like me and is exactly like me.' But we want to be in an environment where we can see all kinds of people and then whatever excellent person takes care of me, I feel like 'Oh, this person welcomes me.' That's important." To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Dr. Rivera-Chiauzzi and Rodriguez join the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast to discuss Mayo Clinic's efforts to support Hispanic and Latino patients and staff.0 comments0
- Manufacturing new treatments with biotherapeuticsThrough research, clinical trials and biomanufacturing, Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics is working to develop new types of medicines derived from the human body to treat chronic and age-related diseases. Biologics are therapies that come from human sources — cells, blood, enzymes, tissues, genes or genetically engineered cells — for use in medicines. Biomanufacturing is focused on manufacturing commercial grade biologically based medicines for treatment. Some examples include the use of stem cells, gene therapy and cell therapy, and 3D printing of tissues and organs. "The important thing is that there's an opportunity to use these type of therapies to cure rather than just treat patients as we move forward looking at different ways of being able to use these products," says Dr. Julie Allickson, the Michael S. and Mary Sue Shannon Family Director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics. "It's definitely a bright future." Dr. Allickson also is the Otto Bremer Trust Director of Biomanufacturing and Product Development in the Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics. Mayo Clinic is working to move cellular discoveries from the lab to clinical trial and into commercially available therapies. To move technologies forward, partnerships are key. Mayo Clinic has formed a strategic collaboration with National Resilience Inc. to establish Rochester, Minnesota as a center for biomanufacturing regenerative technologies. Mayo also has manufacturing facilities in Jacksonville, Florida and Phoenix. Recently, Mayo Clinic, Hibiscus BioVentures, and Innoforce announced the launch of Mayflower BioVentures, a cell and gene therapy accelerator dedicated to identifying and forming companies around technologies that address unmet patient needs. All three organizations have a financial interest in the Mayflower collaboration. Mayo Clinic will use any revenue it receives to support its nonprofit mission in patient care, education and research. "There is a lot of investment in the field," says Dr. Allickson. "And Mayo Clinic is certainly prioritizing this across the enterprise, to allow the patients here to have treatments focused on rare and complex diseases. Here at Mayo Clinic, we want to make sure that that happens." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Allickson discusses the near- and long-term future of biomanufacturing and biotherapeutics.0 comments0
- Ask the Mayo Mom: Talking to kids about racismChildren learn about racial differences and racial bias from an early age, and parents and caregivers are their first teachers. It's important for parents and other adults to be role models for inclusive behaviors early in the lives of children life to decrease racial bias and improve cultural understanding. Experts encourage parents and caregivers to get comfortable with having difficult conversations about race and bias. "It's important for all children to have these discussions, and as an adult in any child's life, everything that you're doing is modeling for them what's okay and isn't okay," says Dr. Emily McTate, a Mayo Clinic pediatric psychologist. Parents may be surprised to find out that a baby's brain can notice race-based differences as early as 6 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs. When children have questions about racial differences, it's important to keep a child's developmental stage in mind and tailor age-appropriate messages. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these strategies for helping children understand and deal with racial bias: Talk to your children and acknowledge that racial differences and bias exist. Confront your own bias and model how you want your children to respond to others who may be different than them. Encourage your children to challenge racial stereotypes and racial bias by being kind and compassionate when interacting with people of all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. Another important step is teaching kids to be critical consumers of media. "I always think about all the moments, whether you're reading books together or watching animated movies together, whatever it is, and hit the pause button and talk about what's going on," says Dr. Daniel Hilliker, a Mayo Clinic pediatric psychologist. "Why is this person being represented in this fashion? And that can kind of open up the conversation about exploring some different perspectives." On this Ask the Mayo Mom edition of the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, host Dr. Angela Mattke is joined by Dr. McTate and Dr. Hilliker for a discussion on talking to kids about racism. Additional resources: " Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism." " Coming Together: Celebrating Every Child's Race, Ethnicity, Culture!" " Talking About Race: Who am I?"0 comments0
- Why are more people dying of uterine cancer?The number of people who die from uterine cancer is increasing, particularly among Black women. Also called endometrial cancer, uterine cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining, or endometrium, of the uterus. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 65,950 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S.this year, and about 12,550 people will die from the disease. Researchers recently reported the results of a study of 208,587 women ages 40 and older with uterine cancer. The study showed death rates for all types of uterine cancer increased significantly by 1.8% per year from 2010 to 2017. Death rates remained stable for the most common form of uterine cancer — Type 1 endometrial cancer — but increased by 2.7% per year for a rarer, more aggressive form called Type 2 endometrial cancer. "We do see a rise in diagnosis of uterine cancer," says Dr. Kristina Butler, a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist. "And we feel like that is because there's also a rise of some other illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, which are risk factors for uterine cancer. And because we're seeing more people experience those types of illnesses, uterine cancer rates are rising." The study also revealed racial disparities in uterine cancer death rates. Death rates from uterine cancer increased 6.7% annually among Hispanic women, 3.5% among Black women, 3.4% among Asian women and 1.5% among White women. Despite representing less than 10% of cases, nearly 18% of all deaths from uterine cancer occurred in Black women. "Addressing health disparities is a huge priority of our national organization, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology," explains Dr. Butler. "I think it's very clear that there are disparities as it relates to patient access to care. Also, opportunities to train providers in cultural competency, so that patients feel very comfortable coming and having that patient-doctor relationship. And we need to improve health care access for women in rural communities and take education to those communities so that those women feel comfortable reaching out to us when they need care." On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Butler discusses uterine cancer, disparities related to the disease, and what people can do to reduce their risk of developing this type of cancer.0 comments0
