Week In Review — Aug. 22

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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'Ice Bucket Challenge' for ALS Shows Power of Viral Fundraising

Athletes, executives and even a newborn babe are dumping on the ALS Association, and the unsuspecting charity could not be more grateful. The “ice bucket challenge” has people all over Minnesota and the United States dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, posting videos on social media and challenging friends to do the same or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Via Star Tribune.

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An Unstoppable Killer: New Research Suggests Cancer Can't Be Eradicated

Since Richard Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971, the National Cancer Institute has poured some $90 billion into research and treatments. Yet a cure remains elusive. Experts have plenty of targets for blame, including a flawed emphasis on treatment over prevention, and Big Pharma betting on blockbuster treatments that cost billions to develop. But a new study raises a sobering possibility: Cancer simply may be here to stay. Researchers at Kiel University, the Catholic University of Croatia and other institutions discovered that hydra — tiny, coral-like polyps that emerged hundreds of millions of years ago — form tumors similar to those found in humans. Which suggests that our cells' ability to develop cancer is "an intrinsic property" that has evolved at least since then — way, way, way before we rallied our forces to try to tackle it, said Thomas Bosch, an evolutionary biologist at Kiel University who led the study, published in Nature Communications in June. Via NPR.

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Relief Official Urges Groups to Step Up Ebola Efforts

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “a complete disaster,” and health agencies do not yet grasp its scope, the president of the relief group Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday. “No one yet has the full measure of the magnitude of this crisis,” the president, Dr. Joanne Liu, said in an interview. “We don’t have good data collection. We don’t have enough surveillance.”Via NY Times.

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Medicare to Start Paying Doctors Who Coordinate Needs of Chronically Ill Patients

In a policy change, the Obama administration is planning to pay doctors to coordinate the care of Medicare beneficiaries, amid growing evidence that patients with chronic illnesses suffer from disjointed, fragmented care. Although doctors have often performed such work between office visits by patients, they have historically not been paid for it. Starting in January, Medicare will pay monthly fees to doctors who manage care for patients with two or more chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and depression. Via NY Times.

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Cardiologist Speaks From The Heart About America's Medical System

As a young doctor working at a teaching hospital, Sandeep Jauhar was having trouble making ends meet. So, like other academic physicians, he took a job moonlighting at a private practice, the offices of a cardiologist. He noticed that the offices were quick to order expensive tests for their patients — even when they seemed unnecessary… Jauhar's new memoir, Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician, is about how doctors are growing increasingly discontent with their profession. And they're facing more pressures: As the number of patients they're expected to see increases, so does the amount of paperwork. Via NPR.

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Mayo ALS Doctors Take Ice Bucket Challenge

By now you've probably seen the videos of the ice bucket challenge. Friday it was Mayo Clinic doctors getting wet. Doctors Eric Sorenson and Nathan Staff work at the ALS center at Mayo. The challenge is a way to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is a deadly degenerative nerve disorder. Via KAAL.

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Trial to Use Stem Cells to Repair Heart 

Medical officials are talking about a breakthrough clinical trial that could help the heart repair itself. On Tuesday afternoon, Mayo Clinic and Cardio3 Biosciences officials outlined an FDA-approved clinical trial to be carried out here in the United States. A similar trial has already been underway in Europe. Cardio3 CEO Christian Homsy says stem cells are a major part of this heart-healing process. "What we do is take cells from a patient and we reprogram those cells to become cardiac reparative cells. Those cells have the ability to come and repair the heart." Those stem cells would come from the bone marrow of patients who suffer from heart failure. Via KTTC.

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Mayo Clinic Support Center Grows

Mayo Clinic is ramping up its laboratory space in Rochester with an almost 70,000-square-foot expansion of its Superior Drive Support Center… Dr. Franklin R. Cockerill, chairman of the Dept. of Lab Medicine and Pathology as well as president and CEO of Mayo Medical Labs, told the crowd gathered for the ceremony that three labs now located downtown in the Hilton Building will move into the new space. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Scores $47.5 Million Grant

The National Cancer Institute has chosen Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester as one of seven research bases nationwide and awarded it a $47.5 million, five-year grant. Dr. Jan Buckner, Mayo's deputy director for cancer practice, will lead the NCI's research base, which will design and conduct clinical trials and other research on cancer, Mayo has announced. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Tinkering With Genes to Prevent Migraines

New drugs in promising clinical trials use genetic engineering to prevent migraine headaches, the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world… Co-author on both studies, David Dodick, M.D., of Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix commented, “Migraine remains poorly treated, and there are few effective and well-tolerated treatments approved that prevent attacks from occurring. There is a huge treatment need for migraine.” Via Psych Central.

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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.