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Archive for September, 2012

September 29th, 2012

Finding Hope in Small Strides

By Makala Arce MakalaJohnson

Since a devastating football injury, Chris Norton has taken steady steps toward recovery through determination, faith and a strong support network. Now, he's reaching out to help others with spinal-cord injuries. 

Chris Norton at Minnesota Twins game

On a Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, while making a tackle in a Luther College football game, Chris Norton's life changed dramatically. It was clear right away that his injury was serious. On the field, he told coaches and trainers he couldn’t move, and he couldn't feel anything below his neck. Chris was transported to Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, Iowa, and from there, flown by helicopter to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Physicians found that Chris had two broken vertebrae in his neck and compressed spinal cord. Initially, he had no movement from the neck down. But within 24 hours of the accident, there was a sign of hope. Chris was able to move his shoulder. That was below the injury site, and Chris and his family latched onto that sign.

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Tags: Chris Norton, Courage in Sports, Luther College, Matthew Clark PhD, Rehabilitation, SCI CAN, spinal cord

September 28th, 2012

Sidelined by Concussions, Sydney’s Now Back in Action

By Susana Shephard susanashephard

Sydney on the soccer fieldOne goal changed her life. Now almost two years after a devastating concussion, Sydney Urzendowski is changing the goals of her life.

Sydney, of Elkhorn, Neb., was an active teenager, always on the go and had high aspirations in playing sports for a long, long time. Things changed for her when she was playing soccer on her high school team when she headed a ball and scored a goal – at least that’s what her coaches told her. The hit to the head knocked her unconscious and she doesn’t remember the goal, the game and a lot of things that came before that.

“I kind of recall running and then afterwards not being able to move my feet, Sydney said. “I remember asking where I was and why can't I move my feet and so the coaches noticed that I was like acting different. I guess I was slurring my speech and just acting weird. Thankfully, we have a really good trainer, so I went into our training room and red flags just popped up everywhere so they knew I had a concussion.”

While she was recovering from the concussion Sydney admits that she lied, saying that she felt better in hopes of getting back to playing sports sooner. Like many athletes eager to play again, Sydney didn’t realize the risks of playing too soon after a concussion.

But she soon found out.

“I got my second concussion when I got hit by a football in the temple,” she said. “I don't really remember and didn’t really think it was anything at the time until I had horrible headaches and my vision was blurry. At that point I was just so sick all the time and couldn’t play sports.”

That’s when Sydney’s whole life turned upside down. She went through months and months of constant “7 to 10” throbbing headaches per day, malaise and major mood swings. Her family’s two-year search for relief eventually brought her to Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Dr. David Dodick.

“Athletes just try to tough it out and work through it without realizing the cognitive and physical exertion that they put themselves through,” said Dr. Dodick, neurologist, and director of the Mayo Clinic Concussion Program. “When the brain tells you ‘I can’t do this,’ it tells you by increasing headaches, dizziness and host of other symptoms. The brain is telling you it can’t handle all of this until it heals.”

Dr. Dodick said that when Sydney arrived at Mayo Clinic she underwent sophisticated screening and evaluation. While Mayo Clinic doctors determined that her brain was structurally intact, there was evidence that her autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary nerves) was not functioning properly. Once that was identified, Sydney was placed on appropriate therapy and the symptoms cleared up.

Sydney said she started getting stronger and feeling better a just few weeks after her first visit to Mayo Clinic. Now a senior in high school, she is regaining her energy and zest for life that she had found in sports.

“When I couldn’t play sports, I felt like I had lost my passion - finding something else to do with my life was really difficult but thankfully I have a really great family.”

As far as searching for a new passion…

“I'm still in the process of that. I just pretty much surround myself with friends and family now, focus on school and that kind of stuff…. Now that I got help I feel so much better.”

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Tags: Arizona, concussion, David Dodick, Matthew Clark PhD, return to play, sports, Sydney Urzendowski

September 18th, 2012

I am an Intern Improving My Heart Health

By CSMMayo csmmayo

Written by Jeff Schneider, Intern with Public Affairs in Florida

Interns Jeff and Kim at WJXT

(left-right) Rob Sweeting (WJXT anchor), Kim Nahm (Mayo Clinic Public Affairs intern), Mary Baer (WJXT anchor) and Jeff Schneider (Mayo Clinic Public Affairs intern)

Working as an intern in the Public Affairs department at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.,  I expected to learn about health care. Little did I realize I’d be learning so much about my own health and how to improve it.

In the past two weeks, I not only passed out flyers, worked events and assisted the staff – all things I expected – but I also helped with press releases and media advisories on topics ranging from hurricane preparedness to cancer and heart health.

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Tags: Florida, heart, Heart Walk, intern, MayoClinicFL

September 14th, 2012

Apple Says Mayo Clinic is Using the iPad to Deliver Better Patient Care

By Jason Pratt jasonpratt


Tim Cook mentioning Mayo Clinic's app at the 9:39 mark of his keynote.

On Wednesday, in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in front of a crowd of tech-hungry journalists, bloggers, tweeters and photographers who were sharing with the world every word of the nearly two-hour keynote. Aside from the big iPhone 5 announcement, Apple highlighted ways various businesses are using their mobile products.

Talking about companies that are creating their own apps for both iPhone and iPad, Tim says "...or this one from Mayo Clinic, which helps thousands of doctors deliver better patient care" within of the first 10 minutes of Wednesday's keynote.

The app that he was referring to and the one you see on the iPad in this photo is called SynthesisMobile. Mayo physicians use this app each day on iPads and iPhones to access patients' electronic medical records (EMR), dictate clinical notes, view lab results and do many other patient-related tasks. Mayo Clinic developed this application because physicians wanted a mobile, easier and faster way to access patient information. The iPad and the SynthesisMobile app helped saved a man's life at Mayo Clinic's Health Living Center earlier this year.

Mayo Clinic Patient App

In March 2012 Mayo Clinic launched the Mayo Clinic Patient app, designed to help patients with a quick and accurate way of accessing their personal health information, online appointments, lab results and more. You can download this free app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch from the Apple App Store. Watch this video to learn more about this useful app.
We shared this story on Mayo Clinic's Facebook and Twitter.

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Tags: app, Apple, application, event, iOS, ipad, iPhone, keynote

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