- Raising awareness of childhood cancerWhile childhood cancer is rare, 1 in every 266 children and adolescents will be diagnosed with cancer by age 20, according to the American Cancer Society. Each September, advocacy groups, health care institutions, patients and families recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help families who receive a cancer diagnosis. “A lot of people still don't know what to do if a child is diagnosed with cancer or where to go,” explains Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, a Mayo Clinic pediatric hematologist and oncologist. “We want people to know that we know that a cancer diagnosis is scary. We know that it’s life-altering. But we also want you to know that there's hope, that we are doing really good things here at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere. And there is hope for a cure, and there is life after childhood cancer.” Dr. Allen-Rhoades says funding is needed for more pediatric cancer research to continue to improve treatments. One area of focus for her has been sarcomas. Sarcoma — the term for a group of cancers that begin in the bones and in the soft or connective tissues — is one of the more common types of childhood cancer. Fortunately, recent treatment advances have increased survival rates. Of children diagnosed with cancer, 84% now survive five years or more. One of the advances in treatment has been improvement in radiation therapy techniques and the use of proton beam therapy to treat pediatric cancers. "Radiation therapy works very well for sarcomas," says Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, a Mayo Clinic pediatric hematologist and oncologist. "And the difference between conventional radiation and proton therapy radiation is that our radiation oncologists are able to contour a little bit tighter with proton therapy. Therefore, the surrounding tissue that is normal is spared from some of the side effects. This is really important in children who are growing because we want them to be able to grow normally." In addition to sparing healthy tissue from the effects of radiation, people who must undergo radiation therapy early in life are less likely to have long-term side effects and complications, such as secondary cancers, with proton beam therapy than with conventional radiation therapy. While treatments and cure rates for sarcomas have improved, Dr. Allen-Rhoades hopes for even better results in the future. “Sarcomas have been a tough nut to crack for sure in terms of research and novel innovative therapies,” says Dr. Allen-Rhoades. “We still have a ways to go, but we're doing much, much better than we were 20—30 years ago. But until we can cure everyone, it will never be enough.” On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Allen-Rhoades discusses pediatric sarcomas and the importance of funding for research and support of families dealing with pediatric cancer.0 comments0
- Early diagnosis of peripheral artery disease reduces risk of amputation, heart attack and strokePeripheral artery disease, or PAD, affects almost 10 million people in the U.S. Approximately one-third of patients will die within five years of a peripheral artery disease diagnosis, and 20% will experience a heart attack or stroke. Peripheral artery disease usually involves pain in the lower limbs caused by reduced blood flow due to narrowing of the arteries. Its symptoms, like reduced ability to walk due to leg pain, often are brushed off as signs of aging. While age is a factor, younger people with diabetes or who smoke also should be checked for the disease. "If you have risk factors for lower-extremity PAD — diabetes, tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, as well as age — it's really important to have those conversations with your provider about your ability to exercise or walk if you are having any limitation," explains Dr. Amy Pollak, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. Peripheral artery disease is detectable and treatable, but it's often not diagnosed early enough. This means patients are often not treated with the most aggressive therapies. Health disparities play a big role, with the highest rates of peripheral artery disease occurring in Black men and women. "There is an amputation epidemic," says Dr. Pollak. "And I don't use that word epidemic lightly. In today's climate, I use it intentionally. Depending upon where you live in our country, you may be at a higher risk of having an amputation for lower-extremity PAD, and not always be offered a revascularization procedure. So there is a lot of work that needs to be done to raise awareness of PAD, both for patients and health care providers." A new PAD Action Plan spearheaded by the American Heart Association is hoping to do just that. The plan serves as a roadmap for reducing the burden of peripheral artery disease by improving the awareness, diagnosis and treatment of PAD. The plan also highlights the many gaps and opportunities in PAD research to further reduce preventable complications and deaths for future generations. "The incidence of PAD is set to triple in the United States in the coming years," says Dr. Pollak, who is a co-chair of the PAD Action Plan. "So we have an important opportunity to not only prevent that from happening, but to prevent heart attacks and strokes to help people live longer lives with a greater degree of functional ability by diagnosing and treating PAD. When it comes to the health disparities, we need to be doing even more outreach to populations that have been historically not focused on with that important information about what PAD is, how it can present, and what treatment options there are." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Pollak discusses the importance of early diagnosis of PAD to reduce the risk of amputation, heart attack and stroke. Related posts: " Mayo Clinic Minute: How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?" " Peripheral artery disease can signal cardiovascular trouble for heart, brain and legs."0 comments0
