Week in Review: March 13

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

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UCLA Health to Integrate Genomic Data Into EHR in Pilot

UCLA Health will soon begin a pilot project with Seattle-based startup ActX that will integrate genomic patient data into its Epic EHR system, with the eventual intent of applying precision medicine to a large-scale patient base. ActX, founded in 2012 and just out of stealth mode six months ago, collects a patient’s genetic information by way of a saliva sample, and then analyzes the information in real time. The data is integrated into an EHR – already, ActX is working with Allscripts and Greenway Health – and physicians will receive an alert about a medication and possible side effects, or warn of potentially serious risks for cancer. Via MedCity News.

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Apple's ResearchKit to Give Scientists Ready Access to Study Subjects

Apple Inc on Monday released ResearchKit, an open-source software tool designed to give scientists a new way to gather information on patients by using their iPhones. Several top research institutions have already developed applications to work on the ResearchKit platform, including those pursuing clinical studies on asthma, breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. They include Stanford University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College. Via Business Insider. 

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Parents’ Beliefs vs. Their Children’s Health

The spread of measles has called attention to parents who don’t vaccinate children because of religious beliefs. New York City is accommodating an Orthodox Jewish circumcision practice that can infect babies with herpes. Some states even let believers in faith healing deny life-saving medical care to their children. Should parents’ religious beliefs allow them to refuse medical care for their children or avoid standard medical practices? Via NY Times.

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Trends in Teen, Young Adult Suicide Differ by Gender

Patterns of suicides among adolescents and young adults changed dramatically from 1994 to 2012, with major gender differences in these 19-year trends, CDC researchers reported. But one trend was similar for males and females: suicide by suffocation became significantly more common, while guns became markedly less popular as a suicide method, according to data compiled by the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and published in Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report. Via MedPage Today.

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How Apple’s New Health App Could Be Used — or Abused

The biggest news at Monday’s Apple event was the launch of the much anticipated Apple Watch. But the company also announced a new type of software — ResearchKit — that it says will help medical researchers collect health data directly from patients via their various iDevices. ResearchKit is a software “framework” that hospitals and other health care organizations can use to create diagnostic applications, said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior VP of operations, at the watch event. An example: Williams demonstrated one app called mPower, designed to measure hand and voice tremors related to Parkinson’s disease. Via TIME.

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Senolytics: Scientists Identify New Drug that Slows the Aging Process and Could Dramatically Increase Our Life Expectancy 

A new class of drugs has been identified that slow the aging process in mice, alleviating symptoms of frailty and extending a healthy lifespan. If their effect on humans is as marked as it is on animal models, their benefit could be enormous. The research was carried out by a team from Mayo Clinic, The Scripps Institute and other institutions and published in the journal Aging Cell yesterday…"The prototypes of these senolytic agents have more than proven their ability to alleviate multiple characteristics associated with aging," added Mayo Clinic Professor James Kirkland, MD, who also worked on the study. Via The Independent UK.

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Matching Donations for Cancer Research

Doctors across the country are working around the clock to find a cure for cancer, and in our area a big gift is helping them inch closer. Shane Smith, the man behind the HBO show ‘Vice’, is offering to match donations to Mayo Clinic’s cancer center, up to $500,000. Smith and his crew were in Rochester recently highlighting how doctors are trying to kill cancer with different viruses including measles. Officials say this gift can go a long way. “Our research is critically important. When we do these matches it inspires patients and non-patients to join us. Typically it helps us increase the gifting by about 40%.” Chief Development Officer/Chair for Mayo Clinic Development Sheryl Hadaway says. Via KIMT.

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Mayo Clinic and Gentag to Collaborate on Wireless Sensors for Obesity and Diabetes

Mayo Clinic and Gentag, Inc. have established an agreement to advance the next generation of wearable biosensors specifically designed to address diabetes and obesity. “We are hoping that this technology will be game-changer. These patch biosensors may help us reduce global obesity and diabetes. They are accurate, inexpensive, and can be integrated into the care people receive,” said James Levine, who is an obesity researcher and Mayo Clinic endocrinologist. Via Diabetes News Journal.

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Be Careful When Diagnosing Your Ailments Online

When I was a child, a pale specter used to call our house most evenings, eager to chat with my doctor father about her myriad medical concerns. We called her the "White Bread Lady," a moniker she earned for one particularly inane call in which she panicked to my father after consuming white bread. She wasn't breaking out in hives or having any adverse effects to the bread. No, she was just concerned that some future illness could befall her given that one particular dietary decision. Although we all laughed at the time, it was with a bit of shifty-eyed shame… He suggests turning to sites like Mayo Clinic as well as troves of information curated by doctors (like Pho's own website) when trolling the web for info. And, of course, if a site mentions trolls and third eyes, one should definitely press on. Via CNN.

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Mayo Clinic and Collaborators Find New Class of Drugs that Reduces Aging in Mice

A new class of drugs identified and validated by Mayo Clinic researchers along with collaborators at Scripps Research Institute and others, clearly reduces health problems in mice by limiting the effect of senescent cells — cells that contribute to frailty and diseases associated with age. The researchers say this is a first step toward developing similar treatments for aging patients. Their findings appear today in the journal Aging Cell. 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.