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Week In Review — March 14

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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Gallup finds US uninsured rate keeps dropping toward lowest level since 2008

With just three weeks left to sign up under President Barack Obama’s health care law, a major survey tracking the rollout finds that the uninsured rate keeps going down. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Monday, found that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013. Via Star Tribune (AP). 

Researchers claim blood test predicts Alzheimer’s

Blood biomarkers in cognitively normal seniors were associated with their 3-year risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said, although the accuracy fell short of what would normally be acceptable for a screening test. Via MedPage Today.

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Help or harm – The furious debate over screening for prostate cancer

Chances are that either you have prostate cancer or you know someone who does. One in three men aged between 40 and 60 has traces of it, with the risk rising as men grow older. Nearly 240,000 new cases were detected in America last year, more than any other type of cancer. Faced with such facts, any man would be forgiven for wanting to find the invader and impale it—by any means necessary. Via The Economist.

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More Americans buy insurance under health care law

Some 4.2 million people enrolled in health-care plans using government portals as of last month, the Obama administration said Tuesday, leaving millions more sign-ups needed this month to meet the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment targets. Around 943,000 people picked plans in February, down slightly from 1.14 million who chose plans in January, a decrease that federal officials attributed to February’s shorter length. Via Wall Street Journal.

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F.D.A. panel recommends replacement for the Pap test

The Pap test, a ritual for women that has been the mainstay of cervical cancer prevention for 60 years, may be about to play a less crucial role. A federal advisory committee recommended unanimously on Wednesday that a DNA test developed by Roche be approved for use as a primary screening tool. “Has our Pap, as we know it, outlived its time?” Dr. Dorothy Rosenthal, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, testified to the committee, which advises the Food and Drug Administration. She said deaths from cervical cancer in the United States had stopped declining and that there would be “a tremendous gain” by moving to the new test. Via New York Times.

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New stem cell transplant holds promise for treatment of degenerative disc disease

Researchers have said that recent development in stem cell research could help treat degenerative disc disease. Senior author, Wenchun Qu, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said that this landmark study draws the conclusion in pre-clinical animal studies that stem cell therapy for disc degenerative disease might be a potentially effective treatment for the very common condition that affects people’s quality of life and productivity. Via Business Standard.

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Mayo’s business is more than medicine 

Mayo Clinic’s total revenue for 2013 was up 6 percent compared to the prior year, but sales in some business segments increased at far greater rates. Via Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

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Editorial: Fecal transplants: A therapy whose time has come 

One randomized trial comparing fecal transplant with antibiotics was stopped early because the non-drug approach was so effective that it would have been unethical to continue treating the other patients with medication. Subsequent studies have placed the cure rate at about 90%; a doctor from Mayo Clinic in Arizona describes a hospital patient who had been bedridden for weeks with C. difficile being discharged within 24 hours of fecal transplant. Via LA Times.

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Answer Man: Most DMC jobs will be created at Mayo

Dear Answer Man, a lot of smoke has been blown about DMC and all the jobs it will supposedly create in the Rochester area – 30,000 or 40,000 – over the next 20 years. How many of those will be “living wage” jobs? Good question. If you believe the Destination Medical Center literature, “it is estimated that 26,800 to 32,200 direct jobs (inclusive of construction jobs) will be created” by Mayo and DMC growth during the next 20 years. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Report: Nation may soon face shortage of cancer doctors

The American Society of Clinical Oncology said demand for cancer treatments will grow by at least 42 percent by 2025, while the number of oncologists will only increase 28 percent. “The shortages might have many different origins, not the least is which is that cancer is a disease that is more common as we age,” said Dr. Ruben Mesa, an oncologist with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Via KTAR Ariz.

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Dr. Paul Limburg: Colorectal Cancer Prevention

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