Week In Review — Nov. 28

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.


Smoking, War or Obesity: Which Takes the Biggest Economic Toll on the World? 

When it comes to social burdens created by humans, smoking, war and obesity rank right at the top of the list. And according to a new report from McKinsey, the three are actually about equally destructive, at least from an economic perspective. McKinsey estimates that smoking and armed conflict (including war, violence and terrorism) each had an annual global economic impact of $2.1 trillion, or about 2.9 percent of GDP. The impact of obesity was only slightly lower at $2.0 trillion, equivalent to 2.8 percent of global GDP. Via Forbes.

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An Easy Money Saver: the Flu Shot

With illnesses from Ebola to enterovirus making headlines this fall, many health experts say one of the best ways to protect yourself--and your wallet--is to steer clear of an old holiday bug, the seasonal flu. Flu season is just around the corner. Cases of influenza tend to pick up in late November and December, just as families start traveling and congregating indoors for the holidays, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early symptoms, like aches and fever, can mimic those of other viruses, but flu is mainly a respiratory illness “not at all similar to Ebola,” says Michael Jhung, a medical officer in the CDC’s influenza division. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Lawmakers Look for Ways to Provide Relief for Rising Cost of Generic Drugs 

With the prices for some common generic medicines soaring over the past 18 months, state and federal lawmakers are trying to find relief for patients struggling to pay. On Thursday, a Senate panel convened to investigate price increases for generic drugs. Separately, Senators Amy Klobuchar and John McCain will revive stalled legislation to allow some prescription imports from Canada. Via NY Times.

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Fat to Blame for Half a Million Cancers a Year, WHO Agency Says 

Some half a million cases of cancer a year are due to people being overweight or obese, and the problem is particularly acute in North America, the World Health Organization's cancer research agency said on Wednesday. In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said high body mass index (BMI) has now become a major cancer risk factor, responsible for some 3.6 percent, or 481,000, of new cancer cases in 2012. Via Reuters.

Google Puts Money Behind Spoon That Stays Steady in Tremoring Hands

The Liftware Spoon, developed by health tech company Lift Labs, which Google acquired in September for an undisclosed sum, uses hundreds of algorithms to sense how a hand is shaking and makes adjustments to keep the spoon steady…I have some patients who couldn't eat independently, they had to be fed, and now they can eat on their own,” said UC San Francisco Medical Center neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem, who specializes in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors. Via Los Angeles Times.

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Stay Heart Healthy Through the Holidays

Dr. Amy Pollak, cardiologist, Mayo Clinic, appears on the show. Via WJXT.

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When Our Own Bodies Attack – The Mystery of Autoimmune Diseases

It started with strange bruises on his skin. Doctors at Mayo Clinic diagnosed a rare autoimmune disease called ITP, immune thrombocytopenic purpura. “We don’t know exactly what causes ITP,” says Behzad Bidadi, MD, an expert in pediatric blood diseases at Mayo Clinic. “We believe that the immune system in the body mistakes the platelets for being foreign and attacks them. Via Everyday Health.

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20 Health ‘Tips’ You Will Hear Over The Holidays That Are Totally Wrong

Eating ice cream will make your cold worse…The idea that dairy increases mucus production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.” Bless him. Via Business Insider.

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Magazine Honors Mayo Clinic CEO's Leadership

Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy was chosen as 2014's Person of the Year by Twin Cities Business. As Mayo Clinic prepares for an aggressive expansion under the Destination Medical Center initiative, Noseworthy' leadership is increasingly being noticed. In August, Modern Healthcare magazine listed Noseworthy as 16th on its list of the 100 most influential people in healthcare. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Enjoyable Eating During the Holidays

Many people look forward to eating turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy, buttered beans, fruitcake, cookies, nuts, and pie throughout the holiday season. But excessive culinary celebrating creates the perfect recipe for dietary disaster and it can be very tempting to disregard healthy eating habits. According to MayoClinic.org the average American gains 5 pounds of weight between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. It is no wonder losing weight is the most popular New Year’s resolution. 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.