Week in Review: March 20

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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Tests of Cholesterol Drugs Offer Hope of Reducing Heart Attacks and Strokes

A new class of experimental cholesterol drugs might sharply reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers reported, citing what they described as preliminary evidence. The drugs, one being developed by Amgen and the other by Sanofi andRegeneron Pharmaceuticals, are already known to sharply reduce so-called bad cholesterol, sometimes to levels lower than those achieved by statins like Lipitor, the mainstay lipid-lowering medicines. Via Ny Times.

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Data on Health Law Shows Largest Drop in Uninsured in 4 Decades, the U.S. Says

The Obama administration said that 16.4 million uninsured people had gained health coverage since major provisions of the Affordable Care Act began to take effect in 2010, driving the largest reduction in the number of uninsured in about 40 years. Since the first open enrollment period began in October 2013, the officials said, the proportion of adults lacking insurance has dropped to 13.2 percent, from 20.3 percent. Via NY Times. 

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Microsoft Is Planning to Phase Out Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer, everyone's favorite punching-bag browser, will soon be retired. At the annual Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta, chief marketing officer Chris Capossela said the company is searching for a new name for its latest browser, which is on track to be debuted with Windows 10. The company is currently developing the browser under the codename Project Spartan. Via Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Breast Biopsies Leave Room for Doubt, Study Finds

Breast biopsies are good at telling the difference between healthy tissue and cancer, but less reliable for identifying more subtle abnormalities, a new study finds. Because of the uncertainty, women whose results fall into the gray zone between normal and malignant — with diagnoses like “atypia” or “ductal carcinoma in situ” — should seek second opinions on their biopsies, researchers say. Misinterpretation can lead women to have surgery and other treatments they do not need, or to miss out on treatments they do need. The new findings, reported in JAMA, challenge the common belief that a biopsy is the gold standard and will resolve any questions that might arise from an unclear mammogram or ultrasound. Via NY Times.

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How Malaria In The Brain Kills: Doctors Solve A Medical Mystery

Malaria is one of the oldest scourges of mankind. Yet it's been a mystery how the deadliest form of the disease kills children. One doctor in Michigan has dedicated her life to figuring that out. Now she and her team report their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. The key to solving the mystery was looking inside the brain. Via NPR.

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Scientists’ New Goal: Growing Old Without Disease

Some of the top researchers on aging in the country are trying to get an unusual clinical trial up and running. They want to test a pill that could prevent or delay some of the most debilitating diseases of old age, including Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. The focus of the project isn’t to prolong life, although that could occur, but to make the last years or decades of people’s lives more fulfilling by postponing the onset of many chronic diseases until closer to death. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Mayo Clinic Surgeons Investigate Use of Drones for Medicine

Commercially available unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, have gotten pretty amazing and quite cheap over the last few years. Lately there have been attempts to use drones for medical applications, such as ferrying automatic external defibrillators and emergency medicines faster than ambulances. In the latest Air Medical Journal, three researchers from Mayo Clinic’s Department of Surgery investigate the potential for drones to be used to deliver things such as drugs and blood derivatives to clinics, disaster areas, and to remote places that are expensive to reach such as ships and offshore oil platforms. Via MedGadget.

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Mayo Clinic Pushes To Simplify Physician Licensure Across State Lines

Mayo Clinic is among the health organizations rallying around a bill that would make it easier for physicians to get licensed in other states. The bill would create a new pathway by having Minnesota join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The advantage would be that Minnesota physicians who meet the qualifications required under the compact would be eligible for expedited licensure in member states. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Drinking Diet Soda Linked to a Widening Waistline With Age

People over age 65 who drink diet soda daily tend to expand their waistlines by much more than peers who prefer other beverages, possibly contributing to chronic illnesses that go along with excess belly fat, according to a new study. “It cannot be explained by the calories,” said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study. People who drink diet soda may be more likely to overeat in other areas, he told Reuters Health. “The main point is for those who drink a lot of soda, diet or not, there may be a relationship with obesity,” Lopez-Jimenez said. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Brothers Flex against Colorectal Cancer in “Stronger Than That” Video

Mayo Clinic’s founders join patient activists, celebrities, and employees from all three Mayo Clinic sites and two iconic American statues in a new music video supporting the #StrongArmSelfie campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening. The video is based on “Stronger Than That,” the song BBR Music Group's Craig Campbell wrote and recorded to support the Fight Colorectal Cancer awareness campaign. Campbell is donating all proceeds from download sales of the song to @FightCRC, and Bayer Healthcare is giving @FightCRC $1 for each #StrongArmSelfie photo or brief video posted publicly to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or Vine, up to a maximum of $25,000. 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.