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Mayo Clinic Q&A

Health & Wellness Podcasts

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy to understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy to understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.


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From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy to understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.






COVID-19 vaccination rates stalling, infections from the delta variant rising

Summer and fall are going to be a dangerous time for people in the U.S. who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "I really think this exponential rise in the number of sequences that are delta must be taken seriously," says Dr. Poland. "We are seeing a surge again, in hospitalizations in the UK, because of the delta variant in people who have not been vaccinated or who only got...


Barriers to care for LGBTQ community

June is Pride Month, which is celebrated annually to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender queer and gender nonconforming people have had on history. LGBTQ people often experience barriers to accessing health care and preventive services, which can result in disparities in both cancer risk and treatment. "Many of those disparities are rooted in stigma and discrimination that have really historically been an issue for this...


Cardiology pumps AI into patient care

When it comes to technology, Mayo Clinic is a leader in bringing the tools and science of artificial intelligence, or AI, into practice. In health care, AI is simply a way of programming a computer to process and respond to data for better patient outcomes. Mayo's AI work in Cardiovascular Medicine uses computer algorithms applied to EKG to aid in early risk prediction and diagnosis of serious and complex heart problems. Early applications have used AI and EKG technology to show the...


Reports of heart inflammation in young people after second COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is holding an emergency COVID-19 meeting this week to discuss COVID-19 vaccine safety as it relates to news that young people may develop myocarditis after receiving a second dose of a messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine. Myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, is usually caused by a viral infection. But it can result from a reaction to a drug or be part of a more general inflammatory...


Mayo Clinic experts discuss new Alzheimer’s treatment option

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive brain disorder that is the most common cause of dementia. Aducanumab targets amyloid plaques in the brain that are believed to be an essential component of Alzheimer’s disease. But what does the approval of a new Alzheimer's drug mean for patients? On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease...


Atrial fibrillation treatment improves quality of life for patients

Many people may be living with a serious heart condition and not know it. Because the signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be vague, people often think they are simply out of shape or just getting older. Atrial fibrillation, sometimes referred to as "a-fib", is an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that can increase the risk of strokes, heart failure and other cardiac problems. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers — the atria — beat chaotically and...


Why discussing racism with children matters

Children are always watching and learning behaviors from those around them, and parents are usually a child's first role model. But when it comes to discussing racism with children, parents and caregivers may wonder how to begin the conversation about race and bias, and what is age-appropriate to discuss with their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these three strategies for helping children understand and deal with racial bias: This edition of the Mayo Clinic Q&A...


A dangerous phase of the COVID-19 pandemic for those who are unvaccinated

If you've been vaccinated for COVID-19, you're able to go shopping, eat in restaurants and travel on airplanes without the same worry of becoming infected with COVID-19 that existed just months ago. But for those who are unvaccinated, getting infected with COVID-19 — even with just minor symptoms — should be a concern, according to Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "For those who have been vaccinated, life is resuming back to...


Cancer survivorship needs are unique for each survivor

June is National Cancer Survivor Month, and National Cancer Survivors Day was recognized on Sunday, June 6. Both events recognize and celebrate the millions of adults and children in the United States who have experienced a cancer diagnosis. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the U.S. Each one experiences cancer survivorship differently. Sometimes cancer survivorship means a cure. Sometimes it means living with the cancer. In other...


Study finds patients highly satisfied with telehealth

The use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic rose dramatically across the nation, including at Mayo Clinic. Telehealth has provided safe, convenient access to health care for people who needed to stay home to follow guidelines for social distancing and quarantines. Recent studies conducted by the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition found that patients and providers are highly satisfied with digital health care as a way to deliver care. The results of the patient survey mirrored the results...


Cerebrospinal fluid leaks are commonly misdiagnosed

Cerebrospinal fluid is the clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It cushions the brain and spinal cord from injury, delivers nutrients and acts as a waste removal system for the brain. A cerebrospinal fluid leak occurs when fluid escapes through a small tear or hole in the outermost layer of tissue that surrounds the brain or the spinal cord. Leaks can occur in the skull or at any point along the spinal column. Because headache is a common symptom, patients are often...


Sports cardiology helps patients get back in the game

Regular activity is good for the heart, but patients with heart conditions may wonder if it is safe to exercise. Mayo Clinic's Sports Cardiology Clinic is a specialty clinic where a team of cardiologists, exercise physiologists, and other specialists evaluate and treat heart conditions with a goal of keeping athletes active in sports. But who could benefit from sports cardiology? "We're trying to target three different types of patients," says Dr. Brian Shapiro, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist....


Dissecting COVID-19 research and putting data in perspective

The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. continues to decline. However, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in younger populations. "It's becoming a childhood disease," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "Children have composed over 16,000 hospitalizations for COVID-19 and about 300 have died." Meanwhile, each day brings fresh research news, including updates on possible side effects of the...


Detecting and treating thoracic aortic aneurysms

A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakened area in the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. When the aorta is weak, blood pushing against the vessel wall can cause it to bulge like a balloon. This is called an aneurysm. Depending on the cause, size and growth rate, your thoracic aortic aneurysm treatment options can vary. Thoracic aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and usually without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Thoracic aortic aneurysms are often found during...


Ask the Mayo Mom episode on congenital ear anomalies

Congenital ear anomalies or malformations are birth defects that affect the shape and position of the ear. Common anomalies include microtia, or small ears; prominent ears; or a missing ear. These malformations are not only cosmetic but also they can affect the function of the ear. Otoplasty is a surgical procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears. This edition of the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast features an #AsktheMayoMom episode hosted by Dr. Angela Mattke, a pediatrician at...


Guidelines and nuances of wearing a face mask

Recent COVID-19 masking guidelines announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to generate a public conversation. "The decision about masking needs to be nuanced," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "Wearing a mask should be based on the risk of infection, the percentage of the population vaccinated, a person's own immune system, and then the role of vaccine variants with the durability of our...


Bladder cancer patients require ongoing surveillance

Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder, a hollow muscular organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer signs and symptoms can include blood in the urine, frequent or painful urination, and back pain. "The vast majority of bladder cancer patients are diagnosed with cancer that's not imminently life-threatening, but they tend to be aggressive," says Dr. Mark Tyson II, a Mayo Clinic urologic surgeon. "So bladder cancers, even if...


Addressing equity in clinical trials

Like many organizations, Mayo Clinic is working to address disparities and equity in health care. This work is important not only in the clinic setting, but also in addressing equity issues in medical research and clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies used to determine whether an intervention, such as a drug, device or other therapy, is safe and effective for people. People in racial and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in clinical trials. "That's a real concern...


Real world effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines

Children 12–15 are now eligible to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval. And there is other COVID-19 news. "This is the first week we have not had an increase in COVID-19 cases in any U.S. state, and in 33 of those states, there was a decrease last week," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "This has not happened on any consistent basis for every U.S....


Know the warning signs of stroke

On average, someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, depriving the brain of oxygen. It's important to recognize the warning signs of stroke, because prompt treatment can minimize brain damage. Every moment is crucial. "Strokes commonly occur in people of all ages," says Dr. Robert Brown, Jr., chair of Mayo Clinic's Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. "And, so, it's very important that people...