August 29, 2012

Mayo Clinic in the News Weekly Highlights


August 30, 2012

Mayo Clinic in the News is a weekly highlights summary of major media coverage. If you would like to be added to the weekly distribution list, send a note to Emily Blahnik with this subject line: SUBSCRIBE to Mayo Clinic in the News.

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Karl Oestreich, manager enterprise media relations

NY Times
Genes Now Tell Doctors Secrets They Can’t Utter
by Gina Kolata

In laboratories around the world, genetic researchers using tools that are ever more sophisticated to peer into the DNA of cells are increasingly finding things they were not looking for, including information that could make a big difference to an anonymous donor…Other times the findings indicate that the study subjects or their relatives who might have the same genes are at risk for diseases they had not considered. For example, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found genes predisposing patients to melanoma in cells of people in a pancreatic cancer study — but most of those patients had died, and their consent forms did not say anything about contacting relatives.

Circulation: The New York Times has the third highest circulation nationally, behind USA Today (2nd) and The Wall Street Journal (1st) with 1,150,589 weekday copies circulated and 1,645,152 circulated on Sundays.

Context: Gloria Petersen, Ph.D. holds appointments in the departments of Health Sciences Research, Gastroenterology and Medical Genetics. Dr. Petersen's research interests and expertise are in the application of genetic epidemiology to cancer etiology, including genetic linkage analysis of cancer families for gene discovery and genetic association studies for characterizing gene-environment interaction. Her disease research focus is pancreatic and other gastrointestinal cancers. A news release about the study mentioned in this story was released by Mayo Clinic in October 2011.

Public Affairs Contacts: Joe Dangor, Traci Klein

Facebook helps doctors with diagnosis
by Elizabeth Landau

Facebook isn’t just for connecting with friends – doctors are finding uses for the social network in diagnosis. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic used the social media site in investigating the stroke of a 56-year-old woman. They published a report about it in the journal BMJ Case Reports…Dr. Manoj Mittal noticed that the woman's right eyelid was droopy and her right pupil was slightly smaller than the left. The doctor asked the woman and her husband if this was abnormal for her; they said they weren’t sure. These symptoms may be associated with injury to a neck artery – in other words, through trauma.

Reach: has 74.2 million unique visitors to its website each month.

Context: Mayo Clinic physcians used photos from Facebook to help diagnose a patient who was suffering from a stroke. When the patient came to the hospital with her husband, she was  not sure if her facial features were different than usual. With her consent, Mayo clinic physicians pulled up her Facebook page photos and were able to quickly diagnose the drooping in her face, which is called Horner syndrome, and figured out she was having a stroke. Proper treatment then followed for the patient. The case was published in the British Medical Journal by Mayo Clinic staff: neurologist Alejandro Rabinstein, M.D., researcher Jeff Sloan, Ph.D.  and  critical care resident Manoj Mittal, MBBS.

Additional coverage: First Coast News, RedOrbit, FOX 8 Cleveland, KY Post, WPTV Fla., KETK Texas

Public Affairs Contacts: Nick Hanson, Kelley Luckstein

Lilly Treatment Slows Alzheimer’s Course in Some Patients
by Michelle Fay Cortez

Eli Lilly & Co. said its experimental Alzheimer’s treatment slowed the decline of cognition in some patients while failing to meet the primary goals of two large trials. The shares rose. Lilly’s drug, solanezumab, delayed the worsening of mental loss in a sub-analysis of patients in the earliest stage of the disease, the Indianapolis-based company wrote in a statement today. The medicine didn’t restore thinking, memory or daily activities in any of the groups studied...“All these results ultimately will mean is that they have to do another study,” said David Knopman, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and head of the trials’ data safety monitoring board. “For patients and families, I don’t think this can be anything but mostly disappointing.”

Circulation: Bloomberg has 2,300 media professionals in 146 bureaus across 72 countries. Bloomberg delivers its content across more than 400 publications, over 310 million households worldwide through Bloomberg Television and 500,000 in the New York metro area and 18.5 million subscribers through satellite radio.

