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.
A Study Takes the Globe's Blood Pressure and Finds a Dramatic Rise
High blood pressure, once considered a scourge of wealthy nations, is now even more common in low- and middle-income countries, according to an analysis in the journal Circulation. Globally, more than 30 percent of the population suffered from high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, in 2010. That represents a notable increase over the span of a decade, driven by a dramatic rise of hypertension in less wealthy nations, according to the new study. Via NPR.
Americans Are Still Not Worried about Zika, Poll Finds
Zika's first mosquito-borne transmission in the United States has not sparked alarm for the vast majority of Americans, who do not fear infection by the disease, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. In the poll, 65% of Americans say they are "not too" or "not at all" worried about being infected with Zika or an immediate family member becoming infected, which is hardly changed from 67% in June. Just over one-third of the public, 35%, is at least somewhat worried, though only 12% say they are "very worried" about infection. Via Washington Post.
Health Files Make for a Juicy Target for Thieves
Today, according to cybersecurity specialists, criminals hoping to scoop up valuable personal data are increasingly targeting health care companies—from local doctor’s offices to major health insurers. More than 100 million health care records were compromised in 2015 alone. Federal records show that almost all of those losses came from just three attacks on health insurance providers: Anthem Inc., Premera Blue Cross, and Excellus Health Plan Inc. At the same time, data breaches in the retail industry are plummeting. Last year marked a four-year low for reported breaches of records of retailers, with just 5.7 million compromised, according to research from IBM Security. Via Boston Globe.
Smoking Rates Are Dropping for Racial and Ethnic Groups—Except One
Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults continues to slide among almost all racial and ethnic groups, but big disparities remain, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among whites and blacks, a quarter still light up. By contrast, barely 1 in 10 Asians uses cigarettes, while nearly 4 in 10 Native Americans and Alaska Natives do so. Only among Native Americans and Alaska Natives did the smoking rate rise between 2002–2005 and 2010–2013—from 37.1% to 38.9%, the CDC found. Via Washington Post.
The Average Americans' Weight Change since the 1980s Is Startling
There's no doubt about it: Americans are getting heavier and heavier. But new U.S. estimates may still come as a shock—since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the average American has put on 15 or more additional pounds without getting any taller. Even 11-year-old kids aren't immune from this weight plague, the study found. Girls are more than seven pounds heavier even though their height is the same. Boys gained an inch in height, but also packed on an additional 13.5 pounds compared to two decades ago. When looked at by race, black Americans gained the most on average. Black women added 22 pounds despite staying the same average height. Black men grew about one-fifth of an inch on average, but added 18 pounds, the study found. Via CBS News.
Mayo Clinic News
Does "Cupping" = Success for Olympic Athletes?
Eyebrows raised in Rio over the weekend when Olympic athletes like swimmer Michael Phelps started showing up with circular purple bruises on different parts of their bodies. "Cupping" gets its name from special round cups that are placed on the skin over targeted muscle groups. These cups create suction against the skin, either by being heated or through use of an air pump. "When you put enough suction anywhere on the body, you get a bruise. You get that with a hickey," said Brent Bauer, M.D., Director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program in Rochester. "You're basically rupturing some of the tiny blood vessels." Via HealthDay.
Stool DNA Analysis Cost Effective for CRC Surveillance in UC
While colorectal cancer surveillance in patients with ulcerative colitis was generally cost effective in a recent simulation study, the addition of stool DNA analysis to surveillance colonoscopy was the most cost effective. “Surveillance colonoscopy has been considered standard of care for ulcerative colitis patients, based on observational (non-randomized) studies showing reduced incidence of colorectal cancer and earlier stage of CRC detected by this practice,” John Kisiel, M.D., of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, told Healio Gastroenterology. Via Healio.
Minnesota Hospitals Ramp up Efforts to Battle Physician Burnout
Rising concerns over physician burnout are prompting new steps by medical centers to help doctors cope with the constant stress brought on by cost pressures and a changing system that many feel is beyond their control. At Mayo Clinic in Rochester, doctors meet over company-sponsored dinners to talk shop and swap ideas for coping with the mounting strain of the job. Buffalo Hospital in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities sponsors a series of programs aimed at helping health care providers and the broader community thrive despite stress. Via Star Tribune.
Are You Contributing to the Rise of Superbugs?
When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, but not enough to kill the entire colony, only the strongest are left. Those remaining bacteria divide and continue to replicate, making the post-antibiotic colony stronger than the original and resistant to the antibiotic. However, the issue is a lot more complicated than that, says Robin Patel, M.D., Director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The sheer number of bacteria strains that exist make the issue complex. “We’re talking about a lot of different kinds of bacteria and a lot of different types of antibiotics at the same time,” Dr. Patel says. Via FOX News.
Parasite Wonders: The Case from Bolivia
This week's case was donated by Carlos Chaccour, M.D., Ph.D. The patient is a young girl living in a rural region of Bolivia who presented with a painful "pustule" on the back of her left thigh. The lesion had been present for the past four weeks. What was the parasite it contained? Via Mayo Clinic News Network.