- Ask the Mayo Mom: Tumor type, grade determine treatment for pediatric brain tumorsTreatment for brain tumors in children can differ from treatment for brain tumors in adults, so it is important to seek care from specialists in pediatric cancer and neurology. Pediatric brain tumors are masses or growths of abnormal cells that occur in a child's brain, or the tissue and structures near the brain. Of the many types of pediatric brain tumors, some are noncancerous, or benign, and some are cancerous, or malignant. Common brain tumors in infants, children and teenagers include: Gliomas These tumors begin in the brain or spinal cord. Types of gliomas include pilocytic astrocytomas, ependymomas and oligodendrogliomas. Medulloblastoma A medulloblastoma is the most common cancerous brain tumor in children. It starts in the lower back part of the brain, called the posterior fossa, and tends to spread through spinal fluid. Treatment and chance of recovery depend on many factors: the type of tumor, its location within the brain, whether it has spread, and the child's age and general health. "The good news is that the really bad tumors are fairly rare," says Dr. David Daniels, a Mayo Clinic pediatric neurosurgeon. "When we look at tumors, we look at their type or classification, and then a grading that goes along with that." Often, a biopsy of the tumor is performed to determine its type and grade. This information helps guide the course of treatment, which can include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. "The biggest thing is that grading," explains Dr. Daniels. "Is this a grade one tumor, which is very benign, or is this a grade four tumor, which is really aggressive? And so our treatment has to match the aggressiveness of that tumor, so to speak." Because new treatments and technologies are continually being developed, several options may be available at different points in treatment. As part of the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, pediatric specialists in Mayo's Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic work together as a team to develop an individual treatment plan for each child. Typically, a pediatric neuro-oncologist specializing in brain tumors is the child's primary doctor. This doctor coordinates access to other specialists from the pediatric brain tumor treatment team, including pediatric neurology, pediatric neurosurgery, neuroradiology, pediatric endocrinology, neuropathology, pediatric radiation oncology, pediatric oncology, child psychology and pediatric rehabilitation. On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, pediatrician and Ask the Mayo Mom host, Dr. Angela Mattke, is joined by Dr. Daniels to discuss common pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Daniels covers treatment, including when surgery may be an option, and highlights the latest in brain tumor research.0 comments0
- What is a cancer survivorship clinic?Many institutions that provide cancer care also offer cancer survivorship clinics. These clinics focus on helping people with cancer manage the physical, emotional and social effects of cancer and cancer treatment, as well as improving the overall health and well-being of cancer survivors. "Cancer survivorship visits can be very beneficial for the patients," says Dr. Meghna Ailawadhi, a Mayo Clinic general internist specializing in cancer survivorship. "They can provide a bridge between your primary care and your oncologist, and help patients sort out the posttreatment journey a little bit easier." Cancer survivorship clinics may focus on a specific cancer type or a specific age group, such as children, adults, or adolescents and young adults (ages 15 to 39). Many different specialists may be involved, including medical oncologists; rehabilitation specialists; nutritionists; and other specialties, like cardiology and gastroenterology, if needed. These clinics often help cancer survivors develop a survivorship care plan — a plan tailored to the individual survivor to make sure that person gets the most out of life after a cancer diagnosis. The care plan also can help inform the primary care physicians who care for these patients after active treatment is finished. "A survivorship care plan entails the details of their treatment, the details of their cancer journey, their pathology reports, and what kind of treatment — radiation, chemotherapy — they have received," explains Dr. Ailawadhi. "And there's also an assessment and a care plan for the future of how often these patients need to have their surveillance scans, what labs to look for, what signs to look for. It also addresses some of their long-term needs if they are suffering from peripheral neuropathy, chronic diarrhea or other posttreatment effects. So it's an extremely useful document both for the patient and for their primary care providers." On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ailawadhi discusses Mayo Clinic’s cancer survivorship clinics, what services they offer, and how to find similar services in your area. Also, check out these cancer survivorship articles: "Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Cancer survivorship needs are unique to each survivor." "Consumer Health: Reconnecting with loved ones after cancer treatment." "Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Living as a prostate cancer survivor." "Consumer Health: Managing your emotions after cancer treatment." "Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Diet and nutrition help cancer survivors return to good health." "Consumer Health: Life after cancer." "Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Meeting the unique needs of adolescent and young adult patients with cancer." "Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Life after lymphoma."0 comments0
- Updated COVID-19 boosters target omicron variantsThe first significant change to COVID-19 vaccines since their rollout came this week as the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for updated Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 boosters aimed at the omicron variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also signed off on the recommendation, clearing the way for the new COVID-19 booster to be administered. The new boosters are bivalent vaccines, meaning they target more than one strain of the virus. The new formulation targets the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants, in addition to the original coronavirus strain. BA.5 is responsible for nearly 90% of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the CDC. The Pfizer bivalent booster is approved for people 12 and up if they have already received their primary COVID-19 vaccine series and it has been at least two months since their last vaccine dose. The Moderna bivalent booster is available on the same timeline to people 18 and up. "This booster recommendation is in anticipation that there will be yet another surge as college students, grade school and high school students are gathering back together," explains Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "We're also preparing for cooler weather, meaning more indoor activities, family gatherings and the holidays — often without masks, unfortunately. We still need to take COVID seriously." Another big concern for vaccine experts is the upcoming flu season. The Southern Hemisphere is often an indicator of what's to come for the U.S. Australia's flu season exceeded its five-year average, particularly affecting children under age 5, according to a recent report. Experts worry that the relaxing of masking and social distancing recommendations that were in place for COVID-19 purposes the past two winters will be a factor. These measures also protected people from the flu. "When cold weather moves us indoors, a high viral circulation occurs in schools and other indoor settings. I think we are very likely to see a bad flu year," says Dr. Poland. "Now I know we've been predicting that for two years, but for the most part, people wore masks and it didn't happen. I don't think that'll be the case this year. People are not wearing masks, and we are very likely to get hit hard by influenza." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses the latest COVID-19 news and touches on other news, including monkeypox, polio and the upcoming flu season.0 comments0