Context: David Knopman, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist, provided his perspective as head of the trials’ data safety monitoring board. Ronald Petersen, M.D., Director of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, was also interviewed about the drug trial for various stories. Dr. Petersen's current research focuses on the study of normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. He was appointed chair of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services for the National Alzheimer's Project Act by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and he took a leading role drafting the first U.S. National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.

Additional coverage: Newser (AP), Yahoo! News, Reuters, CBS, US News & World Report,, HealthDay, KPHO Ariz, KTAR Ariz

Public Affairs Contacts: Sharon Theimer, Brian Kilen

Mayo Study: Big Bellies Worse Than Obesity

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic studied data from 12,000 patients and found that people who are of normal weight but have fat concentrated in their bellies have a higher risk of death than those who are obese… “I think that’s the most remarkable finding of this analysis because it is common to see people with normal weight who don’t see themselves as at risk for heart attacks,” Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo cardiologist, said. “And they may not be motivated to exercise or follow a healthy diet.”

Reach: WCCO 4 News is the most-watched newscast in the Twin Cities, in 5 out of 7 newscasts. WCCO 4 News is #1 in 5 out of the 7 newscasts for all viewers in the 25-54 age range and WCCO 4 News is #1 in 7 out of 7 newscasts for female viewers in the 25-54 age range.

Context: People who are of normal weight but have fat concentrated in their bellies have a higher death risk than those who are obese, according to Mayo Clinic research presented  at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich. Those studied who had a normal body mass index but central obesity — a high waist-to-hip ratio — had the highest cardiovascular death risk and the highest death risk from all causes, the analysis found. "We knew from previous research that central obesity is bad, but what is new in this research is that the distribution of the fat is very important even in people with a normal weight," says senior author Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "This group has the highest death rate, even higher than those who are considered obese based on body mass index. From a public health perspective, this is a significant finding." Mayo Clinic issued a news release about the study August 27.

Additional coverage: LA Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, KAAL, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun, Pioneer Press, KARE 11, The West Australian, Christian Post, MSN NZ, Bangor Daily News, Khaleej Times, ANI, The Atlantic, Fox 9 Twin Cities, Business Standard, The Province, Newsday, Telegraph UK, NBC News, UK, Express UK, French Tribune, NY Post, MyHealthNewsDaily, Daily Mail UK,,, Toronto Sun, Winnipeg Sun, London Free Press, Bloomberg, News Medical

 ABC News
Should More Heart Patients Get Stents? Study Says Yes
by Dr. Shari Barnett

The latest salvo in the battle over stents -- the tiny mesh sleeves designed to keep clogged coronary arteries open -- came in the form of a study suggesting that the devices are better for some patients than medicines alone. In a new multi-center study called FAME II, which examined outcomes of 888 patients with a significant blockage of least one coronary artery, researchers used a new measure -- known as fractional flow reserve, or FFR -- to decide if a patient should get a stent or not… Others agreed. "I do not think that this trial should change practice," said Dr. Raymond Gibbons, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. "Try medical therapy first. If your symptoms don't improve, then discuss the risk and benefits of stents with your physicians. Realize that stents do not reduce the rate of heart attack and death."

Circulation: is the official website for ABC News.

Context: Ray Gibbons, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. His research focuses on the application of stress testing and nuclear cardiology imaging to myocardial infarction and chronic coronary artery disease.

Public Affairs Contacts: Traci Klein, Nick Hanson

US News & World Report
Gene Might Predict Brain Tumors' Aggressiveness

A gene variant that increases the risk of certain types of brain tumors has been identified by U.S. researchers, who say their findings could help identify people at risk of developing these tumors and improve their treatment… The researchers said they still have to confirm whether this location in the genetic code is the source of tumors. Even if it's not, "it is pretty close," study senior author Dr. Robert Jenkins, a pathologist at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn., said in a Mayo news release.

Reach: US News reaches more than 10 million unique visitors to its website each month.

