Week in Review: April 24

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.


Pew Research Center Reports Teens Have Not Moved on From Facebook After All

Remember those declarations that teens are done with Facebook? Think again. Facebook remains the most used social media site among American teens ages 13 to 17, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. And, surprisingly, boys visit the site more often than girls. Aided hugely by smartphones and other mobile devices, 71 percent of teens surveyed said they use Facebook, with the same percentage saying they use more than one social network of seven options they were asked about. Via Star Tribune.

After Snowy Winter, Experts Warn of Boom in Tick Population — And Not Just In the Woods

Harsh winters, like the one that recently ended, have a chilling side effect: more ticks than usual. Heavy snow acts as insulation, protecting the Lyme disease-carrying creepers from the cold, leading to a spike in tick populations in the Northeast, experts warn. “Snow acts as a great blanket. If they’re kept cozy with lots of snow, there shouldn’t be a big kill-off,” Prof. Ralph Garruto, head of the tick-borne disease program at Binghamton University, told the Daily NewsVia NY Daily News. 

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Senate Approves A Bill On Changes To Medicare

The Senate overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes in the way Medicare pays doctors, clearing the bill for President Obama and resolving an issue that has bedeviled Congress and the Medicare program for more than a decade. The 92-to-8 vote in the Senate, following passage in the House last month by a vote of 392 to 37, was a major success for Republicans, who devised a solution to a complex policy problem that had frustrated lawmakers of both parties. Mr. Obama has endorsed the bill, saying it “could help slow health care cost growth.” Via NY Times.

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The Tangle Of Coordinated Health Care

For decades, critics have lamented the fragmented American health care system: Your cardiologist doesn’t know which medications your endocrinologist has prescribed. The hospitalists directing your care don’t know whether you will need transportation for follow-up visits after you are discharged. Meanwhile, no one has told your primary care doctor you’re in the hospital. Now, the Affordable Care Act and other attempts to make health care more effective and efficient (and less expensive) have created incentives and penalties that should, in theory, encourage one hand to know what the other is doing. Via NY Times.

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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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Mayo Clinic Taps UnitedHealth to Help With Managing Hospital Revenue

Mayo Clinic and a division of UnitedHealth Group Inc. are partnering on a new system for managing hospital revenue in Rochester, including everything from price estimates before people get care to collecting payment from patients afterward. The work on hospital revenue is distinct from the two-year-old partnership between Mayo and Optum on a high-profile health care research project called OptumLabs, said Dr. Sankhya Pruthi, medical director for patient experience for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Via Star Tribune.

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Polygene Test Can Predict Risk for Breast Cancer 

A new polygenic risk score (PRS) can be used to predict a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, especially when it is used in conjunction with information about breast tissue density and family history. "This genetic risk factor adds valuable information to what we already know can affect a woman's chances of developing breast cancer," said study coauthor Celine Vachon, PhD, an epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Via Medscape.

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Medicare Bipartisan 'Doc Fix:' What You Need to Know

A bill to reform the way Medicare reimburses doctors has now overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House and Senate and is now on the way to the president. It's called the "doc fix," and the legislation would get rid of the physician payment formula that Congress has been patching for years. Two veteran reporters and the Mayo Clinic CEO joined MPR News' Tom Crann to discuss the long history of the Medicare fix, and how a gridlocked Congress got to a solution. Via MPR.

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Snoring, Apnea Linked to Earlier Memory Decline in Elderly

Older people who have sleep apnea, which can be marked by heavy snoring, tend to begin experiencing cognitive decline about ten years earlier than those without the disorder, or those who use a breathing machine to treat their apnea, according to a new U.S. study. The study adds to growing evidence that obstructive sleep apnea is not only “a severe and serious disease associated with cardiovascular morbidity or mortality, but also brain health and neurocognitive health,” according to Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, a sleep-disordered breathing expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Via Reuters.

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Children and Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

How much time does your child spend watching TV or movies, playing with a smartphone or computer, or enjoying video games? Although some screen time can be educational, it's easy to go overboard. Consider this guide to children and TV, including what you can do to keep your child's screen time in check. 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.