In The Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

September 30th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Ready for His Close-Up

By In the Loop

SmithSamJude760Sam and Sky Smith never wanted their three-year-old son, Jude, to be a star. Not like this, anyway. But young Jude has taken to the small screen and become something of a poster child for ITP awareness, sharing his story with the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Jude's medical journey began a little more than a year ago, when Sam and Sky began noticing unexplained bruises on their young son's body. "They were in strange places, like on his stomach, all over his face," Sky says. Then came uncontrollable nosebleeds and "rash-like outbreaks" on his skin, which doctors called petechiae. Initially, medical tests were unable to tell the Smiths what was wrong. "It [...]

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Tags: Dr Behzad Bidadi, petechiae

September 30th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Saint Marys campus celebrates 125 years and counting

By In the Loop

SurgeryFirst760It's the sort of story that's surprising yet pretty much what you've come to expect from Mayo Clinic and the Sisters of Saint Francis. The Sisters and the Mayos joined forces to build a hospital to care for the medical needs of folks in Rochester, Minnesota, after the great cyclone of 1883. The Sisters said they'd build the hospital if the doctors Mayo would serve as the medical staff. And so a hospital was built and scheduled to open Oct. 1, 1889. Fittingly, it opened a day early to meet the needs of its first patient.

"It wasn't supposed to open until the first of October. But it opened the day before because a patient [...]

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Tags: history, Saint Marys Hospital, Sister Generose Gervais, Sister Lauren Weinandt

September 30th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop

"History never looks like history when you are living through it."

John W. Gardner

September 25th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

If you hum a few bars …

By In the Loop

GuitarPlayer760Clifford Jack, M.D., is best known for his work in Alzheimer's disease research – specifically brain imaging research in cognitive aging. But as a recent article in the journal The Lancet points out, his career could have gone in a different direction. Bit by the music bug early on, he began playing jazz guitar at age 12 and got his first professional music gig while in high school. But Dr. Jack tells us that he was also realistic about where his budding musical career was going. "I never seriously considered it as a career, just a hobby," he says. But as The Lancet notes he's plucked out a pretty good career as a hobbyist entertaining audiences over the past 25 years at The Redwood Room in Rochester.

Thankfully for Mayo Clinic, and those living with Alzheimer's disease, he had a pretty good "Plan B." Dr. Jack tells The Lancet that he was largely inspired by an uncle who "seemed to get the most enjoyment out of his job" -- working as a doctor. And so, with a natural love and curiosity for science, Dr. Jack says "it seemed pretty natural" for him to follow his uncle's lead. [...]

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Tags: Alzheimer's disease, Dr Clifford Jack, Dr Prashanthi Vemuri

September 25th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Seven Tips to Keep Your Mind Young

By In the Loop

WomanPuzzle760The statistics are staggering. According to The Wall Street Journal, "some 5.2 million people in the U.S. had Alzheimer's disease in 2014, a number that is expected to about triple by 2050." It's enough to make people take drastic measures. People like 30-something Max Lugavere, who was profiled in the very same Wall Street Journal article. Lugavere, whose mother has experienced memory loss but who has no symptoms himself, has made diet and exercise changes in hopes of having a different outcome. "The idea that I can take steps today that could benefit my brain and prevent the onset of any kind of neurological issue, I'm all about that," he tells the Journal.

Research into prevention is ongoing. And the jury's still out. It does, however, point to the impact of lifestyle choices (and subsequent changes) on Alzheimer's. Some of this research even suggests that a person's risk of heart disease can also increase their risk of Alzheimer's. Lifestyle choices such as proper nutrition and exercise to prevent heart disease also seem to delay the onset of memory loss. [...]

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Tags: Alzheimer's disease, Dr Ronald Petersen

September 25th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop

"When I was a little boy, I told my dad, 'When I grow up, I want to be a musician.' My dad said: 'You can't do both, son.'"

Chet Atkins

September 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Judi Zitiello Regains Her Stride

By In the Loop

JudiZitiello760Judi Zitiello has always been one of the helpers. As executive director of the JT Townsend Foundation, she helped raise money to provide medical equipment for folks with disabilities throughout northeast Florida. Earlier this year, she had to take a step back. On April 29, Judi was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

"I've never been sick before in my life, so this was quite a shock," she tells us. After Judi's diagnosis, her primary care physician helped her schedule a consult with surgeon Horacio Asbun, M.D., at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. "My husband and I met with him the next day, and we scheduled surgery for May 12." In the meantime, she and her husband helped welcome their sixth grandchild into the world -- Jude, a bouncing baby boy named after Judi. "You talk about a reason to live!" she wrote on her blog.

Still, Judi tells the Florida Times-Union she knew the odds of survival weren't in her favor. But she tells us that after talking with others, she became convinced that trusting Mayo Clinic with her care would put any odds she did have squarely in her favor. "After researching it and speaking with other medical people I know, they assured me that Dr. Asbun and his surgical team would be the best I could find," she says. [...]

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Tags: Dr Horacio Asbun, Florida, Pancreatic Cancer

September 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Holding Tight to his Memories

By In the Loop

Ben and Karyn Utecht talk with ESPN's Rick Rielly.

Ben and Karyn Utecht talk with ESPN's Rick Rielly.

Former Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals tight end Ben Utecht had five concussions during his short NFL playing career. The big one, the one that came from a hit that knocked him out cold for 90 seconds and effectively ended his playing career, came during training camp in 2009. It changed his life, although when asked about it in an interview by ESPN's Rick Reilly, Utecht confesses -- after a long pause -- that he can't remember who delivered the hit.

It's not the only thing Ben Utecht doesn't remember. ESPN's story chronicles (embedded below), in heartbreaking detail, the memory loss Utecht has suffered as a result of his multiple concussions. "There's a lot of gaps," he tells Reilly, including not having any memory of being in a friend's wedding. "To this day, I can't find it," Utecht says. His concussions, which ESPN notes date back to youth football, haven't just robbed him of his memories. He says they've also made it increasingly difficult for him to communicate with others, including his wife and three young daughters. "It's like walking through quicksand sometimes," he tells ESPN.

Utecht's neurologist, Mayo's Bradley Boeve, M.D., makes a short appearance in the ESPN segment to talk about how Utecht's multiple concussions have effectively aged him well beyond his 33 years. "For people who have had concussions, some will have symptoms that are almost identical to someone with early Alzheimer's disease, while some will describe more retrograde amnesia, or holes in their memory," Dr. Boeve tells ESPN. [...]

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Tags: Ben Utecht, brain injury, Dr Bradley Boeve, ESPN, football

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