- Helping kids prepare for back-to-school successIn some parts of U.S., school has already begun, and over the next several weeks, almost all children will be back in the classroom after the Labor Day holiday. Setting up students for success at school includes parents and caregivers helping kids develop routines and good habits for time management, nutrition and sleep. "Having routines is so important not only for our kids, but actually for our families and for us as adults, as well," explains Dr. Tina Ardon, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "And routines focusing on sleep are a huge part of how we can do well in an academic setting, but also really important for health in general for our kids. That's why kids grow. That's when brain development can happen. So focusing on a really good sleep schedule and routine is just so important for us to be prioritizing as families." Another important step to prepare for school is to make sure that a child's vaccinations are up to date. "With any illness, but particularly for our kids, if we want to keep them from missing school, from missing things that we can prevent, then we should take advantage of the tools we have available," says Dr. Ardon. "So vaccines are one of those great tools that we have, at helping either prevent disease or helping us not get quite as sick from disease." In addition to routine childhood vaccinations, Dr. Ardon recommends all children age 6 months and up be vaccinated against COVID-19 and also receive a flu vaccination when it's available. Another important part of preparing for school is dealing with the anxiety about the unfamiliar — a new environment, a new school, a different classroom. So how can parents help kids navigate the uncertainty? "Keeping open lines of communication with your kids is so important," says Dr. Ardon. There are lots of ways for us to kind of prepare ourselves for either a new classroom or a new school. We can look online at pictures of the new school. We can take advantage of return-to-school activities where you can meet the teacher and walk around preparing your child for that first day. We can talk about what they're maybe excited about or nervous about. Is it homework? Is it new friends, old friends? Just allowing your child to have that conversation with you can alleviate a lot of that stress, as well." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ardon offers tips on helping kids prepare for back to school.0 comments0
- Ask the Mayo Mom: Back-to-school Q&AGetting ready for a new school year can be exciting for children, parents and caregivers. But it also can be stressful and scary. Whether kids are heading to school for the first time or moving to a new school, it is common to be nervous when facing change. "It's important to let our kids know that it's really normal to feel this way," says Dr. Marcie Billings, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician. "Just try to support your kids and let them talk through their fears, talk through their challenges that they're dealing with. And don't think that you need every answer. It's really just about listening." Another common concern for parents is mental health and wellness and preparing their children to deal with the challenges of a new school year. Adding to the challenge is the fact that this is now the third school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents and students will need to understand masking and vaccination recommendations to help navigate the classroom setting as safely as possible. In addition to COVID-19 vaccinations, it is important to make sure children are up to date on other childhood immunizations, including preparing to get a flu shot as soon as it is available this fall. "Being vaccinated against COVID-19 and current on all childhood vaccinations is a really important part to returning to school safely," says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases physician. Dr. Rajapakse points out that masking recommendations may differ by school and region based on levels of transmission, but children who choose to wear masks should be supported by staff and other students. "There are certain children, for example, children with weakened immune systems or children who have people in their family with a weakened immune system, who may still choose to mask even if community transmission is low," explains Dr. Rajapakse. "I think it's important to recognize that anyone who wants to wear a mask in an indoor setting should be supported in doing so." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, "Ask the Mayo Mom" host Dr. Angela Mattke, a pediatrician in Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, is joined by Dr. Billings and Dr. Rajapakse for a discussion on back to school topics, including COVID-19, monkeypox, mental health in kids and teens, nutrition and sleep.0 comments0
- Successful treatment of cardiac amyloidosis depends on early diagnosisCardiac amyloidosis is a type of amyloidosis, which occurs when the body produces abnormal proteins that bind together to form a substance called amyloid. Amyloids can deposit in any tissue or organ, including the heart, kidneys, liver and nerves. When amyloid collects in the heart muscle, it causes irreversible thickening of the heart wall and disrupts heart function. It reduces your heart's ability to fill with blood between heartbeats, resulting in less blood being pumped with each beat. This can result in shortness of breath. Cardiac amyloidosis also can affect your heart's electrical system, resulting in a disturbed heart rhythm. Cardiac amyloidosis typically presents as a form of congestive heart failure. It is often overlooked because the symptoms can masquerade as other conditions. Unfortunately, there aren't any preventive strategies for cardiac amyloidosis, says Dr. Melissa Lyle, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. "So the key, really, is early detection," says Dr. Lyle. "We want to make sure that we can detect these patients earlier, to get them on the right treatments." Dr. Lyle says it's important that patients bring any concerning symptoms to their health care provider as soon as possible. At Mayo Clinic, people with symptoms that indicate they might have cardiac amyloidosis are diagnosed and treated by a team of experts in the Cardiac Amyloidosis Clinic. This specialized care is available at Mayo Clinic’s locations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. “This approach is a collaborative effort amongst several different specialties, including hematology, cardiology, transplant cardiology, as well as neurology and nephrology,” explains Dr. Lyle. “And our goal is really to provide an efficient evaluation for our patients so that we can quickly come to the correct diagnosis and offer the best treatment option. And we're engaging all of our different specialties for this comprehensive visit to provide the best overall care.” On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Lyle discusses diagnosis, standard treatment options and new therapies for treating cardiac amyloidosis.0 comments0
