Week in Review: August 14

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.


Out On a Limb: Pioneering Scientists Grow Monkey Arms in the Lab

In a U.S. laboratory, a monkey arm is stripped down as far as its individual cells. All that's left behind is a bare, frail scaffold. But that's not the end of the road for this arm. The scaffold is rebuilt with infusions of cells from another being -- be it a monkey, or a human -- which grow and transform the limb. Via CNN.

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More Than 1 in 10 American Adults Experience Chronic Pain

More than 25 million American adults -- about 11.2 percent -- reported having pain every day for the previous three months. Researchers said the same data suggests that more than 23 million Americans felt "a lot" of pain in the preceding months, and more than 126 million -- or more than half of all U.S. adults -- reported experiencing some sort of pain during the same period. Via Washington Post. 

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Will Doctors Soon Be Prescribing Games For Mental Health?

Developers of a new video game for your brain say theirs is more than just another get-smarter-quick scheme. Akili, a Northern California startup, insists on taking the game through a full battery of clinical trials so it can get approval from the Food and Drug Administration — a process that will take lots of money and several years. So why would a game designer go to all that trouble when there's already a robust market of consumers ready to buy games that claim to make you smarter and improve your memory? Via NPR.

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IVF With Frozen Eggs May Not Work as Well, Study Finds 

Infertile women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be less likely to give birth if they use frozen eggs from donors instead of fresh donor eggs, a new study finds. Use of frozen donor eggs is increasing, and some IVF centers have established frozen donor egg banks, the researchers said. Via CBS News.

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Number of Uninsured Has Declined by 15 Million Since 2013, Administration Says

The number of people without health insurance continues to decline and has dropped by 15.8 million, or one-third, since 2013, the Obama administration said. The decline occurred as major provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect. The law expanded coverage through Medicaid and through subsidies for private insurance, starting in 2014. Via NY Times.

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Minnesota Health Care Providers Urge Universal Screening for HIV

In an effort to reduce AIDS deaths and prevent new infections, Minnesota’s largest health care providers are rewriting the rules on who should get screened for HIV. HealthPartners and the Mayo Clinic have already begun testing a broader group of patients, and other clinic groups are expected to join in coming months, after several influential blue-ribbon medical panels recommended new guidelines. “We need a new strategy since it is extraordinarily difficult to identify who is high-risk,” said Dr. John Wilkinson, a family practice doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “There is a lot of HIV everywhere, relatively speaking, and it is going undetected.” Via Star Tribune.

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Johns Hopkins, Mayo Experts Suggest Upgrades to Current Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines 

Acknowledging key strengths and “lessons learned,” preventive cardiologists from Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic have developed a short list of suggested upgrades to the controversial heart disease prevention guidelines issued jointly in 2013 by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. The recommendations, published in the Aug. 11 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, are designed, the authors say, to improve subsequent guidelines and clarify key points of confusion related to risk prediction and treatment of heart attacks and strokes. Via Johns Hopkins Medical.

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Brain-Eating Amoeba Did Not Cause Minn. Teen's Death

The death of a Minnesota teen earlier this summer was not related to a rare water-borne amoeba, but instead to meningitis brought on by a skateboarding accident, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The organism enters the brain through the nasal cavity, typically from jumping or diving into water, according to Jessica Sheehy, a physician assistant and infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System. "You have to have water go up into your nose to get an amoeba, drinking [contaminated] water does not cause an amoeba," she said. Via USA Today.

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Coca-Cola Controversy: Is Exercising More or Eating Less Better for Weight Loss?

Coca-Cola has given a million dollars to a new research organization that has pushed a message that lack of exercise is a bigger factor in the obesity epidemic than is calorie consumption. Science, however, still counts calories as the main driver of weight gain for most people. Advice from the Mayo Clinic also supports the view that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to shedding the pounds. "Cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity," Dr. Donald Hensrud wrote in a column for Mayo Clinic. "For most people, it's possible to lower their calorie intake to a greater degree than it is to burn more calories through increased exercise." Via Live Science.

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Back to School: Separation Anxiety, Fears and Stress

Getting ready for a new school year can be exciting for children, parents and caregivers. It may also be a major cause of anxiety or stress. Whether kids are heading off to elementary school, high school or college, leaving the safety and familiarity of home can prompt feelings of fear. Mayo Clinic Children's Center psychologist Dr. Stephen Whiteside says if back-to-school anxiety or separation anxiety become overwhelming and disruptive, taking steps to reduce those fears is important. "Some kids are more anxious than others, and transitions like going back to school can be more difficult for them. Talking to them and preparing them ahead of time by doing things such as visiting the schools and meeting teachers can be beneficial." 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.