Week in Review: Dec. 4

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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.


Industry News

False Alarm Mammograms May Still Signal Higher Breast Cancer Risk 

Women who have an abnormal mammogram should stay vigilant for cancer for for the next decade, even when follow-up tests fail to detect cancer, a study released finds. That's because there's a "modest" risk that cancer will develop during the next decade, says lead author Louise M. Henderson of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. Via NPR.

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New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States 

After decades of relentless rise, the number of new cases of diabetes in the United States has finally started to decline. The rate of new cases fell by about a fifth from 2008 to 2014, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first sustained decline since the disease started to explode in this country about 25 years ago. The drop has been gradual and for a number of years was not big enough to be statistically meaningful. But new data for 2014 released serves as a robust confirmation that the decline is real, officials said. There were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes in 2014, down from 1.7 million in 2008. Via NY Times. 

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Scientists Debate Boundaries, Ethics of Human Gene Editing 

Rewriting your DNA is getting closer to reality: A revolutionary technology is opening new frontiers for genetic engineering — a promise of cures for intractable diseases along with anxiety about designer babies. Hundreds of scientists and ethicists from around the world are gathering in Washington to debate the boundaries of human gene editing, amid worry that the fast-moving research may outpace safety and ethics scrutiny. Via Seattle Times.

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Amid Superbug Worries, These States Have the Highest Antibiotic-Prescribing Rates 

At least 2 million Americans become infected every year with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Public health officials blame much of the problem on overprescribing. But a look at where all those antibiotics are prescribed shows big differences. On average, people living in the South are given more antibiotics than people in other parts of the country. By contrast, people living in western states have the lowest rates overall. Via Washington Post.

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Doctors' Use of Computers During Appointments Leaves Patients Less Satisfied

Doctors who entered data into computerized health records during patients' appointments did less positive communicating, and patients rated their care excellent less often, in a recent study. “Many clinicians worry that electronic health records keep them from connecting with their patients,” said Dr. Neda Ratanawongsa of the University of California, San Francisco, who co-authored the research letter. “So it's not surprising that we found differences in the way clinicians and patients talk to each other,” she said. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic News

More Than Half of U.S. Doctors Experience Burnout

Burnout among U.S. doctors is becoming more common and now affects more than half of practicing physicians, according to a new study. About 54 percent of U.S. doctors experienced at least one symptom of burnout in 2014, compared to about 46 percent of doctors in 2011, researchers report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Overall, the researchers found that doctors are about twice as likely to experience burnout as the average U.S. worker. "Things are unfortunately getting worse for physicians," said lead author Dr. Tait Shanafelt, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Via Reuters.

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Men Who Played High School Contact Sports at Risk for Brain Injury 

Scientists from the Mayo Clinic have discovered that about one-third of men whose brains had been donated to the Mayo Clinic Brain bank had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated brain trauma. Lead study author Kevin Bieniek, a pre-doctoral student in the Mayo Graduate School’s Neurobiology of Disease program, tells Yahoo! Health that the study was launched after he noticed that a man in the brain bank who had evidence of CTE had played high school football. Via Yahoo! Health.

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Thrombosis Seen as a Common, Early Cause of Bioprosthetic Valve Failure

Bioprosthetic valve thrombosis (BPVT) is more common than often perceived and develops long before the valve fails structurally in patients with symptoms referred for surgery, suggests an analysis published in the December 1, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, with Dr. Alexander C Egbe (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN) as lead author. It also identified independent clinical and echocardiographic predictors of thrombosis in such valves, predominantly aortic valves but also mitral and tricuspid valves, that included paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF), subtherapeutic anticoagulation, and abnormal cusp motion. Via Medscape.

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Angelman Syndrome Clinic Opens in Rochester

It’s a rare medical condition, but those suffering from Angelman Syndrome have a new place to get help. Mayo Clinic in Rochester officially opened their Angelman Syndrome Clinic. For those who don’t know this condition, it’s a rare genetic disorder caused by a malfunction of a gene. This can lead to serious issues with lack of speech, seizures, and troubles with walking and balance. Since it’s not well-known, health experts say this condition can be misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism. Via KIMT.

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Mayo Clinic Minute: Lewy Body Dementia 101

Mayo Clinic experts say Lewy body dementia is the second most prevalent form of dementia, next to Alzheimer's disease, yet many people are not aware of this deadly disorder that causes a progressive decline in mental and physical abilities. Reporter Vivien Williams has more in today's Mayo Clinic Minute. 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.