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.
Patient Secretly Recorded Doctors as They Operated on Her
From the start, Easter was troubled that she didn’t trust her own surgeon, but she was in too much pain to cancel the operation. Then she had an idea: She would go through with the surgery—it was ultimately scheduled about a month later, for August—but she would sneak a recorder into the operating room so that her family could know what happened to her in case things went wrong. She had a “bad feeling,” after all. After Easter was sedated, the surgeon recounted their dispute to the other doctors. “She’s a handful,” he said in the recording. “She had some choice words for us in the clinic when we didn’t book her case in two weeks.” Via Washington Post.
A Global Alarm about Diabetes—And Don't Blame It All on Fast Food
Dribs and drabs of research from a few countries around the world have raised concern that diabetes is growing as a cause of death and disability. But the first coordinated global look at the disease, published in The Lancet, has fully sounded the alarm. Pooling data from 751 studies involving 4.4 million adults, researchers estimated that the number of adults with diabetes in 200 countries has nearly quadrupled, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. And the disease is growing faster in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Via NPR.
The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters.
For poor Americans, the place they call home can be a matter of life or death. The poor in some cities—big ones like New York and Los Angeles, and also quite a few smaller ones like Birmingham, Alabama—live nearly as long as their middle-class neighbors or have seen rising life expectancy in the 21st century. But in some other parts of the country, adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda, and their life spans are getting shorter. In those differences, documented in sweeping new research, lies an optimistic message: The right mix of steps to improve habits and public health could help people live longer, regardless of how much money they make. Via NY Times.
Are E-Cigarettes a Healthy Way to Quit Smoking?
Smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year in this country, or about one of every five deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease, it says. Clearly more needs to be done to get Americans to quit smoking. Some people say electronic cigarettes can help wean smokers off tobacco, at little risk to their health. For others, both of those assertions are false. Jed E. Rose, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation at Duke University, makes the case for e-cigarettes as a smoking-cessation tool. Arguing against it is Pamela Ling, a professor of medicine with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. Via Wall Street Journal.
Doctors Hear Patients’ Calls for New Approaches to Hypothyroidism
Doctors and patients have been at each other’s throats for decades over how to treat a little gland in the neck—and patients may be gaining ground. Because symptoms can have several other causes, many doctors diagnose thyroid disorders mainly with blood tests. Many also rely on a single form of treatment for hypothyroidism, which has made the synthetic hormone levothyroxine (Synthroid and other brands) among the most prescribed medications in the world. But a vocal group of patients say they haven’t gotten better on levothyroxine, though their blood tests have returned to normal. They’ve banded together online to share their frustrations and promote alternative therapies. Via Wall Street Journal.
Mayo Clinic News
Experts Say Essential Oils Can Pose Dangerous Health Risks
Odds are you know someone who sells essential oils for a multi-level marketing company, and they might just tout them as a miracle remedy for just about everything. They've even gone mainstream: "We are using a growing number of essential oils in our practice at the Mayo Clinic–such as lavender to help deal with stressful times and peppermint for nausea," says Brent Bauer, M.D., an internal medicine doctor and director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program in Rochester. Anything powerful enough to have a beneficial effect on the body could also have negative effects, says Dr. Bauer. "Whether it's a drug, an herb, or an essential oil, all should be treated with respect," he says. "What works for one person may not work for the next–or may interfere with medications," he says, or have other side effects. Via Woman's Day.
Relieving Chest Pain Anxiety in under Two Minutes
Can “Chest Pain Choice,” an informative chart designed to guide emergency patients in making treatment decisions, make a difference in care, patient anxiety, and costs? Erik Hess, M.D., and colleagues at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic say it can. That includes seeing more patients declining to have stress tests in the ED because they decide their risk of a cardiac event is low. Via MD Magazine.
Millions with Leg Pain Have Peripheral Artery Disease
More than eight million older Americans have a condition that can cause leg pain when they walk even short distances. The condition, called peripheral artery disease, or P.A.D., is marked by diseased or blocked arteries in the legs. More than half of those with such circulatory problems in the extremities also have coronary or cerebral artery disease, noted Iftikhar Kullo, M.D., a cardiovascular specialist at Mayo Clinic, in The New England Journal of Medicine. Via NY Times.
Five Reasons to "Like" Patients’ Use of Social Media
In addition to helping patients find and take advantage of clinical trials, health care social networks also provide an opportunity for participant-led research, in which members initiate new fields of study. For instance, Inspire members with spontaneous coronary artery dissection persuaded researchers at Mayo Clinic to launch new research into the condition, which led to the creation of a SCAD registry, a key step in the further study of this rare disease. Via Hospitals & Health Networks.
Mayo Clinic Minute: Protect Yourself from Zika Virus
Mosquitoes are more than a menace. The World Health Organization says these tiny insects spread many diseases, including Zika virus, malaria, dengue, and yellow fever, which, together, are responsible for several million deaths—and hundreds of millions of cases every year. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.