- Protect your skin from the summer sunWhether swimming in the pool, a trip to the lake or a day at the beach, summertime often means sun exposure. And protection from the sun is the focus of Summer Sun Safety Month every August. Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. While it most often develops on skin exposed to the sun, but it also can occur on areas of skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. "And the incidence of skin cancer is rising," says Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist. “We all want to be on the Earth longer, and we appreciate time and aging. But the older we are, the higher our risk for skin cancer.” The three major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the best chance for successful skin cancer treatment. While it is common to have freckles and moles develop over time, it is important to know your skin and recognize when changes occur. "It's important to know what skin lesions you have," explains Dr. Davis. "Know what they look like, so that if they change, you can come to the dermatologist or health care provider for evaluation." Melanoma is the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer. Dr. Davis says the "melanoma alphabet" can help with early detection: Asymmetry Look for moles with irregular shape. Border Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders. Changes in color Look for growths with different or uneven colors. Diameter Look for new growth of more than one-quarter of an inch in diameter. Evolving Look for changes over time. While melanoma is more common with age, pediatric melanoma can occur. “Often, it's not on everyone's radar because we don't believe that children can have skin malignancy, but that is not true,” says Dr. Davis. “It's simply less common. When children get melanoma, they can present with the same signs and symptoms as adults. However, they can also have different symptoms. Pediatric melanoma tends to be skin-colored or amelanotic more commonly than dark or pigmented. So, if a child develops a skin-colored, pink or red bump, or something that used to be flat and then becomes raised, that would be of concern.” On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Davis discusses skin cancer detection and treatment. Dr. Davis also recommends steps to take to protect your skin including avoiding ultraviolet rays, and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.0 comments0
- What happens after colorectal cancer treatment?While colorectal cancer is still the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., continuing improvements in screening and treatment mean many people diagnosed with colorectal cancer now can expect to survive long after diagnosis. The American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 1.5 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the U.S. But what happens after treatment for colorectal cancer is complete? Do survivors of colorectal cancer return to life as they knew it before their diagnosis? "I think there are three main things that I see our patients really concerned with when they start thinking about finishing their treatment for colorectal cancer," says Dr. David Etzioni, a colorectal surgeon and chair of the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "The first and biggest concern they have is whether or not their disease will completely go away and stay gone. And this is, I think, a fundamental concern for any patient treated for cancer of any kind." Dr. Etzioni explains the other two common concerns for survivors of colorectal cancer are how the treatment will affect their day-to-day quality of life, and whether or not they will need an ostomy bag temporarily or permanently. An ostomy is a surgically created opening in your abdomen that allows waste or urine to leave your body and be collected in a bag or pouch. For survivors of colorectal cancer, this may be temporary to give the colon time to heal. But, depending on the extent of surgery to remove the cancer and the location of the cancer, sometimes a permanent ostomy bag is needed. Dr. Etzioni says education can alleviate the fears patients have about needing an ostomy bag. "When I do have a patient who's worried what the bag is and what it might mean for their life — it might be a temporary or permanent bag — we have a lot of educational resources here at Mayo available to them. We often will send them to our osteo nurses, so they can actually try just wearing the appliance before they've undergone the surgery. They can see what it might be like to wear that underneath their clothes," explains Dr. Etzioni. "We also have a support group that consists of patients who have an ostomy. They discuss with each other what challenges they faced, and they're very supportive with each other. And I have a group of patients who are now with an ostomy who I can call on to reach out to a new patient of mine and talk about what it might mean to live with an ostomy. And that's something that I found to be very effective and can really help patients to get over that hump to accept that possibility for cancer treatment." Finally, Dr. Etzioni says the support of family, friends and loved ones is an important part of the journey for patients with colorectal cancer. "The patients who undergo treatment with a strong, consistent, omnipresent support system, they simply do better — not just emotionally, but also just in terms of the ability to tolerate treatment," says Dr. Etzioni. "I think they literally have better medical and surgical outcomes." On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Etzioni discusses what people can expect after colorectal cancer treatment ends, and how to achieve the best possible quality of life.0 comments0