Context: People who carry a "G" instead of an "A" at a specific spot in their genetic code have roughly a six-fold higher risk of developing certain types of brain tumors, a Mayo Clinic and University of California, San Francisco study has found. The findings, published online today in the journal Nature Genetics, could help researchers identify people at risk of developing certain subtypes of gliomas which account for about 20 percent of new brain cancers diagnosed annually in the U.S. and may lead to better surveillance, diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic issued a news release about the study August 26.

Additional coverage: Daily Mail, HealthCanal, Post-Bulletin, Genetic Engineering News, Daily Mail,, Cancer Prevention News Blog, CancerCompass, Doctors Lounge, Medical Xpress, Top News, All Voices,, i4u, 6 News, iShoutLoud, Laboratory Equipment, NewsTrackIndia, Newswhip, RedOrbitScience Codex, Regator, Science Newsline, ScienceIndex,, TruthDive, Zee News Health, KAAL, Indian Express, Zee News, Science Codex, MSN UK

Public Affairs Contact: Joe Dangor

Hurricane safety: When the lights go out
by Ann Curley

Hurricane shutters, water jugs and batteries are not the only things to consider when extreme weather threatens the coast. Officials said Wednesday morning that more than half a million customers were without power in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama as Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Gulf Coast -- and in several regions, experts said the worst is yet to come…The Mayo Clinic suggests stocking up on condiments, particularly those that are vinegar-based and have a long shelf life, such as ketchup, mustard and soy sauce…Eating out of a can doesn't have to be boring, says Ron Stone, assistant director of nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Reach: has 74.2 million unique visitors to its website each month.

Context: Mayo Clinic issued a media alert on hurricane food safety and meal plans August 24. "Whether it's a hurricane or another natural disaster, it's critical to understand basic food and water safety, particularly if power outages or flooding occur. Having a plan in place will ensure proper nutrition, energy, and long-term wellness," says Sherry Mahoney, director of Nutrition and Food Services at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Public Affairs Contact: Cindy Weiss

Star Tribune
Richard Winkelmann was pioneer in skin research
by Pamela Miller

Richard Winkelmann, a Mayo Clinic physician and researcher who helped meld the disciplines of dermatology and pathology, died of pancreatic cancer Aug. 16 at his home in Rochester, Minn. He was 88…In 1994, Winkelmann retired from the Mayo Clinic and began spending winters in Fountain Hills, Ariz., and summers on the St. Croix. He took up doing research at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and teaching at Arizona State University.

Circulation: The Star Tribune Sunday circulation is 514,457 copies and weekday circulation is 300,330. The Star Tribune is the state’s largest newspaper and ranks 16th nationally in circulation.

Context: Dr. Richard Winkelmann was born in 1924 and graduated from high school at the age of 17. Dr. Winkelmann entered Marquette School of Dentistry after achieving his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Akron. Rejecting dentistry as a vocation, he completed his M.D. degree at Marquette University in 1947 and started an internship. His Mayo Clinic fellowship in dermatology began in 1951, but his training was interrupted by military duty as a Public Health Officer in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1952 until 1954. While in Birmingham, he became a lecturer as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama.

Dr. Winkelmann continued his training in dermatology from 1954 to 1956 in the Mayo Department of Dermatology. In 1956, Dr. Winkelmann received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota from the departments of both Neuroanatomy and Pathology. Although many academic clinical and clinical applied science articles were published by consultants and residents in the Dermatology Department throughout the years, to this point there had not been a major thrust in basic science dermatological investigative research.

Dr. Winkelmann ushered in a renaissance of dermatology basic science research. He was well-known worldwide for his research of the innervations of the skin. His number of publications throughout his lifetime is greater than 800. Many dermatology investigators from all over the world visit his research laboratory to learn innovative techniques. He was elected president of the Society of Investigative Dermatology in 1971. In addition to his basic science investigation, his contribution to dermatopathology was known worldwide. Moreover, he was one of the founders of the American Society of Dermatopathology in 1958, and served as its president in 1977.

