Week in Review: May 15

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.


New Blood Tests, Liquid Biopsies, May Transform Cancer Care 

A new type of blood test is starting to transform cancer treatment, sparing some patients the surgical and needle biopsies long needed to guide their care. The tests, called liquid biopsies, capture cancer cells or DNA that tumors shed into the blood, instead of taking tissue from the tumor itself. A lot is still unknown about the value of these tests, but many doctors think they are a big advance that could make personalized medicine possible for far more people. Via Yahoo! (AP).


Giving Antibiotics to Infants is Strongly Related to Illness In Adulthood 

Illness may appear in adulthood because of antibiotic resistance we develop when doctors prescribe us antibiotics as newborns and infants, researchers say. The antibiotics may alter infant gut bacteria, which are tied to everything from allergies and obesity to infectious diseases, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Cell Host & MicrobeVia TIME. 

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New Machine Could One Day Replace Anesthesiologists

The new machine that could one day replace anesthesiologists sat quietly next to a hospital gurney occupied by Nancy Youssef-Ringle. She was nervous. In a few minutes, a machine — not a doctor — would sedate the 59-year-old for a colon cancer screening called a colonoscopy. But she had done her research. She had even asked a family friend, an anesthesiologist, what he thought of the device. He was blunt: “That’s going to replace me.” Today, just four U.S. hospitals are using the machines. Device maker Johnson & Johnson only recently deployed the first-of-its-kind machine despite winning U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2013. Via Washington Post.

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Hepatitis C Drugs Added to W.H.O. List of Essential Medicines  

The World Health Organization put five new hepatitis C drugs on its essential medicines list for the first time on Friday, including drugs that cost $1,000 a pill or more in wealthy countries. The new drugs are ground-breaking because they usually cure quickly with minimal side effects. Via NY Times.

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This Fish Can Make Its Own Sunscreen 

A new study shows many animals can make their own sunscreen, which could help humans down the line. Many animals, especially marine animals like zebrafish and sea urchin as well as some birds, can create their own sunlight protection compound, according to a new study. It may one day be possible to use this process to create a better method of sun protection for humans. Via TIME.

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Mayo Clinic Will Start Treating Cancer Patients with Proton Beam Therapy 

For thirteen years, Mayo Clinic has been planning and developing one of the most significant cancer treatment facilities in the country. Saturday morning, many got their first glimpse of the Richard O.  Jacobson building that’s dedicated to treating cancer patients with proton beam therapy. “Here we are ready to see our first patient this month and treat the first patient next month in June,” said the Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Via KAAL.

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Mayo, Baylor Collaborate on Pharmacogenomics Sequencing Study

The Mayo Clinic and Baylor College of Medicine today announced a collaboration to study genomic links to drug metabolism and other interactions and whether preemptive alerts to physicians about those links can improve patient care. The study is notable because it will sequence patients' genomes, rather than genotype them, Richard Weinshilboum, director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine pharmacogenomics program, told GenomeWeb. Via GenomeWeb.

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Mediterranean Diet Boosts Brain Power, Clinical Study Finds

The Mediterranean diet, supplemented with a handful of nuts or a few tablespoons of olive oil a day, can counteract the effects of aging on the brain’s ability to function, a new clinical study suggests. Jane Cerhan, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who wasn’t involved in the research, said clinical studies of age-related cognitive decline are needed in regard to diet, “which is why this study is an extra good one, because of its size and randomized design.” Via Wall Street Journal.

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How DNA Sequencing is Transforming the Hunt for New Drugs

Drug manufacturers have begun amassing enormous troves of human DNA in hopes of significantly shortening the time it takes to identify new drug candidates, a move some say is transforming the development of medicines. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, which is in charge of the precision medicine project, identified Regeneron among a short list of potential contributors to the 1 million-strong DNA study. Others on the list include Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, and the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin. A decision is expected by early fall. Via Reuters.

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Healthy Aging: Preserving Your Bones and Joints

As aging conspires to chip away at your bone and joint health, experts explain what you can do to maintain these through every phase of life. Start early; bone and joint health begin in childhood, says Dr. Sundeep Khosla, director of the Aging Bone, Muscle and Joint Program within the Mayo Clinic's Kogod Center on Aging. "Physical activity is important for loading the bones and helping them develop as strong as they can," Khosla says. Parents can watch that kids don't replace milk with sodas, thereby missing out on calcium. And it's never too soon to discourage smoking, which can affect bone mass. Via U.S. News and World Report.

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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.