In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

February 21st, 2017

Crossing the Finish Line With Friends, Family and a Focus on the Positive

By In the Loop intheloop

"Attitude is everything" is the Livezey family motto. It's printed on T-shirts and pink bracelets the family wears to honor and encourage one of their own, Hollis Livezey Youngner, as she receives treatment for breast cancer. And those three words have helped Hollis persevere since her diagnosis five years ago. They also recently helped her through another journey: training for and finishing a half marathon during the 2017 26.2 With Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. "I was bound and determined that I was going to cross that finish line," Hollis says. And on Sunday, Feb. 12, she did.

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Tags: 262 With Donna, Breast Cancer, Dr John Moss

February 21st, 2017

Five Years After Heart Attack, Nurse is Happy to Still Be Here For Family, Patients

By In the Loop intheloop

In the five years since he suffered a heart attack inside the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center in Rochester, registered nurse Andy Mc Monigle continues to be thankful for the emergency on-site care and mobile technology that helped keep him alive.

Five years ago, Andy Mc Monigle, suffered a heart attack in the men's locker room of the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center in Rochester. It was a frightening incident that could have ended very differently had it happened elsewhere. But thanks to the quick thinking of three Mayo Clinic residents — Christopher DeSimone, M.D., Ph.D., Daniel DeSimone, M.D., and Daniel Lueders, M.D. — who happened to be in the locker room at the time, and an assist from technology, Andy is alive and well today.

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Tags: Andy Mc Monigle, Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, Dr Christopher DeSimone, Dr Daniel DeSimone, Heart attack, Mark Henderson

February 21st, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

Maya Angelou

February 16th, 2017

Cancer Survivor's Advice: 'Take Time For Legos'

By In the Loop intheloop

After Kirk Gunderson was diagnosed with cancer, his 3-year-old son, Garrett, promised to take care of Kirk until he was better. Along the way, he taught his father an important lesson that he now shares with others: Take time for Legos.

Sometimes, the little things in life can mean a lot. That's (literally) the case with the tiny Lego action figure Kirk Gunderson keeps on his desk.

The story behind his Lego friend goes back 3 1/2 years, to when Kirk was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. The rare cancer led him to Mayo Clinic for treatment. After Kirk's first appointment, he and his wife, Jennifer, stopped at their daycare to pick up their 3-year-old son, Garrett. "He told me, 'Daddy, I'm going to take care of you until you're better,'" Kirk recalls. Garrett then asked Kirk if he had to return to work that day.

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Tags: Kirk Gunderson, salivary gland cancer

February 16th, 2017

Ice Fishing Safety With Gus the Mannequin and Dr. Thiels, the Resident Expert

By In the Loop intheloop

Gus, from the “Saving Lives with Gus” video series, has returned to the small screen to help his surgical resident friends at Mayo Clinic talk about ways to keep ourselves safe and alive while ice fishing.

The past four years haven't exactly been kind to Gus the Mannequin. Since making his debut in 2013, the star of Mayo's "Saving Lives with Gus" video series has gone above and beyond the call to "educate, entertain and deliver lifesaving tips" to the public. He's suffered frost bite, was saved from choking, and injured himself with fireworks. He's also been subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning and hit by a distracted driver. And last week, Gus joined Mayo surgical residents on a frozen Minnesota lake to share tips for staying safe while ice fishing. (With forecasts calling for a warm-up in the Midwest this weekend, it's important and timely advice.)

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Tags: Dr Cornelius Thiels, frost bite, hypothermia

February 16th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life."

David F. Jakielo

February 14th, 2017

A Thank-You Card 50 Years in the Making

By In the Loop intheloop

Fifty years after having surgery, Howard Anderson reached out to the Cardiovascular Surgery staff to thank them.

It's probably safe to say that most of us don't exactly look forward to getting older. Howard Anderson is an exception. "I'm going to be 60 in five years, and I can't wait," Howard tells us. In fact, he considers every birthday a gift. Howard, a St. Peter, Minnesota, resident, was born with aortic stenosis — a heart defect that, back in the 1960s, often proved fatal. And Howard was born early in that decade.

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Tags: Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Dr John W Kirklin, Renee Jones

February 14th, 2017

A Guide to Making Valentine's Day Happy (and Heart Healthy)

By In the Loop intheloop

Red wine and dark chocolate may not only be the way to your loved one's heart, they also each hold benefits for their hearts, when consumed in moderation.

Today is Feb. 14. You know what that means, right? Yes, it's Ferris Wheel Day. And the eve of National Gumdrop Day. And just two days until Do a Grouch a Favor Day. Speaking of which, it's also Valentine's Day, and if you've been distracted by other celebrations and find yourself still looking for a last-minute gift, allow us to offer a couple ideas from the heart that are also heart-healthy. Don't worry. It's not kale candies and a fish oil martini. No, these are two things you might already associate with the holiday: wine and chocolate.

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Tags: Dr Amit Sood, Dr Amy Pollak, Dr Carolyn Landolfo

February 14th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

William Arthur Ward

February 9th, 2017

Series of 'Miracles' Brings Liberian Boy to Minnesota for Life-Changing Surgery

By In the Loop intheloop

Sampson was born with a condition that has caused large tumors to grow on his face and cause blindness in one eye. He’s now preparing for surgery to remove the tumors and, hopefully, save his vision.

Sampson has a sweet, infectious smile. But it’s not the first thing most people notice about him. That’s because Sampson, a 15-year-old from Liberia, has neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that has caused large tumors to grow on his face. And that’s only the most visible challenge he’s endured in his young life. As an infant, Sampson was abandoned by his mother. Two years ago, Ebola took his father’s life. Sampson's condition, which he’d long been told was caused by witchcraft, made him an outcast in his village.

