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.
When it Comes to Chronic Pain, U.S. Physicians Love Opioids and Hate Marijuana. Here's Why
While physicians are well-aware of the opioid addiction in the U.S., many are still wary about the use of medical marijuana to manage chronic pain, according to Daniel Clauw, M.D., of Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan. In a blog post for University of Michigan Health's Lab Blog, Dr. Clauw, a professor of anesthesiology, psychiatry and rheumatology at the University of Michigan who specializes in chronic pain, says chronic pain affects 100 million Americans and costs $600 billion per year. He argues there is little evidence that opioid narcotics is effective for treating chronic pain, and for every patient who does find them helpful, there are many more who are not helped or even harmed by these drugs. The most blatant example: More than 14,000 Americans died in 2014 from unintentional overdose of prescription opioids. Many others continue taking the pain medication because they enjoy feeling numb or are unaware of other more appropriate therapeutic options. Via Becker's Hospital Review.
Advanced Prostate Cancer Cases Skyrocket in U.S. Men
The number of new cases of advanced prostate cancer in the United States has soared by about 72 percent in the last decade, according to a new study. The report, published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, a journal from Nature, prompted researchers to question whether a recent trend of fewer men being screened may be contributing to the rise. "One hypothesis is the disease has become more aggressive, regardless of the change in screening," senior study author Dr. Edward Schaeffer, chair of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine, said in a statement. Via CBS News.
CDC: Olympics Unlikely to Spread Zika Worldwide
The 2016 Olympics are highly unlikely to spread Zika worldwide, federal officials said, noting that the 500,000 people expected to travel to Brazil for the August games account for less than 1% of all international travel to Zika-affected areas. Visitors to Brazil will have a relatively low risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness because the Olympics will take place during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Paralympic Games will be held in September, when the weather in Brazil also remains cooler and dryer. Via USA Today.
Wellness Programs Take Aim at Workplace Stress
Stress has long been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and a number of mental health problems. And a recent poll finds that a substantial number of working adults say stress is a critical health issue they face at work. The poll was conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. So what are employers doing about it? Fifty-one percent of the people in our poll said their workplace has a formal wellness or health improvement program. Via NPR.
3-D "Smart" Thread Monitors Vital Signs
Someday soon, a doctor may stitch a tiny piece of thread into your skin, to reveal whether a wound is healing properly or becoming infected. Researchers have developed a “smart” thread that collects and wirelessly transmits vital data. Nano-scale sensors and electronics are infused into the thread, which can be made of cotton or synthetic material, by dipping it into a variety of physical and sensing compounds. At some point, researchers say, the thread could be scaled up to use as sutures to close an incision on the operating table. Via Voice of America.
Mayo Clinic News
Mayo’s Precision Chemotherapy Delivery Platform Attracts Investor Attention
Common chemotherapy drugs such as aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab can inhibit VEGF and thus control or slow tumor growth, and if delivered precisely on target, can be rendered more effective than they are currently. Enter Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Medical School professor and faculty researcher at its Cancer Center in Rochester. One of his focus areas is the development of a new kind of molecular platform that has been shown capable of carrying what he calls a “car bomb” of anti-cancer drugs into tumor cells—and then delivering their “payloads” once inside. Via Twin Cities Business.
Liquid Biopsies Offer Hope for Earlier Treatment, Better Tracking of Ovarian Cancer
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine have found a promising new way to monitor and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer—a hard-to-detect disease that claims many lives. New research from George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, finds liquid biopsies from blood tests and DNA sequencing can detect a return of ovarian cancer long before a tumor reappears. Via Science Daily.
Mayo Looks at Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines
It impacts thousands of people each and every year, but now Mayo Clinic researchers are hoping they can help those at risk of developing lung cancer. As it stands right now, those who stop smoking for 15 years or longer do not have to have lung cancer screenings, but Mayo found that shouldn’t be the case. What they discovered is that even after quitting for decades, those patients remain at a high risk for the deadly disease and should be getting screened. Via KIMT-TV.
Disability Equality Index Honors Mayo Clinic
Rochester's biggest employer added another feather to its cap earlier this week. Mayo Clinic was one of 42 companies in the country to receive a perfect score on the inaugural Disability Equality Index score in a survey conducted by the U.S. Business Leadership Network and the American Association of People With Disabilities. The survey sought feedback from Fortune 1,000 companies and resulted in Mayo being recognized on the "2016 DEI Best Places to Work" list. "It is an honor for Mayo Clinic to be recognized among the leaders in disability-inclusion practices," said Sharon Hayes, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who is also director of Mayo's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. "Mayo prides itself on bringing healing, hope, and inclusiveness for not just our patients, but our employees, as well." Via Post-Bulletin.
Parasite Wonders: Asymptomatic Finding
This week's case from microbiologist Bobbi Pritt, M.D., involves an asymptomatic male who underwent routine screening colonoscopy, which revealed the specimen above. View the case. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.