Week in Review: Aug. 26

research-laboratory-test-tubes-and-blue-glove-on-researcher-16x9The 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

Even if You Exercise, Too Much Sitting Time Is Bad

Even if you exercise regularly, too much sitting can still be bad for your heart, a leading cardiologists' group warns. The American Heart Association (AHA) also says that too many people are spending far too much time on chairs and sofas, period. "Based on existing evidence, we found that U.S. adults are sedentary for about six to eight hours a day," said Deborah Rohm Young, chair of the AHA panel that wrote the new advisory. Via CBS News.

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Study of Sudden Cardiac Death Exposes Limits of Genetic Testing

Scientists have discovered that a common cause of sudden heart death has been misunderstood because researchers didn't appropriately account for racial differences in their studies.The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have implications far beyond this particular inherited disease, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM. Researchers say the results also sound a cautionary note for many other illnesses that have been identified through genetic markers. Via NPR. 

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Scientists Design a Drug That Relieves Pain Like an Opioid without Some Dangerous Side Effects

What if you could design a drug that has all the pain-relieving power of morphine but none of its dangerous or addictive side effects? Scientists have spent years trying to do just that, and, they unveiled one of their most promising compounds yet—a chemical concoction they dubbed “PZM21.” When tested in mice that were placed on a hot surface, PZM21 offered nearly as much pain relief as morphine and lasted for up to three hours. That’s “substantially longer” than morphine or other experimental drugs, the scientists wrote in the journal Nature. Via LA Times.

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More Patients Are Awake During Surgeries—and It's Affecting How Surgeons Communicate

A growing number of patients are using local anesthesia and staying awake during surgeries, and the practice is changing the care team's behavior in the OR, according to a study published in the American Journal of Surgery. Researchers interviewed 23 surgeons about their experiences operating on awake patients across a range of procedures, including abortion and cataract surgeries. The surgeons reported that although using local anesthesia could be safer for the patient, it presented new issues for members of the care team, who must communicate with each other while being mindful of the patient. Senior author Alexander Langerman told Reuters that some surgeons reported using code words to communicate while operating on awake patients, such as for when they made mistakes. Via Advisory Board.

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Wait for Liver Transplant May Shorten for Minnesota Patients

The wait for a liver transplant in Minnesota may soon shorten. The state would likely benefit from proposed changes to the map that governs who can receive a liver donation. Sicker patients can receive a liver once it is available in their region or sub-region. The current map has 11 regions and 58 sub-regions. However, because of supply and demand, patients in some states have to be sicker to receiver livers than in other states. A proposed map would change the 11 regions to eight more equitable regions, where the level of sickness required for a liver would be more uniform across the country—resulting in more equitable waiting times as well. Via KMSP.

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Mayo Clinic News

Dr. Shaji Kumar on Upfront Combination Treatments in Multiple Myeloma

Shaji Kumar, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the impact of combination treatments upfront in multiple myeloma. Using several novel agents in combination upfront—such as bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone—has been shown to improve survival. Other triplet combinations, such as carfilzomib-lenalidomide-dexamethasone have also shown promise in multiple myeloma. These triplet combinations make it more likely that a patient will experience a deep response, and in turn experience longer overall survival (OS), said Dr. Kumar. Via OncLive.

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Can Season and Place of Birth Influence Celiac Disease Risk?

Winter babies and people born in places with shorter days and less sunlight might have a lower risk of developing celiac disease than peers born in warmer regions or seasons, a Swedish study suggests. Among other things, global warming, variation in the type of spring weather and the timing of changing seasons could potentially explain some of the differences in risk found in the study, said Dr. Joseph Murray, director of the celiac disease program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic Ventures Portfolio Company Purchased in $410M Deal

Venture capital backers of the Mayo Clinic-related biotech startup, Assurex Health, were afforded a return on investment this month with its purchase by Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics for $225 million in upfront cash and potentially $185 million more in performance-based milestones. One of those early investors was the Mayo Clinic itself, which also has a licensing deal with Assurex for its GeneSight Psychotropic test. The technology uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze the individual genomes of mental health patients as a way to predict whether they may react adversely to psychotropic medications. Via Twin Cities Business.

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Mayo Clinic Working to Advance Research on Aging

Mayo Clinic is hoping to speed up the pace at which interventions that could delay or prevent these diseases are discovered. They’re doing so by collaborating with academic aging centers around the world, including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and University of Alabama at Birmingham. “So far, we’ve been going organ system by organ system saying can we generate enough proof of concept in experimental models, in cells and in mice to say, “yeah, we think this might actually improve a multitude of conditions that are associated with aging,” explains Jordan D. Miller, Ph.D., with the Cardiovascular Disease and Aging Lab. Dr. Miller says the next big step, is figuring out how to show those are safe for humans. Via KIMT-TV.

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Mayo Clinic Expert Explains 10 Things You Should Know about Antibiotic Resistance

Concern about a superbug gene with resistance to an antibiotic of last resort surfaced this summer among some health and infectious disease experts. A recent study in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found bacteria resistant to colistin in a second patient in the U.S. 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.