Week In Review — May 2

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.


Deadly virus saves student's life

"I wasn't given very long to live," Stephanie Lipscomb explains of her terrifying brain tumor diagnosis. Just 20, the college student and nurse in training suffered debilitating headaches and misdiagnoses before doctors delivered the news. "I couldn't bathe myself, or clothe myself," she recalls. After surgery, chemo and radiation, the cancer came back… Doctors injected a version of the polio virus into Stephanie's tumor -- she is now cancer-free. Her amazing medical story is featured in the new People magazine. In December she'll graduate from nursing school at the University of Southern Carolina. Via Yahoo! News. 

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Fibromyalgia: A new paradigm?

Small fiber neuropathy, rather than central sensitization, may be responsible for the pain associated with fibromyalgia, some researchers have hypothesized. Skin biopsies revealed lower mean epidermal nerve fiber density among patients with fibromyalgia compared with controls at both the calf (5.8 versus 7.4, P<0.0002) and thigh (9.3 versus 11.3, P<0.0007), according to Xavier J. Caro, MD, of Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Northridge, Calif., and Earl F. Winter, PhD, of North Central University in Prescott, Ariz. Via MedPage Today.

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Health law’s pay policy is skewed, panel finds

Federal policies to reward high-quality health care are unfairly penalizing doctors and hospitals that treat large numbers of poor people, according to a new report commissioned by the Obama administration that recommends sweeping changes in payment policy. Medicare and private insurers are increasingly paying health care providers according to their performance as measured by the quality of the care they provide. Via NY Times.

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Solving the mystery flu that killed 50 million people 

Researchers have wondered for decades why the 1918 flu disproportionately killed so many young people, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests the answers are in the pattern of past flu infections…What happened was the 1918 influenza pandemic. A virus that usually does little more than make people feel awful for a few days killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, if not far more, with 650,000 people dying in the U.S. alone. Via TIME

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A deadly fungus and questions at a hospital

The first victim was a premature boy in the intensive care unit whose mother noticed a mysterious irritation in his groin; it grew into an open wound burrowing into the baby’s abdomen. The last patient to die was a 10-year-old girl, whose face was ravaged. Three other patients at Children’s Hospital here were also stricken, including a 13-year-old boy who his parents said endured over 20 surgical procedures in 54 days in a futile effort to save him…Those questions take on greater urgency, experts say, because deadly fungal infections, while still rare, appear to be on the rise nationwide…An estimated 75,000 patients with infections picked up in health care facilities die in hospitals each year, according to figures released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Via NY Times.

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Inside Mayo's Healthy Living and Sports Complex Center

On Tuesday, Mayo officials provided a media tour of the new Sports Medicine Clinic for athletes and its Healthy Living Program for individuals who want to achieve and sustain wellness. Both programs are at Mayo Clinic's Abraham Healthy Living Center in Rochester. "I think our vision was to have a world class facility," said Michael Stuart, Co-Director of Mayo Clinic's Sports Medicine…On several floors above is Mayo Clinic's soon-to-come Healthy Living Program. "There are a lot of different wellness programs out there, but there really isn't one like the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program," said program Director Donald Hensrud. Cooking classes, yoga, and even meditation are all sessions packed into a four day experience to reach wellness with physical activity, nutrition, and resiliency. Via KAAL.

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More than 2,500 pounds of medications collected

Mayo Clinic and local law enforcement played a big role in today's "Drug Take-Back Day". More than six hundred cars came by the Gonda Building to drop-off medications. Rochester Police say they collected around 2,500 pounds of prescription drugs that were boxed up and sent out to be destroyed. That's five hundred more pounds compared to last year. According to Lt. Tom Kaase of the Rochester Police Department, the public is more aware now about the ease and accessibility of this drug take-back program. Via KAAL

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Vaccine strategy enters new era

A population-based approach to vaccine development and administration is rapidly evolving into an individualized treatment strategy based on a range of biological processes that shape human immunity to viruses, according to Gregory A. Poland, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, who delivered his keynote lecture here at the 2014 Annual Conference on Vaccine Research. Via Healio.

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Mayo Clinic unveils new cancer test

Mayo Clinic is unveiling a new type of cancer test that officials say will help tailor chemotherapy to each individual patient. Dr. Axel Grothey is an oncologist who routinely orders the test for his patients with colorectal cancer and said, “For some patients, they might qualify for certain treatments which they might not otherwise have access to, and we actually see that some treatments might have a detrimental effect, meaning a negative effect on patients if we don’t select patients right.” Via KTTC.

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10 Questions: Edith A. Perez, M.D.

What's the biggest barrier to practicing medicine today? Time, Edith A. Perez, MD, deputy director at large for Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, said in response to one of 10 questions MedPage Today is asking thought leaders in medicine. Via MedPage Today

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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.