- Fueling the young athleteWhen it comes to sports and activities, what a child eats can affect performance. Sports nutrition focuses on not only on good eating habits, but also on what an athlete might need before exercising and after as a part of recovery. Of course, sports nutrition goes beyond simply what you eat. When you eat is important, too. Understanding the right balance and timing of taking in carbohydrates, proteins and hydration can help athletes play their best. Eating a healthy diet ensures that athletes are getting all the nutrients their bodies need to produce energy to perform and to keep muscles, bones, joints and tendons healthy. Parents and kids should know the basics of sports nutrition and understand how supplements work and which products are beneficial. They also should be wary of supplements and products marketed to athletes because many products do not live up to their claims to increase strength, speed, and athletic skills. "Before you even consider supplement, you've got to make sure your diet and the foundation of that diet is solid," explains Luke Corey, a registered dietician and sports medicine expert with by Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. "What I tell my athletes is that unless you have a solid diet in place, eating every couple of hours consuming nutrient dense foods hydrating, well, supplements are not going to do for you what you think they're going to do." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Ask the Mayo Mom host Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, is joined by Luke Corey to discuss sports nutrition for young athletes. Topics discussed include what to eat before and after a workout; supplements and drinks including protein, creatine, electrolytes, and pre-workout caffeinated drinks; and concerns about calorie restrictive diets for athletes in some sports including wresting and gymnastics.0 comments0
- Managing childhood asthmaAsthma is a lung condition that causes swelling of the airways. It can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. It's the most common chronic disease among children, although it affects adults, as well. More than 262 million people globally are affected by asthma, and more than 461,000 have died due to the disease, according to the World Health Organization. In childhood asthma, the lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers, such as inhaling pollen or catching a cold or other respiratory infection. Childhood asthma can cause bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, sports, school and sleep. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause dangerous asthma attacks. Childhood asthma isn't a different disease from asthma in adults, but children face unique challenges. The condition is a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and missed school days. Unfortunately, childhood asthma can't be cured, and symptoms can continue into adulthood. But with the right treatment, children can keep symptoms under control and prevent damage to growing lungs. Maintaining good day-to-day asthma control is the key to keeping symptoms at bay and preventing asthma attacks. On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Ask the Mayo Mom host Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, is joined by Mayo Clinic Children’s Center expert, Dr. Manuel Arteta, a pediatric pulmonologist, to discuss asthma in children.0 comments0
- Practical approaches to breastfeedingBreastfeeding can be challenging, but help is available for new mothers. Lactation consultants, either at the hospital or through organizations like La Leche League, can help with learning the positions that work best mom and baby, and offer tips that can help with learning this new skill of breastfeeding. While breastfeeding benefits for the baby are well-known, the mother also benefits. "It's definitely a great healthy choice for moms to breastfeed," explains Rebekah Huppert, a lactation consultant and nurse at Mayo Clinic. "We know that with breastfeeding, we see a reduction in mom's risk for cancer, primarily breast and ovarian cancer; we see a reduced risk for diabetes; and a reduced risk for cardiovascular issues later in life. It can help reduce bleeding right after delivery by causing some contractions of the uterus. Evidence that shows that breastfeeding helps with weight loss, as well. It just takes a lot of calories to make breast milk, so we burn through those quickly when we're lactating. Those are just a few of the benefits, but they're big ones for moms." The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months of life before introducing nutritious complementary foods. The organization also encourages social and systemic changes to support mothers who choose to breastfeed. This summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations supporting mothers to continue breastfeeding for two years or beyond. These recommendations align with guidelines provided by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Huppert advises women to not feel undue pressure with these new guidelines. "It's a sensitive topic for women, especially those who want to do more and find that their body isn't cooperating or sometimes their job isn't accommodating," says Huppert. "So it is important to make sure that moms know that there are multiple ways we nourish our babies. We nourish them by holding them, and by talking to them and reading to them. It isn't just food. And at the end of the day, maternal health — having a mom who is happy and healthy — is going to be the most important thing for a child's growth and development." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Ask the Mayo Mom host Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, is joined by Mayo Clinic Children’s Center lactation expert Rebekah Huppert to discuss practical approaches to breastfeeding.0 comments0
- Cancer rehabilitationCancer rehabilitation is available before, during and after cancer treatment. It helps people with cancer maintain and restore physical and emotional well-being, cope with the side effects of cancer, and recover more quickly and more fully from cancer treatment. Cancer rehabilitation involves many types of specialists working together to develop a personal rehabilitation plan that considers a person's preferences, strengths and goals. "Cancer rehabilitation aims to help patients maintain function, restore function, and, more broadly, maintain personhood," says Dr. Andrea Cheville, a Mayo Clinic specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. "We obviously don't want the process of curing cancer to leave patients with lasting issues that are going to compromise the quality of their life." Cancer rehabilitation can include help from a wide variety of specialists, including physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathologists, and psychologists. "All these specialists work in close partnership to develop an individualized program for each unique individual that meets their needs, goals and preferences," explains Dr. Cheville. Dr. Cheville encourages people with cancer to include their family and caregivers in the cancer rehabilitation process. It is important for caregivers to understand the patient's goals and can support the work needed to reach them. "The ideal for a cancer rehab team is the full engagement of the caregiver or partner," says Dr. Cheville. " It truly is a partnership and a team effort." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Cheville discusses what's involved in cancer rehabilitation and how it can help people with cancer cope with the challenges that come with cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.0 comments0
