Week in Review: August 21

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.


What Eating 40 Teaspoons of Sugar a Day Can Do to You

Soda has been a major target in the debate over sugar and its role in the obesity crisis. But high levels of added sugars can be found in many seemingly healthful foods, from yogurts to energy bars and even whole-grain bread. A new movie called “That Sugar Film” seeks to educate consumers about the hazards of consuming too much added sugar, which can be found in an estimated 80 percent of all supermarket foods. The new documentary stars an Australian actor-director, Damon Gameau, who modeled his movie after “Super Size Me,” the 2004 film that followed Morgan Spurlock as he consumed an all-McDonald’s diet for 30 days. Via NY Times.

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FDA Approves Addyi, a Libido Pill for Women

The first prescription drug to enhance women’s sexual drive won regulatory approval, clinching a victory for a lobbying campaign that had accused the Food and Drug Administration of gender bias for ignoring the sexual needs of women. The drug — Addyi from Sprout Pharmaceuticals — is actually the first drug approved to treat a flagging or absent libido for either sex. Via NY Times. 

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FDA Approves OxyContin for Kids 11 to 16

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the powerful narcotic painkiller OxyContin for children as young as 11. While doctors who treat young cancer patients hailed the approval, others expressed concern that prescribing OxyContin to children could put them at risk for addiction. OxyContin, an extended-release version of the painkiller oxycodone, has gained notoriety in recent years because of its frequent abuse. Via USA Today.

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Violent Video Games Are Linked to Aggression 

Violent video games are linked to more aggressive behaviors among players, according to a new review of research. The debate over whether violent video games are linked to violent behavior has long been contentious. Some argue there is little evidence connecting the two, while others say that lots of exposure over time causes young people to react more aggressively compared to kids who do not play video games. Now the American Psychological Association (APA) has joined the debate, arguing in a research review that playing violent games is linked to aggression, but that there’s insufficient evidence to link the games to actual criminal violence. Via Time.

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Scientists are Crediting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Breakthroughs in Research

Just one year ago, Facebook feeds were awash with videos and photos of people pouring buckets of cold water on their heads all in the name of medical research. At the time, the Ice Bucket Challenge had become the viral campaign everyone was talking about — an online effort to raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. The movement attracted criticism of social media "slacktivism" — a convenient way for people to act like they're making a difference without achieving anything at all. But one year and more than $220 million in donations later, scientists at Johns Hopkins are claiming a major breakthrough in ALS research and are partly crediting the success to the massive influx of public interest. Via The Washington Post.

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Helix, a New Gene Sequencing Venture, Aims to Create Digital Hub for Genomics

One of the top providers of gene-sequencing technology, Illumina, is teaming up with investors in hopes of buttressing the growing universe of genetic analysis businesses. Illumina and the investment firms Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill Ventures plan to announce that they have created a new venture named Helix that is meant to serve as a hub for a constellation of analytic businesses. Via NY Times.

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Mayo Clinic Team Shares Comparison of Sequencing, Array Methods for Methylation Profiling

In an effort to evaluate the similarities and differences between available methods for DNA methylation profiling, researchers from the Mayo Clinic have performed and published a new comprehensive comparison of the approaches, finding that despite differences in coverage, all the methods showed high concordance. In the study, which appeared online ahead of print last month in the journal Epigenomics, a team led by Mayo Clinic researcher Julie Cunningham set out to compare as directly as possible a set of four sequencing-based and one microarray method for DNA methylation profiling. Via GenomeWeb Daily News.

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Mayo Clinic Studies Impacts on Vitamin D and Overweight Teens

A vast majority of obese teens are Vitamin D deficient, according to doctors at Mayo Clinic. Giving those patients doses of Vitamin D has become a popular treatment, but a new study is showing limited benefits. A small study done at Mayo Clinic found there were no improvements in weight, body mass index, blood sugars, or blood flow for overweight teens given the Vitamin D supplementation. Via NEWS10 ABC.

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Mayo Clinic Unveils 60,000 Square Foot Expansion to Superior Drive Facility

The Mayo Clinic Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology celebrated a large milestone in Rochester on Tuesday afternoon. A 60,000 square foot lab expansion at their Superior Drive Support Center is finally a reality after more than five years of planning. The expansion will be the new home of Mayo's clinical mass spectrometry lab and the clinical and forensic toxicology lab. The move will free up more than 20,000 square feet in the Hilton building, which Mayo may use for another expansion in the future. Via KTTC.

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Window Washers Visit Children in Hospital Dressed as Superheroes

Many children at Mayo Clinic face a long stretch of daunting days of treatment and medical care, but on Wednesday afternoon, some of their favorite heroes brought them the joy and the break they need to feel like a kid again. From Spiderman, to Superman and Batman, bravery and courage in the eyes of kids is a familiar face in a mask, draped in a cape, or hiding behind the muscle. Via KAAL.

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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.