Week In Review — Oct. 3

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.


To Prevent Repeat Hospitalizations, Talk To Patients

It's hard to persuade people to change, Wiehrs says. And patients are sometimes skeptical about his role in their care. He says they often approach him and say, "I've been coming to this office before; I've seen these physicians. And now you're somebody new. What are you doing, and why do you want to talk to me?" Getting these patients to trust Wiehrs is an important part of the hospital's strategy for dealing with rising costs. Memorial is investing $500,000 a year in care coordination, in the belief that the program will save money in the long run and improve the quality of care. Via NPR.

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CDC Probing Reports of Paralysis in 9 Colorado Children, Including Some with Enterovirus 68

Several children in Colorado, including some that have tested positive for the Enterovirus 68 respiratory illness, also reported neurological symptoms including muscle weakness and paralysis. Colorado health officials say nine children were identified between Aug. 8 and Sept. 17 after they developed neurological symptoms that are not commonly associated with Enterovirus 68, which causes severe breathing problems particularly in children with pre-existing asthma or respiratory problems. Via Washington Post.

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Dire Warnings by Big Tobacco on E-Smoking 

Tobacco companies, long considered public health enemy No. 1, have suddenly positioned themselves as protectors of consumer well-being in the digital age. They are putting out among the strongest health warnings in the fledgling e-cigarette industry, going further even than the familiar ones on actual cigarettes, a leading cause of death. It has left the industry’s critics scratching their heads and deeply skeptical. One warning, from Altria, maker of Marlboros, reads in part: “Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed.” Via NY Times.

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Obamacare to Save U.S. Hospitals $5.7 Billion in Uncompensated Care: Government 

The Obama administration on Wednesday said it expects expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act to save U.S. hospitals $5.7 billion this year on the cost of caring for uninsured Americans. A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said nearly three-quarters of the savings, $4.2 billion, would occur in states that have opted to expand the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor as part of the law, popularly known as Obamacare. Via Reuters.

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Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls 

Artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes, researchers are reporting. That is “the very same condition that we often aim to prevent” by consuming sweeteners instead of sugar, said Dr. Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, at a news conference to discuss the findings. Via NY Times.

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At-Home Test Could Catch Cancer Early, but Some Worry About Impact

But at Scottsdale’s Mayo Clinic, Dr. Helen Ross is skeptical of at-home tests that don’t have the FDA’s support. If the test really is a good test it would be nice to have it validated in a clinical trial, in a cancer center, or in a setting of clinical researchers who have experience with diagnostic testing. Via Cronkite News.

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New Technology Brings About a Revolution in Medical Care

DNA sequencing is revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of everything from cancer to Down syndrome at breakneck speed, changing health care forever. Incredibly, only one company—Illumina—is making it all possible. It's just getting started… When Renee Valint’s daughter Shelby was born in 2000, she seemed weak, like a rag doll. Shelby learnt to walk and talk, but she did so slowly, missing developmental milestones. By age four she was confined to a wheelchair, and she started using a computerized voice to communicate in the fifth grade. Desperate, Renee took her from Phoenix to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for one last week of tests and discussion with some of the country’s top doctors. Via Forbes.

Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Cause of Ischemic Colitis Often Unclear

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What exactly is ischemic colitis? Do doctors know what causes it? ANSWER: Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to part of the large intestine (colon) is reduced due to one of two reasons: either there's a blocked or narrowed blood vessel (occlusive), or there's a temporary decrease in blood flow to the colon (nonocclusive). Via Chicago Tribune.

Roche Breast Cancer Drug Perjeta Appears to Greatly Extend Patients’ Lives

A drug used to treat advanced breast cancer has had what appears to be unprecedented success in prolonging lives in a clinical trial, researchers reported on Sunday. Patients who received the drug — Perjeta, from the Swiss drug maker Roche — had a median survival time nearly 16 months longer than those in the control group…Two experts not involved in the study, Dr. Edith A. Perez of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Dr. Harold J. Burstein of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said the results were impressive. “Usually we see two months of improvement,” Dr. Perez said. Via NY Times.

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Most Breast Cancer Patients Who Had Healthy Breast Removed at Peace with Decision

More women with cancer in one breast are opting to have both breasts removed to reduce their risk of future cancer. New research shows that in the long term, most have no regrets. Mayo Clinic surveyed hundreds of women with breast cancer who had double mastectomies between 1960 and 1993 and found that nearly all would make the same choice again. The findings are published in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Dr. Robert Cima: 5 Questions to Ask Your Surgeon before Surgery 


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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.