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2006 Highlights

Mayo Clinic's patient care activities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota are strengthened by advanced programs in medical education and research. This interaction promotes higher standards of medical care, learning and discovery within the institution. Following are some of the highlights that occurred throughout Mayo in 2006.

Patient Care

Mayo Clinic brings together teams of physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals to diagnose and treat medical problems. Thousands of patients come to all Mayo Clinic locations every day for accurate diagnosis and the highest-quality care. Most patients are treated on an outpatient basis. Most patients make their appointments themselves -- in most cases, a doctor's referral is not necessary. Here are the highlights for 2006:

  • Mayo Clinic collaborated with Gamma Medica and GE Healthcare to develop a diagnostic device that is sensitive enough to detect breast tumors as tiny as one-fifth of an inch in diameter. The new technique, molecular breast imaging, uses a dual-head gamma camera system to obtain images that, unlike mammography images, are not affected by dense breast tissue.
  • A Mayo Clinic team developed a new medical device that helps patients control their breathing when undergoing computed tomographic (CT) fluoroscopy-guided biopsies. The Interactive Breath-hold Control -- the first medical device of its kind -- allows physicians to more rapidly and accurately diagnose patients, reducing the need for a more invasive surgical biopsy.
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researchers (epidemiologists) found that a radical prostatectomy can be a safe option for some men over 80 years old. While some surgeries are traditionally not offered for patients over a certain age, researchers suggest that age should not be the deciding factor when considering treatment options.
  • Cardiologists at Mayo Clinic devised a new strategy to improve the effectiveness and safety of heart stents, which are used to open narrowed blood vessels and have been the recent subject of clotting concerns. The novel approach is based on magnetizing healing cells from the patient's blood so the cells are quickly drawn to magnetically coated stents.
  • In October, Mayo Clinic and The American Legacy Foundation announced a collaboration to bring together the expertise of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center and The American Legacy Foundation's public health and marketing acumen to help smokers who want to quit.
  • Mayo Clinic radiology researchers developed a new technique for using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to accurately measure the hardness or elasticity of the liver. Initial tests show this technology -- MR Elastography (MRE) -- holds great promise for detecting liver fibrosis, a common condition that can lead to incurable cirrhosis if not treated in time.
  • Mayo Clinic hosted a cardiac screening event in Arizona for retired NFL players as part of a national initiative by the Living Heart Foundation and the National Football League Players Association. It was held to raise awareness of potential heart disease related to body mass.
  • Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat surgeons began using angioplasty -- a technique long used to open clogged arteries -- as a minimally invasive option to help open sinuses in patients who require more than just medicine. The new outpatient procedure, called balloon sinuplasty, alleviates symptoms of sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinus cavities usually due to infection.
  • Mayo hosted the Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform, which brought together leaders from academia, business, government, health care, media and patient advocacy to discuss real solutions for health care reform. The symposium was designed as a first step in a nationwide, long-term initiative to help shape the future of health care.
  • His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and religious and secular leader, visited Mayo Clinic. He spoke to patients and staff about practices that encourage a peaceful mind, as well as positive ways to live during difficult times.

Research

Biomedical research at Mayo Clinic includes outstanding programs in laboratory science, clinical research and population studies -- all of which lead to new treatments and a better understanding of disease. This coordinated effort helps Mayo quickly translate research discoveries into better care for patients. Most Mayo medical staff participate in research activities in addition to their medical practice. Here are the highlights for 2006:

  • A Mayo Clinic researcher discovered a target in malaria- carrying mosquitoes that may aid in development of pesticides that are toxic to some mosquito species but not harmful to mammals. The findings could offer a safer and more effective control of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.
  • A Mayo Clinic study found that difficulties in the heart's ability to fi ll with blood are common causes of heart failure. The study is the first large, community-based study to clarify this aspect of heart failure. Researchers believe that as a result of the findings, heart failure can likely be managed more effectively to identify and treat those at highest risk of dying from heart disease.
  • An international research collaboration led by Mayo Clinic -- one of the largest studies of its kind -- found strong evidence that a genetic risk factor may account for 3 percent of Parkinson's disease cases. The study provides evidence that variations in the alpha-synuclein gene contribute to Parkinson's risk across several populations worldwide.
  • Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, began a new program for clinical development of high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen, heart, breast and musculoskeletal system using a new, state-of-the-art 3T MR system. The new MR system was installed in Mayo's Body MRI Advanced Development Unit in Rochester.
  • In October, InNexus Biotechnology, a publicly held company, moved into space in the Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Building on the Mayo Clinic campus in Arizona. This first-of-its-kind facility joins multiple strategic partners under one roof to focus on developing and supporting medical research and education.
  • Mayo Clinic researchers, working with colleagues in Germany, devised a multilevel safety feature for viruses used to treat cancer, making cancer-killing viruses more specific to cancer tumor cells and improving the therapeutic effectiveness of viruses. They did this by engineering a modified measles virus that turns on only in the presence of secretions specific to malignant cancer cells. This is a key advance because it provides a way to design a therapeutic virus that is safe, stable and that reliably targets and kills cancer cells.
  • A study led by Mayo Clinic demonstrated that mild cognitive impairment, a memory disorder considered a strong early predictor of Alzheimer's disease, not only results in behavioral symptoms but also structural changes that can be identified in the brain. The study is one of the first autopsy studies of mild cognitive impairment.
  • The National Institutes of Health selected Mayo Clinic as one of the first recipients of its new Clinical and Translational Science Award. Mayo will receive $72 million over nearly five years. Mayo will use the award to establish the new Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Research. The award program is designed to transform clinical and translational research so that new treatments can be developed more efficiently and delivered more quickly to patients.
  • Mayo Clinic and the Arizona Parkinson's Disease Consortium were named co-recipients of a $2.8 million, three-year grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, intended to support research for diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Education

Mayo Clinic offers educational programs and training opportunities on its three campuses to those pursuing careers in medicine, research and the health sciences. The College of Medicine at Mayo Clinic includes five schools. Here are the highlights for 2006:

  • Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on behalf of the Indian Health Service, formed a collaboration to work together to seek ways to reduce the burden of cancer and other diseases in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This national agreement is the most comprehensive between the Indian Health Service and another health care organization.
  • All 36 Mayo Medical School seniors who participated in the 2006 National Residency Matching Program were successful in matching with a residency program. Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education reported that 98.5 percent of its residency training positions were filled.
  • Mayo Clinic hosted local high school students for its second annual Doc Camp in Arizona, in which students spend time with Mayo physicians and learn about careers in medicine.
  • Through a partnership with the University of North Florida, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville hosted the Minorities in Medicine Symposium for promising 10th grade students from schools in the area. Students and their parents attended a session to improve test taking skills, received information on completing scholarship applications, and were encouraged to take more rigorous courses.
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