Week in Review: April 17

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.


Medical Schools Reboot For 21st Century

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training hasn't — until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, some top medical schools around the U.S. are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch. Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner. Via NPR.

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Medical Labs Settle Case; Ex-CEO, Contractor Sued 

Federal authorities are cracking down on cardiac biomarker laboratories that they allege paid doctors kickbacks to provide patients’ blood samples for testing. Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. and Singulex Inc. agreed to pay at least $47 million and $1.5 million, respectively, to settle civil allegations filed by the Justice Department that they paid doctors for patient blood and billed Medicare for medically unnecessary testing. Via Wall Street Journal. 

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Why Some Doctors Are Hesitant To Screen Smokers For Lung Cancer

In February, Medicare announced that it would pay for an annual lung cancer screening test for certain long-term smokers. Medicare recipients between the ages of 55 and 77 who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years are now eligible for the annual test, known as a spiral CT scan. But as more and more people are getting screened for lung cancer, other doctors worry the test is doing more harm than good. Via NPR.

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Study Finds Broad Rise in Medication Use by Those Newly Joining Medicaid 

People newly covered by Medicaid drove a significant increase in prescription drug use in 2014, even as those with private commercial coverage filled fewer prescriptions and, over all, patients did not visit the doctor as often, according to a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which tracks the health industry. Via NY Times.

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Breath Test to Predict Risk of Stomach Cancer Developed by Scientists

A breath test which can predict the chance of developing stomach cancer has been developed by scientists in the hope it could save thousands of lives. Currently, symptoms of stomach cancer are often mistaken for other complaints and there is no effective early screening test, so it is usually diagnosed when it is too late for treatment to be effective. Via Telegraph UK.

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Targeted Agents Trigger ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The success of targeted drugs and immunotherapies has triggered a seismic shift in cancer treatment. As the potential increases for these personalized approaches to selectively destroy tumors while preserving healthy tissue, oncologists are increasingly favoring them over other standard-of-care regimens that have proved effective but carry risks for considerable short- and long-term toxicities. Two studies presented at the ASH Annual Meeting in December suggest this trend may become more prevalent in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which traditionally includes chemotherapy alone or in combination with radiotherapy. Via HemOnc Today.

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New Mayo Clinic Technology Tests Genes for Heart Disorders

A new type of genetic testing at Mayo Clinic is making it easier to diagnose and property treat heart disorders. This new technology is allowing doctors to search your genes for heart disorders that could be hard to detect. Mayo Clinic's Linnea Baudhuin, Ph.D., who helped develop the panels, says this kind of innovative testing could save lives. "A physician may have difficulty giving the exact diagnosis of what the patient has because there's so much overlap with how these disorders present, even though they're due to different genetic causes. But with this testing, we're able to really specify which disorder the patient has,” said Dr. Baudhuin. Via KTTC.

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Large Study Shows Polygenic SNP Score Can Predict Breast Cancer Risk

An international team, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, has shown that a 77-SNP polygenic risk prediction method can stratify breast cancer risk among women both with and without a family history of the disease. According to study co-author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Celine Vachon, "This genetic risk factor adds valuable information to what we already know can affect a woman's chances of developing breast cancer." "We are currently developing a test based on these results, and though it isn't ready for clinical use yet, I think that within the next few years we will be using this approach for better personalized screening and prevention strategies for our patients," she added. Via GenomeWeb.

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Creating Profile to Identify Patients Most at Risk of Developing Pancreatic Cancer

When people find out — usually from a diagnostic scan looking at something else — that they have a lesion in their pancreas that could morph into pancreatic cancer, they can panic. They insist on having frequent CT scans and biopsies to monitor the lesion, or they ask for surgery. Physicians also don’t know if these abnormalities are dangerous, so the patients end up in surgery having part of their pancreas removed. Often the lesion is nothing to worry about. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Herpes From a Tanning Bed? It's Possible 

A whopping number of people still use tanning beds (about one in three U.S. adults say they’ve used one before,according to 2014 data), despite the fact that they’re known to cause skin cancer. But if the prospect of melanoma isn’t enough to turn you off to indoor tanning, maybe this will: You could risk getting an infection. Dermatologist Dawn Marie Davis, M.D., an associate professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic, tells Yahoo Health that bacteria and virus can survive in tanning beds, despite the heat. Via Yahoo! Health.

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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.