Week in Review: Aug. 19

shutterstock_197319983The 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

Surgeons Set Guidelines for Proper Attire Both In and Out of OR

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has issued a statement on proper dress for surgeons, whether in the operating room or interacting with families or the public outside. ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, M.D., said the refresher statement is meant to provide evidence-based consensus on appropriate head coverings and when scrubs must be changed. "Our fellows were concerned they were being told to do things that weren't necessarily evidence-based," he told Medscape Medical News. "It just was time for us all to take a step back and say what's the best evidence, what's best practice, and let's all recommit to it." Via Medscape.

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Paying Smokers to Quit May Pay Off

Money may help some smokers stub out their cigarettes for good, a new study suggests. Among hundreds of poor smokers, continued payments helped more than one third kick the habit long term, Swiss researchers found. The maximum amount doled out was $1,650. "In relatively low-income smokers who did not receive face-to-face counseling or medications, large financial incentives increase long-term smoking cessation rates," said lead researcher Jean-Francois Etter, a professor of public health at the Institute of Global Health of the University of Geneva. Via U.S. News & World Report. 

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Zika Virus: Floridians Fear 'Pandora's Box' of Genetically Altered Mosquitos

The Florida Keys are three months away from a straw poll vote on whether to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes on an island just east of Key West, and the tourist destination is awash in lawn signs. Alongside the typical signs to vote for court clerk, judge, sheriff, or school board are signs that showcase the overhead view of a mosquito and read: “NO CONSENT to release of genetically modified mosquitoes”. For the last five years, the biotechnology company Oxitec has been developing a plan to experimentally release the GMO mosquitoes in the Keys, which scientists hope could eventually impede the spread of the Zika virus. Via The Guardian.

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Almost All Lice Are Now Treatment-Resistant

The vast majority of head lice in the United States are now resistant to most over-the-counter treatments, meaning that it's now especially difficult to vanquish the tiny blood-sucking parasites, a new study finds. Researchers found that head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) in 42 of the 48 states studied carry an average of three genetic mutations that make these bugs impervious to popular over-the-counter anti-lice remedies. In the remaining six states, the lice had zero, one or two of the three mutations, on average, the researchers reported in the study, published online in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Via Seeker.

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‘America’s Other Drug Problem’: Giving the Elderly Too Many Prescriptions

An increasing number of elderly patients nationwide are on multiple medications to treat chronic diseases, raising their chances of dangerous drug interactions and serious side effects. Often the drugs are prescribed by different specialists who don’t communicate with each other. If those patients are hospitalized, doctors making the rounds add to the list — and some of the drugs they prescribe may be unnecessary or unsuitable. Via Washington Post.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo’s New Blood Test Could Predict Chances of Experiencing a Heart Attack

Mayo Clinic launched a new type of blood test that is the first-of-its-kind in the U.S. With the new test, measurements are taken from blood concentrations of plasma ceramides, a class of lipids highly linked to cardiovascular disease events, such as a heart attack. It’s believed the test could even predict the chance of a cardiovascular event as much as a year before it occurs. “Through our strong collaboration with Zora Biosciences, we hope our new test will improve the evaluation of individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Jeff Meeusen, Ph.D., Co-Director of Mayo’s Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine Group. Via Twin Cities Business.

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Microbiome Markers Predict C. Difficile Treatment Response, Recurrence

Markers of specific alterations in the gut microbiota appeared predictive of response to Clostridium difficile treatment and recurrent infection in a recent study. “In this study funded by the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, we identified microbiome markers at the time of initial diagnosis that can predict response to therapy in patients with C. difficile infection,” Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, told Healio Gastroenterology. “This will allow us to identify patients who are less likely to respond to conventional treatment and hence may be candidates for [alternative] therapies such as fecal microbiota transplant.” Via Healio.

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U.S. DEA Denies Request to Ease Federal Pot Rules

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has refused the request of two former state governors to ease marijuana's restrictive classification under current drug laws. The request -- initially proposed in 2011 -- sought to have marijuana reclassified from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but "there is the recognition that they have some medical value as well," said Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Morphine, methamphetamine, cocaine and, oxycodone are all Schedule II drugs, "because they have medical applications," Bostwick said. "So, it's not as if we don't have precedent for substances that are dangerous from an addictive point of view being useful in certain medical situations." Via HealthDay.

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ASU and Mayo Clinic Aim to Improve Surgeries For Those with Epilepsy

Thanks to a research grant, Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic are teaming up to help those who suffer from seizures. About three million people in the United States have epilepsy and not all of them can be treated with medication. For those who don’t respond to prescriptions, surgeries may be needed for symptoms to improve. “The idea is to identify the region of the brain that causes the issues and then to remove that part of the brain,” said Gregory Raupp, foundation professor in chemical engineering at ASU. Raupp explained that the process can be very difficult for surgeons and can sometimes result in patient death. That is why he is teaming with Dr. Greg Worrell from Mayo Clinic to create a high resolution image. Via KTAR-Radio.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Link Senescent Cells to Most Common Form of Arthritis

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have reported a causal link between senescent cells — cells that accumulate with age and contribute to frailty and disease — and osteoarthritis in mice. Their findings appear online in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She manages public relations and media outreach. Gina has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2011. Outside of work, Gina is going for gold in volleyball at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo . . . or at small-town summer festivals.