- Father-daughter duo taking part in Transplant Games of AmericaCarly Kelly was born with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, a disease that not only affects the kidneys, but also can lead to liver problems. She spent the first month of her life in the Neonatal ICU at Mayo Clinic, where physicians told Carly's family she would eventually need a kidney transplant. "I was the first one to register as a donor," says Tim Kelly, Carly's father. "And I was so blessed to be a match. Carly and I have the exact same blood type: AB negative. There are so many people out there that are waiting for kidney and other organs. It is such a long waitlist, and to be able to give my daughter a kidney right off the bat was so fortunate for both of us." At age 8, Carly had her first organ transplant, receiving a kidney from her father. In 2019, Carly went into liver failure she received a liver transplant on May 2, 2019. 10 months later, Carly received her second kidney transplant. All three transplants have taken place at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Now 27 years old, Carly is doing well and hasn't let her transplants slow her down. She and her father will compete in the 2022 Transplant Games of America, which will take place July 29-Aug. 3 in San Diego. The games are open to transplant recipients, living donors and donor families in different categories. Carly and Tim will be part of Team MN-DAK, which is sponsored by LifeSource. This will be their third time competing in the games, taking part in cycling, pickleball and cornhole. They've been preparing together for the event. "Every day, we'll bike, or we'll go for a walk, or we'll play pickleball or we'll throw some bags," says Carly. "Being together and preparing, it's something just my dad and I do, which is really cool. It's not really about competing. It's more about honoring your donor." There are nearly 106,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Tim and Carly both say that competing in the games is not only about honoring the donors, but also raising awareness. "Please registered to be a donor," implores Tim. "One person can save up to eight lives. And it's easy thing to do. Carly wouldn't be here without multiple donors." To register to be a donor, visit the Donate Life America website. On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Carly and Tim Kelly share their story.0 comments0
- Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Combatting drug shortagesDrug shortages continue to be a major health care issue in the U.S., with more than 200 ongoing and active shortages per year since 2018. "Drug shortages are not new to health care," explains Dr. Mary Gilmer, director of pharmaceutical supply and procurement for Mayo locations across the Midwest. "But, really, over the last two years with the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortages have really exposed the vulnerability of our global drug supply chain. And these drug shortages remain high, despite decades of continued and increased awareness, effort and significant resource investment in these drug shortage programs at the highest level." At Mayo Clinic, the Pharmacy and Theruapuetics Committee has strategies and an organized approach to managing each drug shortage that's encountered. "We engage our staff right down to the front-line team members when we're experiencing a shortage," says Dr. Gilmer. "When we place an order for a medication, and we do not receive sufficient quantities of what we're needing to take care of our patients, that's when we start escalating it, and really coordinating around how we understand and identify shortages so that we can best proactively manage them. So that's getting everybody on board for awareness, and any changes in our electronic health system that we need — or engaging our formulary colleagues to understand what alternatives or substitutes we can use." In addition to work done internally, Mayo Clinic also has taken a leadership role in combating drug shortages across the U.S., including joining the End Drug Shortages Alliance. The coalition is a collaboration of health system, supply chain and industry partners seeking to prevent drug shortages by solving pharmaceutical supply challenges and increasing transparency. Mayo was also a founding member of Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drug company whose goal is to reduce shortages of essential medications that hospitals use. Civica Rx recently announced plans to manufacture and distribute affordable insulin. "We often talk about mitigating the impact of a drug shortage, but our goal is really to get further upstream and actually end them and stop them from happening,"says Dr. Eric Tichy, chair of the Division of Pharmacy Supply Solutions at Mayo Clinic. "So we do a lot of advocacy with the government and different regulatory agencies. And anytime someone says they want to help end or manage drug shortages, we're always interested in what that opportunity is." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Drs. Gilmer and Tichy discuss Mayo Clinic's work to combat drug shortages.0 comments0
- Ask the Mayo Mom: Managing heavy menstrual cycles and demystifying treatment optionsThe menstrual cycles for adolescents vary significantly, including the age at which the first period begins. Frequency, length of period, and amount of bleeding also vary widely. "The factors that define when you're going to get your first period really is when did mom get her first period, so genetic factors, but there are a lot of lifestyle factors, too" says Dr. Asma Chattha, chair of Pediatric Gynecology at Mayo Clinic. "Definitely weight gain and rate of weight gain plays into it as well. New research is suggesting socio-economic factors and adverse childhood experiences also affect when you get your first period. So that's probably why there's such a variation and when you'll first get your period." Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. While what's considered normal covers a wide range, heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles can be a concern. In these cases, teens and their parents should reach out to their health care team for an evaluation. "From a hematology standpoint, we always worry that there's some kind of predilection to bleeding," explains Dr. Asmaa Ferdjallah, a Mayo Clinic pediatric hematologist. "And there's a few inherited bleeding disorders that are not that uncommon in the population, honestly. And sometimes their only presentation is heavy periods. At times, many of these girls and young women go their whole life, and they just don't know that they have these deficiencies, or bleeding propensities, and those are fairly easy to screen for." Another common issue is menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Many girls and women have menstrual cramps just before and during their menstrual periods. For some, the discomfort is merely annoying. For others, they can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month. Menstrual cramps that aren't caused by another condition tend to lessen with age and often improve after giving birth. There are hormonal and non-hormonal treatment options and products to help girls and young women cope with heavy periods. "I know it's hard to talk about these things, but talk to your health care team with any question you have about heavy periods," says Dr. Ferdjallah. "Ask all your questions. None of them are dumb, and we will do our best to help you. More often than not, we can find you a solution to make your periods better." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Ask the Mayo Mom host Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, is joined by Mayo Clinic Children’s Center experts Drs. Chattha and Ferdjallah to discuss misconceptions about, and treatment options for, heavy menstrual cycles. More resources: Dads, daughters and talking about menstruation — advice from an expert.0 comments0
