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Week In Review — March 7

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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Type 2 diabetes gene mutations seen as drugmaker target

Scientists have uncovered gene mutations that slash the risk of Type 2 diabetes regardless of age and weight, offering drugmakers a novel target to combat one of the major health threats confronting the modern world. About 347 million people globally, including 25.8 million in the U.S., have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. The Type 2 form, tied to excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle, is soaring as obesity rates rise. The ailment occurs when the body can’t control blood-sugar levels with insulin made naturally by the pancreas. Via Bloomberg. 

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Fewer Minnesotans have health insurance at work

The number of Minnesotans with employer-based health insurance dropped between 2009 and 2013, sparking concern from state health officials, but also hope that the state’s MNsure insurance exchange has arrived in time to pick up the slack. The state’s overall uninsured rate declined from 9 percent in 2009 to 8.2 last year, according to survey results released Friday by the University of Minnesota and the state Health Department.Via Star Tribune.

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It’s alive! 30,000 year old virus revived

A virus frozen in the Siberian permafrost since the Ice Age has been revived. The virus itself is harmless, but the researchers responsible warn that Global Warming could release more malign lifeforms from the frozen ground. Via Mashable.

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CDC: Antibiotic overuse can be lethal 

The overuse of antibiotics in U.S. hospitals is putting patients at risk and helping to fuel the creation of deadly superbugs, according to a government report released Tuesday. Prescribing practices vary widely, with doctors in some hospitals providing three times as many antibiotics for patients as physicians in other facilities treating similar types of patients, concluded the report, produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Early treatment is found to clear H.I.V. in a 2nd baby

When scientists made the stunning announcement last year that a baby born with H.I.V. had apparently been cured through aggressive drug treatment just 30 hours after birth, there was immediate skepticism that the child had been infected in the first place. Via New York Times.

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A legacy of Franciscan values for Mayo Clinic and Rochester

His example has inspired the Franciscan sisters of Rochester to reaffirm their own efforts to live Franciscan values, from tending to bees to helping the poor in various missions. The sisters have helped build Rochester from the time Mother Alfred Moes convinced Dr. W.W. Mayo that a hospital should be built in Rochester after the devastating 1883 tornado… Franciscan values have become so much a part of Mayo Clinic and Rochester, the sisters say, that their own physical presence isn’t necessary to maintain them. The sisters no longer directly govern the Saint Marys campus. “We have to rely on the staff to carry them out now, because we’re thinning out,” said Saint Marys archivist Sister Lauren Weinandt. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Minn. physicians ponder medical marijuana 

Is marijuana an effective treatment for pain, illness and disease? It’s a question many Minnesota physicians are pondering as the Legislature prepares to debate a measure that would allow doctors to prescribe some form of the drug. Mayo psychiatrist Michael Bostwick reviewed more than 100 medical studies and reports on the possible benefits and risks of marijuana. He published his findings in February 2012 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Via MPR.

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A gut-level treatment 

Clostridium Difficile is a dangerous infection that, as its name implies, is not always easy to treat successfully with antibiotics…Now, some doctors are treating the infection with a procedure called fecal transplant…Studies have placed the cure rate at about 90%; a doctor from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona describes a patient who had been bedridden for weeks with C. difficile being discharged within 24 hours of a fecal transplant. Via LA Times.

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Yampa Valley Medical Center and Mayo Clinic announce collaboration

Mayo Clinic and Yampa Valley Medical Center officials announced today that the Steamboat Springs hospital is the newest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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A risk for patients, if profit is paramount

To remedy our fragmented health system, reformers want to consolidate health care. President Obama, for instance, has praised integrated health systems like the Mayo Clinic as a model for national reform. To that end, the Affordable Care Act drives more hospitals to become more Mayo-like by buying physician practices. Today, about 39 percent of doctors practice independently, down from 57 percent in 2000. Reformers appear to have gotten their wish, but whether patients or doctors benefit is questionable. Via New York Times.

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