Dr. Winkelmann initiated and oversaw a remodeling of the department, expanding the department’s space utilization to the B corridor of East 5 of the Mayo Building. He established a basic science laboratory in the Medical Sciences Building and established additional laboratory space on the then west wing of the 8th floor of Rochester Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Kierland, then chair of the department, asked Dr. Winkelmann in 1965 to oversee the development of the inpatient dermatology service in the new Methodist Hospital. Dr. Winkelmann made sure that most of the patient’s soaking tubs were in private rooms and that the tubs were extra long so that a person taller than six feet could be comfortable. Dr. Winkelmann was 6’3”.

He was named chair of the Department of Dermatology in 1970 and became a senior consultant in 1975.

In 1990, he transferred to Mayo Clinic Scottsdale to become the second member of the Department of Dermatology under the leadership of Dr. Suzanne Connolly. He retired in 1994, but continued research with a new interest in the biology and classification of algae in the Plant Biology Department of the University of Arizona, and was given the title of Research Professor. This interest was fostered by algae in the St. Croix River near his summer retreat cabin.

Public Affairs Contact: Alyson Fleming

U of M Researchers Discover Non-Invasive Way to Diagnose Epilepsy
by Jennie Olson

University of Minnesota researchers from Mayo Clinic say they have found a new, non-invasive way to diagnose epilepsy. According to a recently published study, a new brain scan taken immediately after a seizure can give insight into causes of epilepsy and treatments. The technique helps determine the side of the brain where the seizures originate.

Reach: KSTP-TV Channel 5, the upper Midwest's first commercial television station, is owned by broadcasting company Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.

Context: The study was published in Brain, an international journal of neurology. Gregory Worrell, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist, was involved in the study.

Public Affairs Contacts: Brian Kilen, Nick Hanson

Phoenix Business Journal
Cancer facilities in building frenzy to meet demand
by Angela Gonzales

The Valley’s cancer centers are building multimillion-dollar facilities to keep pace with growing demand for research and treatment. Mayo Clinic announced this week it has received board approval to build a $130 million structure to consolidate all of its cancer services at its Phoenix hospital campus…Before Mayo built its own hospital in 1998, it had a partnership with Scottsdale Healthcare under which Mayo physicians treated their patients at the hospital system's facilities. Today, the organizations are in early talks to explore educational collaborations, said Dr. Wyatt Decker, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Reach: The Phoenix Business Journal is one of 61 newspapers published by American City Business Journals.

Context: Mayo Clinic announced construction of a 217,200 square-foot building on its Phoenix campus August 20, a major expansion that will create a single-site, integrated Cancer Center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with a multi-site, national presence, which allows us to serve a broad and diverse group of patients.

Public Affairs Contact: Carol Benson

Pioneer Press
More parents skip kids' shots -- endangering other
by Megan Boldt

…Dr. Greg Poland, a vaccinologist with the Mayo Clinic, said doctors are past the point of being just concerned. "It's a huge issue. I spend a good deal of my professional life convincing people about the importance of vaccinations," Poland said. "There is no risk-free decision. If you accept a vaccine, there can be risks. But if you don't get immunized, the risks are far greater and severe."

Circulation: The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a daily circulation of 226,108 and its Sunday newspaper circulation is 270,811. Its website had approximately 18.6 million page views (March 2011) and the Pioneer Press and reaches about 3.3 million people each month.

Context: Greg Poland, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic physician who studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children. Dr. Poland and his team within the Vaccine Research Group aim to improve the health of individuals across the world by pursuing challenges posed by infectious diseases and bioterrorism through clinical, laboratory and epidemiologic vaccine research.

Public Affairs Contact: Bob Nellis

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Tags: ABC, Alejandro Rabinstein, Bloomberg, Cancer, Cardiology, CNN, Dermatology, Dr. David Knopman, Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Dr. Greg Poland, Dr. Gregory Worrell, Dr. Manoj Mittal, Dr. Ray Gibbons, Dr. Richard Winkelmann, Dr. Robert Jenkins, Dr. Ron Petersen, Dr. Wyatt Decker, genes, genetics, Gloria Petersen, Immunology, Jeff Sloan, KSTP-5, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic in the News, Neurology, New York Times, Phoenix Business Journal, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, WCCO

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