Week In Review — April 4

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.

Guinea battles to contain Ebola as Senegal closes its border

Guinea is racing to contain a deadly Ebola epidemic spreading from its southern forests to the capital Conakry, as neighbouring Senegal closes its border. The European Union pledged 500,000 euros ($690,000) to fight the contagion, while the Senegalese interior ministry said border crossings to Guinea would be closed "until further notice"…Eight cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Conakry, the Guinean health ministry said late Friday, including one fatality. Via Yahoo! News. 

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Obamacare website fails as deadline arrives

People trying to apply and enroll for private health insurance through Obamacare before Monday's midnight deadline discovered the website was "currently unavailable." Healthcare.gov, the online marketplace bedeviled by bugs since its launch last fall, went down for several hours Monday morning, a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services said. It was back online later in the morning after a short time when it put customers in a "queue," meaning they'd be notified by email when they could proceed with enrollment. Via NBC News.

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Medicare to publish trove of data on doctors

The Obama administration said it would publish as early as next week data on what Medicare paid individual doctors in 2012, aiming to boost transparency and help root out fraud. The move, which faced fierce resistance from doctors' groups, would end a decades long block on making the information public…It will include how many times the providers carried out a particular service or procedure, whether they carried it out in a medical facility or an office setting, the average amount they charged Medicare for it, the average amount they were paid for it, and the total number of people they treated. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Stem cell scientist 'guilty of misconduct'

An investigation into a supposedly groundbreaking stem cell study in Japan has found the lead researcher guilty of misconduct. The Riken Centre panel said Dr Haruko Obokata fabricated her work in an intentionally misleading fashion. It said there were irregularities in data and images used in Dr Obokata's scientific papers published in Nature. Via BBC.

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Dr. Paul Offit: 'Journalism jail' for faulty medical reporting

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia chief of infectious diseases, University of Pennylvania pediatrician, vaccine developer and author, Paul W. Offit, M.D., called on broadcast and print reporters to avoid the “he-said, she-said reporting” that perpetuates false controversies in science and medicine.Offit’s comments came today in his keynote address at Health Journalism 2014, this year’s annual meeting of the Association for Health Care Journalists. Via Forbes.

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Test accurately rules out heart attacks in the ER

A large study in Sweden found that the blood test plus the usual electrocardiogram of the heartbeat were 99 percent accurate at showing which patients could safely be sent home…Dr. Allan Jaffe, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, said the problem is not what the test rules out, but what it might falsely rule in. It's so sensitive that it can pick up troponin from heart failure and other problems and cause unnecessary tests for that. "I think the strategy long-term will be proven," but more studies underway now in the U.S. are needed to show that, he said. Via ABC News.

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Mayo Clinic expansion already underway, more likely 

With the Destination Medical Center plan in the books, Mayo Clinic has already shifted into growth mode. The nonprofit has several projects underway, or planned in the near future. "There are current projects taking place at Mayo Clinic that will continue to enhance the patient experience and increase the quality of care delivered to patients for generations to come," said Mayo spokeswoman Kelley Luckstein. The latest is at Mayo Medical Laboratories which plans a 66,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the Superior Drive Support Center. Via Post-Bulletin.

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FDA approves pill that could replace some allergy shots

The first pill that could replace allergy shots for some people has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.… Immunotherapy in take-home pill form "is a significant advance and certainly one of the few brand new products we've had in quite a long time," says James Li, chairman of the division of allergy and immunology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Via USA TODAY.

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Mayo Clinic Care Network now in 14 states, Mexico

Stormont-Vail HealthCare has become the first health organization in Kansas to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a growing national expertise-sharing and patient-referral collaboration. Care Network members have access to Mayo experts and protocols. Mayo leaders have said the purpose of the network is to provide members, which maintain their own, separate ownerships, access to the "Mayo model of care." Via Post-Bulletin.

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Cialis may not prevent impotence in men treated for prostate cancer 

Taking the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis while receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer doesn't seem to help men's sexual function after treatment, a new study finds. About 40 percent of men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer suffer from erectile dysfunction afterward, according to the study…"There is no indication to use Cialis in men about to undergo radiotherapy for prostate cancer," said lead researcher Dr. Thomas Pisansky, a professor of radiation oncology at the Mayo Clinic. Via HealthDay

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.