Week In Review — Feb. 6

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.


U.S. to Collect Genetic Data to Hone Care

Saying that “the possibilities are boundless,” President Obama on Friday announced a major biomedical research initiative, including plans to collect genetic data on one million Americans so scientists could develop drugs and treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients. Via NY Times.

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How Doctors Can Win the Vaccine Debate With Patients

Fears and misinformation can be overcome, expert says. With the renewed focus on vaccines, MedPage Today went to Walter Orenstein, MD, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, where researchers have examined the phenomenon of vaccine refusal. In this video, Orenstein discusses the data on vaccine refusal and provides suggestions on what physicians can do to help get more children vaccinated. Via MedPage Today. 

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Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Dramatically Over 20 Years 

Breast cancer deaths have dropped dramatically in the past two decades — the result of better treatment, greater awareness and more women getting mammograms. The latest government statistics show deaths declined 34% between 1990 and 2011, from 33 to 22 per 100,000 women, and experts expect that the downward trend has continued in the four years since. The American Cancer Society says this translates into more than 200,000 deaths averted. Via USA Today.

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Secondhand Smoke Exposure Drops, C.D.C. Reports 

Americans’ exposure to secondhand smoke has declined by half since 2000, federal health authorities reported Tuesday, as states and municipalities banned smoking in bars, restaurants and offices, and fewer Americans smoked inside their homes. The share of American nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke fell to 25 percent in 2012 from 53 percent in 2000, according to an analysis of federal health data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure was determined by testing for cotinine, a marker of nicotine in the blood. Via NY Times.

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A New Initiative on Precision Medicine 

President Obama has long expressed a strong conviction that science offers great potential for improving health. Now, the President has announced a research initiative that aims to accelerate progress toward a new era of precision medicine (www.whitehouse.gov/precisionmedicine). We believe that the time is right for this visionary initiative, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other partners will work to achieve this vision. Via NEIM.

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Sepsis: What You Should Know

Patients battling any type of infection such as influenza, pneumonia, urinary tract infection or even food poisoning are at additional risk for sepsis — a serious complication that may lead to multiple organ failures and death, according to a recent sepsis overview published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings… According to Steve Peters, MD, pulmonary and critical care physician at Mayo Clinic, patients should take their temperature, maintain fluid consumption, be aware of the symptoms of sepsis and immediately seek medical care if sepsis is suspected. Via Infectious Disease News.

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In the United Kingdom, Medical Laboratory Professionals Gather to Explore Disruptive Diagnostic Technology, ISO 15189, and How Labs Can Add Value

“Speaking directly to the ability of medical laboratories to create more value from lab test data, William G. Morice, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Hematopathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told the attendees at FiLM that every lab has four ways to develop a consultative laboratory practice that creates improved value from lab test data. They are:” Via Dark Daily.

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New Approach Enables Mayo Clinic Neurologist to Diagnose a Rare Genetic Condition

When Dustin Bennett was 18 months old, his mother realized there was something wrong with him, that he was suddenly having a hard time keeping his balance when he stood upright…Finally, at the suggestion of one of the many physicians she consulted, the Bennetts made the trip from their home in Pearson, Ga., to Jacksonville so they could consult with Mayo Clinic neurologist Zbigniew Wszolek. Via Florida Times-Union.

Why Measles Is the Most Contagious Virus

Measles is back, and it’s been tearing through the country from California to 13 other states. Already, the number of cases has broken 100. But how is it spreading so fast, and why is it so contagious? Roberto Cattaneo, PhD, is the scientist credited with figuring that out. A professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic, he’s been studying the measles virus for 30 years. “It’s the most transmissible virus we know,” he says. Measles, it turns out, has a special way of invading that makes it really, really easy to get out of the host—and into other people. Via TIME.

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Precision Medicine in Action: Genomic Test Helps Solve Medical Mystery

Precision medicine is getting a jump-start from a new national initiative announced in President Obama's State of the Union message. One Georgia family has already experienced its benefits: genomic testing called whole exome sequencing helped Mayo Clinic neurologist Zbigniew Wszolek, M.D., solve a medical mystery that had left a boy with painful, jerking spasms that at times prevented him from walking or talking. Dr. Wszolek describes the case in a newly published article in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Via Science Daily.

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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.