Week In Review — Oct. 17

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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Breakthrough Replicates Human Brain Cells for Use in Alzheimer’s Research

For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they resolved a longstanding problem of how to study Alzheimer’s and search for drugs to treat it…The key to their success, said the lead researcher, Rudolph E. Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was a suggestion by his colleague Doo Yeon Kim to grow human brain cells in a gel, where they formed networks as in an actual brain. Via NY Times.

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In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize. But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning the prize. That's certainly true for Jennifer Doudna. She hasn't won a Nobel Prize, but many are whispering that she's in line to win one for her work on something called CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes. Via NPR.

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Egg Freezing as a Work Benefit? Some Women See Darker Message

Tech companies are famous for their lavish benefits, like in-office haircuts, dry cleaning and massages. Now some of those companies are setting off a debate about women and work with a new benefit — paying for women on the payroll to freeze their eggs. Facebook in January began covering up to $20,000 in egg freezing expenses, and Apple said it would start covering egg freezing this January, as first reported by NBC News. Some doctors say egg freezing could be as influential as the birth control pill in freeing women from the confines of biology. Childbirth coincides with prime career-building years, and balancing both is a perpetual challenge. Via NY Times.

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Stem Cells From Human Embryos Prove Safe, Improve Vision–Study  

The longest-running trial of stem cells derived from a human embryo found that the cells caused patients none of the problems scientists feared, such as forming tumors, and reversed partial blindness in about half the eyes receiving transplants, researchers reported on Tuesday. The results, published in The Lancet, could help re-invigorate the controversial quest to harness stem cells, which have the ability to turn into any of the 200 kinds of human cells, to treat diseases. In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine called the work "a major accomplishment." Via Reuters.

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Obama Calls for Rapid Response Teams to Contain Any Future Ebola Infections 

The White House on Wednesday acknowledged shortcomings in the government’s response to Ebola as lawmakers from both parties called for swifter action to contain the spread of the virus. President Barack Obama tried to contain the fallout from the diagnosis of a second Texas health worker with Ebola, saying he ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send a rapid response team to oversee the handling of any future infections in the U.S. within 24 hours of diagnosis. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Americans Increasingly Anxious About Ebola: Poll

The public's rising concern over Ebola is understandable, said Mayo Clinic infectious diseases physician and researcher Dr. Pritish Tosh. "Ebola is an agent that evokes a lot of fear, and can result in societal disruption," Tosh said. "There's a reason why it's considered a possible bioterrorism agent. So any time you have any cases in the United States, there is a heightened amount of anxiety." Via Health Day.

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Mayo's Airborne Blood Bank Celebrates 30 Years

Nels Gunderson hung in the balance between life and death. His survival depended on access to first responders, rapid medical stabilization and an airborne blood bank carried by the Mayo One medical helicopter. It also depended on the helicopter conveying him quickly from his back yard in Osseo, Wis., to the Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, about 90 miles away, where a surgical team was working on him less than two hours after his son dialed 911. Thirty years ago this month, Mayo One flew its first patient. To celebrate its anniversary, the airborne service offered a glimpse inside the flying hospital. Via Star Tribune.

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For Ebola, No New Drugs Riding to the Rescue - for Now 

There's no magic bullet in the foreseeable future for the treatment of people infected by Ebola, infectious-disease experts say…"There are no licensed medications for the treatment of Ebola," said Dr. Pritish Tosh, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "The medications now being discussed have not gone through clinical trials, so we don't know if they have any effect to improve or harm patients." Via US News & World Report.

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Protocol, Equipment When Handling Ebola Questioned by Steph Crock

The two cases of transmission in the states were both to health care workers, so of course, hospital staff across the nation are concerned, including those here at Mayo Clinic. "The health and safety of our employees is among our foremost concern," said Dr. Pritish Tosh, Infectious Diseases Physician at Mayo Clinic. Via KAAL.

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Mayo Clinic Looks to Changing Demographics in Customer Service Approach

A patient experience approach by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota may represent a new front in healthcare customer service, according to Forbes. The clinic's approach, "destination medicine," brings together experts from a broad spectrum of specialties and, because entire families often visit the clinic, Mayo's room design keeps large groups of relatives and friends in mind. The design includes features like specially shaped sofas that can seat as many as a dozen visitors. Via FierceHealthcare.

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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.