- Liquid biopsy can help guide cancer treatmentWhen cancer spreads from its original location to other parts of the body, it has metastasized. Central nervous system metastases occur when cancer cells spread from their original site to the brain and spinal cord. Any cancer can spread to the central nervous system, but the types most likely to cause such metastases are lung, breast, colon and kidney cancers, and melanoma. Treatment for brain and spinal cord metastases can help ease symptoms, slow tumor growth and extend life. To determine which treatment might work best for a person's tumor type, some health care professionals now use liquid biopsies. When a metastatic tumor is in a place in the body that cannot be reached through surgery for a tissue biopsy, liquid biopsies are especially helpful. A liquid biopsy involves collecting fluid and analyzing it for tumor biomarkers that can help health care professionals determine the tumor's molecular structure and individualize treatment for the best outcome. "So we have excellent drugs for different cancer types that are really based off of your specific cancer," explains Dr. Wendy Sherman, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. "So, not just your lung cancer, but does your lung cancer have a specific mutation? And there are drugs that match up to the mutation that have been very effective." Dr. Sherman explains that halfof the time when a cancer travels to a different part of the body, particularly to the brain, the cancer may change and lose its mutation. "So, if you treat someone based off of the information that you had a couple years ago from where the cancer started, that may not reflect the current state of your cancer and what it looks like," says Dr. Sherman. And, so, our treatment really depends on that. And with a lot of these new-generation treatments that are going after these mutations, it has been very beneficial to look for those in the spinal fluid. And it absolutely has improved how people deal with this from a symptom standpoint because we're often able to give them often drugs that are better tolerated because they're more targeted." Research is underway to further expand the use of liquid biopsies. "We want to learn more about the use of liquid biopsy, particularly as it pertains to spinal fluid for not just brain metastases but also for cancers that start in the brain," explains Dr. Sherman. "And then also, can we use other fluids in the body? Those samples — urine and blood — are being collected and tested so that hopefully we can make progress toward that use." On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Sherman discusses the use of liquid biopsy in caring for people with breast, lung and gastric cancer that has spread to the brain and spinal cord.0 comments0
- BA.5 omicron variant fueling latest COVID-19 surgeThe BA.5 omicron variant is now the dominant strain in the U.S., and it is leading to a new wave of COVID-19 infections. BA.5 was responsible for nearly 54% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and BA.4, a similar variant, accounted for another 17%, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts are concerned because this particular variant appears to be good at evading the immune system. "This BA.5 variant is hypercontagious, and right behind it, new variants are coming," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "We will continue to generate these variants until people are masked and immunized." Dr. Poland explains that the transmissibility of BA.5 represents the evolution of the virus to become more contagious and able to evade immune protection from previous infection or vaccination. "Whether you've been vaccinated, whether you've been previously infected, whether you've been previously infected and vaccinated, you have very little protection against BA.5 in terms of getting infected or having mild to moderate infection," says Dr. Poland. "Thankfully, you still do have good protection against dying, being hospitalized or ending up on a ventilator if you are up to date on your vaccinations." Due to the consequences of reinfection, including the possibility of long COVID-19, Dr. Poland urges people to continue to take precautions to protect themselves. "The reality is, it's important to be up to date on the COVID-19 vaccinations that are recommended for your age group, health condition, etc.," says Dr. Poland. "Sometime this fall, we may well have a variant-focused vaccine, so get it when it becomes available. And wear a proper mask properly when you are indoors around people who are not your family or in a crowded outdoor venue." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland shares the latest COVID-19 news and answers listener questions.0 comments0
- Advances in managing MSAn estimated 2.8 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. In this disease, the immune system attacks the protective covering around the nerve fibers. "Multiple sclerosis — the term means multiple scars — is a disease that leads to damage of the central nervous system, which is the brain, the spinal cord and the optic nerve," explains Dr. Eoin Flanagan, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms. Most people with MS have a relapsing-remitting disease course. They experience periods of new symptoms or relapses that develop over days or weeks and usually improve partially or completely. These relapses are followed by quiet periods of disease remission that can last months or even years. While there is no cure, treatments can help modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms. "In the last five to 10 years, we really have strong medications that can keep MS very quiet," says Dr. Flanagan. "We're hopeful that will prevent a lot of the long-term damage that patients used to get in the past where after many years of having an MS diagnosis they may struggle with walking or have additional disability that would develop from those scars. And I think with these new medications we're going to be able to stop MS in its tracks. So it's a really hopeful time for all of our patients with MS." In addition to medications to manage MS, Dr. Flanagan notes that patients with MS can be monitored in new ways. New technologies include a digital floor mat to monitor a patient's waking, an optical scan that can measure microscopic nerve damage, and a blood test to measure inflammation levels and response to treatments. "We really are trying to embrace technology here at the Mayo Clinic," says Dr. Flanagan. "We're using these new technologies to both learn more about MS and see how we can better help our patients because, at the end of the day, the needs of the patient come first." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Flanagan discusses advances in the management of MS.0 comments0