Week in Review: July 10

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.


Measles Kills First Patient in 12 Years

The USA has suffered its first measles death in 12 years, according to Washington state health officials. The woman's measles was undetected and confirmed only through an autopsy, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The woman's name was not released, but officials said she lived in Clallam County. Via USA Today.

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Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake. Via NY Times. 

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After Health Care Act, Sharp Drop in Spending on Birth Control

Out-of-pocket spending on most major birth control methods fell sharply in the months after the Affordable Care Act began requiring insurance plans to cover contraception at no cost to women, a new study has found. Spending on the pill, the most popular form of prescription birth control, dropped by about half in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, before the mandate took effect. Via NY Times.

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Rare Parasite Threat Grows With Third Minnesota Case

Hunter Boutain, of Alexandria, Minn., remained in critical condition Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, after apparently inhaling the Naegleria fowleri amoeba while swimming in Minnewaska. The parasite, which has historically been found in warmer, southern U.S. lakes has now been confirmed in three cases involving Minnesota swimmers since 2010 and may have been involved in at least three other unconfirmed cases. Via Star Tribune.

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FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Heart Failure

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan) tablets for the treatment of heart failure. The drug has been shown to reduce the rate of cardiovascular death and hospitalization related to heart failure. Heart failure is a common condition affecting about 5.1 million people in the United States. It is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Heart failure generally worsens over time as the heart's pumping action grows weaker. The leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart, such as heart attacks and high blood pressure. Via FDA.

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In Primary Cutaneous Melanoma, Tumor Cell Adhesion Increases Risk for Sentinel Lymph Node (SLN) Metastasis 

According to a recent study, fewer than 20 percent of patients with melanoma who undergo SLN biopsy are SLN positive. Therefore, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and Jacksonville, FL, as well as their colleagues at Hospital Roskilde in Copenhagen, Denmark, sought to identify new molecular risk factors associated with SLN positivity in patients with thin and intermediate-thickness melanoma. Researchers used next-generation gene sequencing to identify gene mutations in a set of benign tumors, primary cutaneous melanomas, and in-transit melanoma metastases. Then, researchers validated their findings in a cohort of 146 melanomas. Via Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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Mayo Researchers Develop MP-seq Test to Detect Rearrangements in Cancers, Genetic Disease

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have devised a next-generation sequencing technique for detecting rearrangements and are in the process of developing clinical tests for hematological malignancies, breast cancer, and constitutional disease. George Vasmatzis, co-director of the biomarker discovery program at Mayo's Center for Individualized Medicine, described the strategy at last month's Clinical Genome Conference in San Francisco. Via GenomeWeb.

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MU Health, Mayo Clinic Partner for Faster Testing

MU Health Care recently enlisted Mayo Medical Laboratories as its main source of advanced laboratory testing. The partnership is projected to save MU Health Care more than $1 million annually by consolidating specialized tests, thus reducing the cost of outsourcing those tests to different laboratories. “University of Missouri Health Care offers approximately 3,000 different lab tests,” said Dr. William Miller, director of clinical laboratories and transfusion medicine for MU. “Of these, there are about 200 specialized tests that require the use of outside laboratories. Prior to the partnership between MU Health Care and Mayo Medical Laboratories, these specialized tests were sent to about 50 different laboratories.” Via Columbia Business Times.

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Are You at Risk for Painkiller Addiction?

A study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings looked at a group of 293 patients who had been prescribed opioids in 2009. The drugs that were prescribed for these patients included oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, meperidine, codeine, and methadone. Twenty-one percent of the patients went on to continue to use opioids for three to four months. Six percent went on to have a long-term pattern of using the drugs for more than four months. Via Youth Health Magazine.

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Mayo Clinic Receives $11 Million Grant from National Cancer Institute to Study Cancer Survivorship

Mayo Clinic announced that it has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study survivorship in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes Cohort Study will enroll 12,000 patients with NHL. The study will follow these patients for long-term prognosis and survivorship. 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.