Week in Review: March 27

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.


Many With Alzheimer's Never Get the Diagnosis: Report

More than half a million Americans will develop Alzheimer's disease this year, but as many as half will never be told their diagnosis, according to a new report. Doctors are reluctant to give the bad news, are afraid of the reaction, or fear they won't be believed, the Alzheimer's Association says. But Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers say they want to know. Via NBC.

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Cancer Patients Want More Info About CT Risks

Some cancer patients would like more information on the health risks of their radiology tests, a new study found. Most of the 30 patients questioned for the study said they looked online for information about the radiation hazards of tests like computed tomography (CT) scans, since their doctors did not explain the risks. Imaging techniques like X-rays, CT and positron emission tomography (PET) scans expose patients to ionizing radiation, which damages DNA and can lead to cell death or mutations that can increase the risk for later cancers. Via Reuters. 

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In Iceland’s DNA, New Clues to Disease-Causing Genes

Scientists in Iceland have produced an unprecedented snapshot of a nation’s genetic makeup, discovering a host of previously unknown gene mutations that may play roles in ailments as diverse as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and gallstones. In a series of papers published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers at Decode, an Icelandic genetics firm owned by Amgen, described sequencing the genomes — the complete DNA — of 2,636 Icelanders, the largest collection ever analyzed in a single human population. Via NY Times.

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Patients Often Aren't Offered Minimally Invasive Surgery

It would be nice to think that when you go in for surgery you'd be offered the safest, cheapest alternative, but that's not always the case, a study finds. Some hospitals are much more likely than others to offer minimally invasive surgery for procedures like colon or lung surgery or appendectomy, according to an analysis published in JAMA Surgery. And that means a higher risk of complications and greater expense, the study found. It looked at 80,000 surgeries in the 2010 National Inpatient Sample, and found that people who had minimally invasive surgery stayed in the hospital about 1.4 days less. Via NPR.

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Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to one. But men still earn more, a new study finds. Even after controlling for age, race, marital status, and children in the home, males in nursing out-earned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals. Via NPR.

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Angelina Jolie Reveals Preventative Surgery to Remove Ovaries, Fallopian Tubes

Nearly two years after writing a much-discussed essay in the New York Times detailing her decision to have a double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie has followed up with more health news. Last week, she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The surgery, like the double mastectomy Jolie underwent in 2013, was preventative. She carries a gene mutation called BRCA1 that puts her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and three women in her family have died of cancer. Via Washington Post.

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Could a Tampon Help Predict Endometrial Cancer? Mayo Clinic Researchers Say Yes

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that it is possible to detect endometrial cancer using tumor DNA picked up by ordinary tampons. The new approach specifically examines DNA samples from vaginal secretions for the presence of chemical “off” switches — known as methylation — that can disable genes that normally keep cancer in check. “Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to a Pap smear or a mammogram for endometrial cancer,” says Jamie Bakkum-Gamez, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study. Via Health Canal.

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A Simple 3-Part Test May Predict Alzheimer’s

Diseases like Alzheimer’s start years, even decades, before the first symptoms of memory loss shows up. And with rates of those diseases rising, experts say that more primary care physicians—not neurology experts—will have the task of identifying these patients early so they can take advantage of whatever early interventions might be available. “If we had a simple blood test, a cholesterol test for Alzheimer’s disease, that would help,” says Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, “but we don’t.” But Petersen has a potential solution, and according to a new paper released in the journal Neurology, his Alzheimer’s test has promise. Via TIME.

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Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis Launches New TB Journal

The Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis, a regional training and consultation center at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minn, is launching a new medical journal, the Journal of Clinical Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases. “We are very excited that we are launching this journal on World TB Day and hope that it will effectively advance new knowledge that will ultimately help end this terrible disease,” says editor-in-chief Zelalem Temesgen, M.D. Two other Mayo Clinic physician-researchers, Stacey Rizza, M.D., and John Wilson, M.D., will serve as associate editors. Via Infectious Control Today.

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Mayo Clinic Receives Cancer Center of Excellence Designation from the State of Florida

Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Fla. has been recognized as one of four Cancer Centers of Excellence to be designated by the State of Florida. The Cancer Center of Excellence designation recognizes Mayo Clinic and three other cancer centers for demonstrating a commitment to excellence by providing patient-centered coordinated care for those undergoing cancer treatment and therapy in Florida. The goal of the program is to encourage excellence in cancer care in Florida, attract and retain the best cancer care professionals to the state, and help Florida organizations to be recognized nationally as a preferred destination for quality cancer care. 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.