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.
All Prostate Cancer Treatments about Equally Effective, Study Finds
The first controlled study comparing three different approaches to prostate cancer—radiation versus surgery versus "watchful waiting"—shows there is no truly bad choice for most men, experts said. The British study won't end debates over whether prostate cancer screening is a good idea, but it should reassure many men that it's OK to make their own decisions about whether and how to treat prostate cancer if they get diagnosed. Via NBC News.
Doctors Test Drones to Speed up Delivery of Lab Tests
Three years ago, Geoff Baird bought a drone. The Seattle dad and hobby plane enthusiast used the 2.5-pound quadcopter to photograph the Hawaiian coastline and film his son's soccer and baseball games. But his big hope is that drones will soon fly tubes of blood and other specimens to Harborview Medical Center, where he works as a clinical pathologist running the hospital's chemistry and toxicology labs. In the near future, Baird and others say, drones could transform health care—not only in rural areas by bringing critical supplies into hard-to-reach places, but also in crowded cities where hospitals pay hefty fees to get medical samples across town during rush hour. By providing a faster, cheaper way to move test specimens, drones could speed diagnoses and save lives. "It's super exciting to me," Baird says. The technology seems to be there. Via NPR.
NFL to Launch New $100 Million Concussion Initiatives to Improve Player Safety
The NFL is launching a new set of concussion-related initiatives under which the league will devote $60 million to technological development, aimed in part at improving helmets for players, and an additional $40 million toward funding medical research into the effects of head injuries, Commissioner Roger Goodell said. Goodell said in an interview that the $100 million initiative “builds on what we’ve done the last few years, but it takes it to another level in a variety of areas. . . . It’s all about protecting our players. . . . We’ve seen some very positive things. But we’re not satisfied." Via Washington Post.
How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show. The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by researcher Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease—including many of today’s dietary recommendations—may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry . . . . But even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, the revelations are important because the debate about the relative harms of sugar and saturated fat continues today, Dr. Glantz said. For many decades, health authorities encouraged Americans to improve their health by reducing their fat intake, which led many people to consume low-fat, high-sugar foods that some experts now blame for fueling the obesity crisis. Via NY Times.
Surge in ER Visits for Injuries, Concussions from Soccer
Soccer injuries are sending soaring numbers of U.S. kids to emergency rooms, a trend driven in part by young players with concussions seeking urgent medical care, a study has found. The findings, based on 25 years of data, partly reflect soccer's growing popularity. But the researchers and sports medicine experts believe the trend also is a result of greater awareness about concussions and their potential risks. Coaches and parents are likely seeking emergency treatment for symptoms that in previous years might have been downplayed or overlooked. Nearly 3 million players aged 7 through 17 received ER treatment for soccer-related injuries in the 2000–2014 study. Via Star Tribune.
Mayo Clinic News
Mayo Survey: Americans' Greatest Health Fear Is Cancer
Americans believe infectious diseases, such as Zika and Ebola, are the least-concerning health care challenges of today, according to a new survey by Mayo Clinic. Instead, U.S. citizens see cancer as the number one challenge facing the health care industry, followed by obesity; neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease; diabetes; and heart disease. “We explored consumer perceptions about hot topics in health care, cancer, brain health, and sleep,” said John Wald, M.D., Medical Director of Public Affairs at Mayo. “We feel that we have a responsibility to help lead the conversation about health and wellness and empower people to make healthy choices. This research helps to shape that dialogue.” Via Twin Cities Business.
Mayo Clinic, iSpecimen Collaborate on Cancer/Normal Serum Biobank
Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine has selected iSpecimen, a customized human biospecimen collections company to serve as the exclusive channel partner for the Mayo Clinic Cancer/Normal Serum Biobank, connecting biomedical researchers with the samples and associated data for their studies. “As is the case with many biorepositories, intensive resources have been put into creating a variety of sample collections along with state-of-the-art facilities,” said Stephen Thibodeau, Ph.D., the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director, Biorepositories Program, for the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. Via HIT Consultant.
Mayo Clinic Making Changes to Insurance Coverage
Mayo Clinic will be making changes to its insurance coverage, and it will have a big impact on employees who have kids with autism. Mayo told ABC 6 that it will start including intensive behavioral interventions, including applied behavioral analysis to treat autism spectrum disorder, within its employee benefits package. Parents of children with autism say treatments can have huge benefits, but can also be very expensive. In its statement today, Mayo Clinic said, it recognizes the medical challenges faced by parents of autistic children. Via KAAL-TV.
Want to Keep Medical Costs Down? Hit the Gym.
We all know that exercise is good for your health. But did you know that it’s also good for your wallet? A recent study found that adults with cardiovascular disease―think: coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, arrhythmias, or peripheral artery disease―who also exercised regularly spent $2,500 less on health care than their sedentary counterparts. It’s encouraging news on top of what we already know about exercise’s myriad health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as improved mood and help preventing excess weight gain, according to Mayo Clinic. Via Huffington Post.
Mayo Clinic Radio: First Screening Test for Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Sometimes endometrial cancer is called uterine cancer. On the next Mayo Clinic Radio program, gynecologic surgeon Jamie Bakkum-Gamez, M.D., shares new research aimed at developing a minimally invasive test—using the DNA from a tampon—to detect endometrial cancer. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.