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Mayo hosts international symposium this week

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Mayo Clinic is hosting the 12th International Symposium of Mechanisms of Vasodilation in Rochester.

All 50 states have representatives at the four-day convention, while 57 people from around the globe are also attending.

The event is being held on the 30th anniversary of what Mayo calls a "humble" announcement at Willow Creek School in Rochester paving the way for a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998. Dr. Robert F. Furchgott's theory of NO = EDRF opened the door for using nitric oxide to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, among other things.

"This basic science discovery has made an impact for medical practice as treatment for erectile dysfunction and is based on the biochemistry of nitric oxide," Mayo Clinic wrote in a press release. "It is a prime example of basic science discoveries being translated to improve human health, even in products as well known as Viagra."

The event kicked off with Sunday night's reception and is scheduled to run through lunch on Wednesday. Short educational sessions are planned throughout the day featuring speakers from Mayo and experts from Italy, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, Spain and England, to name a few.

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Of particular note is a session planned for 9:45 a.m. Tuesday called "The Viagra Era: Vasodilatation in the clinic, the bedroom and society." That session is being led by Mayo's Michael Bostwick.

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