Week In Review — July 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.

Organ Transplants: 'Supercooling' Keeps Organs Fresh 

"Supercooling" combines chilling the organ and pumping nutrients and oxygen through its blood vessels. Tests on animals, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, showed supercooled livers remained viable for three days, compared with less than 24 hours using current technology. If it works on human organs, it has the potential to transform organ donation…One of the researchers, Dr Korkut Uygun, from the Harvard Medical School, told the BBC the technique could lead to donated organs being shared around the world. "That would lead to better donor matching, which would reduce-long term organ rejection and complications, which is one of the major issues in organ transplant," he said. Via BBC.

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Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations 

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty. Via New York Times.

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Study Finds Vaccine Side Effects Extremely Rare

Serious complications related to vaccines are very rare, and there is no evidence that immunizations cause autism, according to an analysis of 67 research studies. The analysis comes as many vaccine-preventable diseases are making a comeback, often in communities with low vaccination rates…"This report should give parents some reassurance," says pediatrician Courtney Gidengil of Rand and Boston Children's Hospital, co-author of the study out today in Pediatrics. Via USA Today.

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U.S. Agency Taps Medical Centers to Investigate Rare Diseases

The U.S. government's leading health research agency said on Tuesday it has selected six U.S. academic medical centers to help discover the cause of undiagnosed diseases using advanced diagnostic tools, including gene sequencing. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said the six centers will expand the work of a pilot program at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, that for the past six years has evaluated hundreds of patients and provided many diagnoses, often using genomic approaches, for rare conditions. Via Reuters.

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State Of The Painkiller Nation: Wide Variation In Prescription Rates

There's no getting around the fact that the abuse of prescription painkillers is a huge problem in the U.S. Prescription drug overdoses now kill more people each year than car crashes. But the overdose risks vary quite a bit depending on where in the country you live. One reason is that how often doctors prescribed the drugs, such as Percocet, Vicodin and generic opioids, varies widely by state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed a commercial database of drug prescriptions looking for patterns. Nationwide, there were 82.5 prescriptions written for opioid painkillers for every 100 Americans in 2012. Via NPR.

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Proton Therapy Has Advantages Over IMRT for Advanced Head and Neck Cancers

Mayo study finds, A new study by radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic comparing the world’s literature on outcomes of proton beam therapy in the treatment of a variety of advanced head and neck cancers of the skull base compared to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has found that proton beam therapy significantly improved disease free survival and tumor control when compared to IMRT. Via Health Canal.

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Medical Boards Draft Plan to Ease Path to Out-of-State and Online Treatment

Officials representing state medical boards across the country have drafted a model law that would make it much easier for doctors licensed in one state to treat patients in other states, whether in person, by videoconference or online…The Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota, for example, has established links with more than two dozen hospitals and health systems…“Cross-border licensure is a strategic imperative as we move forward in this brave new world,” said Kathleen M. Harrington, who is in charge of government relations at Mayo. Via New York Times.

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Integrating Clinical Genomics Data into Standard Medical Practice

The full-blown version of this five-year scenario is fiction,” says David Smith, Ph.D., professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the Mayo Clinic. “Now having your genome on a disk in five years will very likely be a reality but being able to fully interpret your genome’s data and make a clinically important decision remains more in the realm of fiction.” Dr. Smith’s lab relies on cutting-edge genomic technologies to better understand the molecular alterations that underlie cancer development. Via GEN.

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5 Ways to Beat the Heat and Stay Hydrated

Our body is made up of two-thirds water – something to remember in the sweltering heat when it’s easy to become dehydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes about eight or nine glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.  That sounds like a lot, but luckily there are all kinds of light, delicious and nutritious ways to get your fill. Via Fox News.

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Weekend Wellness: Many Tests Available to Try to Find Reason For Recurrent Miscarriages

I am 32 and have had one healthy pregnancy and baby. But over the past 18 months, I have had two miscarriages, both in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. My doctor does not recommend testing until after a third miscarriage. What do you recommend? What kind of tests can be done to determine if there is a problem? Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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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.