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Tags: Neurofibromatosis

February 9th, 2017

Respiratory Therapy Games Bring Students, Instructors, Scouts Together

By In the Loop intheloop

Mayo Clinic’s Division of Respiratory Therapy has put a new spin on the hiring process for local senior respiratory therapy students by turning it into an annual multi-day skills competition full of different challenges and simulations intended to attract the best of the best.

When you think of skills competition, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn't respiratory therapists. And when you think of "fun" and "educational," you're probably not thinking job interview. But in March, a group of respiratory therapy students will experience an event that's a bit of all of those things — part college bowl, part audition, part Survivor, and all respiratory therapy.

The idea for the weekend-long event [...]

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Tags: Respiratory Care

February 9th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"No man stands so straight as when he stoops to help a boy."

Knights of Pythagoras

February 7th, 2017

Mayo Nurse Uses Life as Nomad and Refugee to Inspire Others

By In the Loop intheloop

From nomad and refugee to Mayo nurse, Habibo Haji is using her life experiences to teach others.

It's been a long, lonely and sometimes dangerous road to Mayo Clinic for registered nurse Habibo Haji.

Born in Somalia, Habibo was just six months old when she was sent by her mother to live with her grandmother in a small, remote village. There, she lived in a simple, primitive hut built by her grandmother that Habibo says was nothing more than "woven rugs draped over an igloo style structure made from tree branches tied together." Cockroaches, beetles and other insect invaders routinely crawled across the hut's dirt floor at night. [...]

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Tags: diversity, Habibo Haji, nursing

February 7th, 2017

Students Rally Around Classmate After Her Heart Transplant

By In the Loop intheloop

After a heart transplant, Kiarra Dixon receives support from her classmates.

Kiarra Dixon was just six months old when she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Those were big words — and a big diagnosis — for such a little girl. "It took me years to learn how to say that," Kiarra, now a seventh-grader at Lincoln Park Middle School in Duluth, Minnesota, recently told FOX 21-News. The condition, which affects the heart's ability to pump blood, can eventually lead to heart failure.

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Tags: Dilated Cardiomyopathy, heart transplant

February 7th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"America is a tune. It must be sung together."

Gerald Stanley Lee

February 2nd, 2017

From Pediatric Cancer Patient to Advocate (and More)

By In the Loop intheloop

Hanna Hughes often visits with other patients facing the same surgery she'd had for her bone cancerHanna Hughes was a "super active" teenager and played soccer for Rochester Lourdes High School when she started having hip pain. At first, doctors suspected a pulled muscle and recommended physical therapy. But the pain persisted, and an MRI revealed the reason: Hanna had a tumor in her hip. A grapefruit-sized tumor.

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Tags: Bone Cancer, Dr Peter Rose, osteosarcoma, volunteers

February 2nd, 2017

Songs of the Heart, For the Heart

By In the Loop intheloop

Pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Joseph Dearani plays saxophone with a self-described "eclectic ensemble of pediatric cardiologists, surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals from children's hospitals across the country and around the world" called The Baby Blue Sound Collective. The band's name is inspired by an all-too-familiar sight to those used to caring for children with heart disease, many of whom are born blue due to a lack of oxygen caused by heart defects.

It's no secret Joseph Dearani, M.D., takes his work as a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Mayo Clinic seriously. Through the years, we've been honored to share a few stories about people who have benefitted from that work. People like Stefanie Thompson, Kieran Veitz, Karla Manley, Marcus Nichols, Bayasaa Bars, and of course, Lola Montilla.

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Tags: Dr Joseph Dearani, Heart Disease, pediatric cardiology

February 2nd, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional."

Roger Crawford

January 31st, 2017

After Transplant, a Gift From the Heart Honors Mother's Lost Son

By In the Loop intheloop

Brian Cline wanted to find a way for Debbie Pollino to feel that joy of hearing her son’s heart beating. With the help of Mayo Clinic Health System staff, they captured a 30-second recording that was placed inside a teddy bear, which Brian gave to Debbie.

Brian Cline with Debbie Pollino, mother of his heart donor, and the teddy bear through which she can hear Nick's heart beat.

Nick Pollino never met a stranger. In his eyes, everyone was a friend. "Nick saw only the good," Debbie Pollino says of her only child, who passed away in January 2014. "He was a free spirit. He loved the outdoors. He was a genuinely happy person."

He was also a registered organ donor, something he and Debbie had discussed less than two months before the car accident that ended his life. "He believed that when he died, he was going to paradise," Debbie tells us. "He said, 'I'm not going to need my organs where I'm going.'" Debbie says she "couldn't have been more proud," of her son's decision. [...]

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Tags: Cardiology, heart transplant, Mayo Clinic Health System

January 31st, 2017

Eating Your Way to a Healthy Brain

By In the Loop intheloop

Diets aren’t just for losing or maintaining weight anymore. Some are designed to zero in on those foods that have a direct impact on our brain’s health to help us ward off cognitive decline as we age.

When most of us think about our diets, we generally do so with only our waistlines in mind. But a recent story in Forbes Magazine by contributor Alice G. Walton got us thinking about something else that could succumb to age if we don't take care of it: our brains. Walton writes that research is beginning to show that in addition to helping us slim down, some diets may also help maintain our brain's shape, size and function as we age.

Walton digs into the brain-boosting powers of the MIND diet, which she notes currently sits at No. 3 on the U.S. News & World Report annual "Best Diets" list. Developed by a team of scientists at Rush University, the MIND diet stands for "Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay" — a hybrid of U.S. News' top-ranked Mediterranean and DASH diets. (We're sort of partial to another diet that's high on the U.S. News list, the Mayo Clinic Diet.) [...]

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Diet

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