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Week In Review — Feb. 28

The Week In Review provides an overview of the past week’s top healthcare content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news and upcoming events.

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3-D technology may someday print up new livers: Health

3-D printing used to construct everything from art to toys to spare parts for the space station may one day produce human organs at a hospital near you. The 20-year-old technology uses liquid materials that become hard as they print out three-dimensional objects in layers, based on a digital model. Current medical uses are in dentistry, for hard-material crowns, caps and bridges, as well as prosthetics. Last year, a 3-D printer was used to create a structure from moldable polymer that replaced more than 75 percent of a patient’s skull. Via Bloomberg. 

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Docs oppose retail-based clinics for kids’ care

Families often turn to retail-based health clinics such as CVS’ MinuteClinic, Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic or Kroger’s The Little Clinic when a child is sick or needs shots. But the nation’s largest group of pediatricians opposes such facilities for children’s primary care, saying they do not provide the high-quality, coordinated preventive health care kids need. In an update to its 2006 policy statement, released Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that retail-based clinics (RBCs) are “an inappropriate source of primary care for pediatric patients, as they fragment medical care and are detrimental to the medical home concept of longitudinal and coordinated care.” A medical home refers to a central provider who coordinates a child’s medical care. Via USA Today.

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Minnesota could become first state to ban antibacterial chemical triclosan 

The next time you stroll down the soap aisle at the grocery store, watch for the word “antibacterial.” Then check the ingredients label on the back. There’s a good chance it contains triclosan…The chemical has been around since the 1960s and more recently has been added to a long list of products — from deodorant and face cream to toothpaste. University of Minnesota researchers, who have found increasing amounts of triclosan in lakes and rivers, say it can interact with chlorine and sunlight to form harmful dioxins in the environment. Via MPR.

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NIH adds substantial set of genetic, health information to online database 

Researchers will now have access to genetic data linked to medical information on a diverse group of more than 78,000 people, enabling investigations into many diseases and conditions. The data, from one of the nation’s largest and most diverse genomics projects — Genetic Epidemiology Research on Aging (GERA) — have just been made available to qualified researchers through the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), an online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health. Via NIH.

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Flu hitting young people harder this year

The flu is hitting younger people harder this season than in years past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. People between the ages of 18 and 64 represent 61% of all influenza-related hospitalizations recorded during the current flu season — a significant increase compared with previous years when this age group represented about 35% of cases. Via CNN.

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Genetic markers may lead to new cancer treatments

Physicians at the Mayo Clinic’s Individualized Medicine Clinic and researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute have found genetic alterations that may lead to better treatments for people suffering from bile duct cancer. Dr. Mitesh Borad, a Mayo Clinic oncologist and lead author of a study published last week in the journal PLOS Genetics, said his team found genetic alterations in three of six patients using genomic sequencing. Via Phoenix Business Journal.

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How Mayo Clinic is using iPads to empower patients 

Throughout the world, companies are embracing mobile devices to set customer expectations, enlist them in satisfying their own needs, and get workers to adhere to best practices. An effort under way at the Mayo Clinic shows how such technology can be used to improve outcomes and lower costs in health care. Via Harvard Business Review.

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Cell morphing aimed at stopping cancer in its tracks 

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have managed to change the shape of deadly cancer cells, removing their ability to spread through the body. The work is in its infancy but could eventually lead to the targeted morphing of cancer cells to stop them dead in their tracks. Via Reuters.

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Net income up 55 percent at Mayo Clinic for 2013

Net income rose 55 percent at the Mayo Clinic during 2013 as the Rochester-based system of hospitals and clinics treated more patients and attracted more in donations…“We’re in an era where there’s broad and increasing downward pressure on our revenues for the work we do — from Medicare, from the sequester, from the impending changes with the Affordable Care Act and the market in general from commercial payers,” CEO Dr. John Noseworthy said in a conference call. Via Star Tribune.

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Heritage Preservation Commission looks back as we move forward

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature gave Rochester and Mayo Clinic “Destination Medical Center.” Now the city is wrestling with how to make it happen. And one of those tricky aspects of DMC is how to protect Rochester’s precious history and what to give to the wrecking ball. Last year the Rochester City Council passed some legislation to create what’s called the Heritage Preservation Commission. Via KTTC.

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