Week in Review: Jan. 20

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.


Industry News

For Many People, Medical Care Works Best When It's Incremental

There's the heroic, lightning-quick medical care that saves us from crises. And then there's the slow-but-steady incremental medical attention that doctors provide for weeks, months, years, even decades in the attempt to heal complex conditions. As a surgeon, The New Yorker's Atul Gawande practices the heroic type of medicine. In his new article, "Tell Me Where It Hurts," Gawande examines the quieter side of health care. Chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis have become the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Gawande argues that it's time for the health care system to discover the heroism of "the incremental." Gawande discusses his article with NPR's Robert Siegel, touching on the status of incremental medicine and what a shift in healthcare might mean for primary care in upcoming years. Via NPR.

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This Might Be How Stress and Heart Attacks Are Linked

Scientists have long known that stress can influence your heart health, but exactly how this relationship takes place has been something of a mystery—until now. Activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with fear and stress, can predict your risk for heart disease and stroke, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet. Via CNN.

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America's $200 Billion Obesity Problem by State and Age Group

The United States is one of the most overweight nations in the world. The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance estimates that obesity-related health care costs more than $200 billion each year. The rates of obesity in adults across the country are vastly different, however. The website Data Visualisations created a series of maps based on data from nonprofit The State of Obesity outlining differences by state. Louisiana has the worst rate at 36.2%, while Colorado is the slimmest state at 20.2%. There is a definite regional trend to the data—9 of the top 10 states are in the South, while the slimmer states tend to be in the West or Northeast. Every state in the nation currently has an adult obesity rate over 20%, while half have a rate of 30% or higher. In 1990, Mississippi had the highest rate at just 15%. Colorado was the slimmest state at that time as well, with a rate of just 6.9%. Via Yahoo! Finance.

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FDA Issues Draft Guidance to Better Medical Product Labeling

The U.S. health regulator issued draft guidance, recommending ways to communicate promotional materials and additional information that is not on the label of medical products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration typically determines what information goes on the labels of medical drugs and devices, after evaluating whether the product is safe and effective for the proposed indication. Via Reuters.

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"Concierge" Docs Offer 24/7 Access, Spa Treatments and More—for a Price

Every Saturday morning, dozens of cyclists and walkers gather in Redlands outside a restored Victorian to exercise with Dr. Steven Wilson. With its huge bike rack and organic vegetable garden out back, it’s not what you’d expect from your primary care doctor’s office. But this isn’t your typical practice. At a time when in-and-out appointments are a financial necessity for most physicians, Wilson and a growing number of direct care or “concierge doctors” are using their practices to focus on wellness, not illness. They work on health and fitness goals with their patients, and are available to speak with them regularly by cellphone to help them make better lifestyle choices. Via LA Times.

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Mayo Clinic News

Why the "Gluten-Free Movement" Is Less of a Fad Than We Thought 

There’s growing evidence that severe gluten sensitivities exist outside the realm of celiac disease. And researchers simply don’t know how many of the people following a gluten-free diet may actually have a legitimate health complaint—as opposed to a baseless fear of all things gluten or a misplaced desire to lose weight. “We have no real inkling from our results,” said Joseph Murray, M.D., a celiac researcher at Mayo Clinic and one of the authors of the new research. “We didn’t think to ask why people avoid gluten. When we designed this study ten years ago, no one avoided gluten without a celiac diagnosis.” Via Washington Post.

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Study Finds New Way to Pinpoint Dangerous Prostate Cancer

Researchers say they've found a new way to tell if a man's prostate cancer will come back and kill him after treatment. If a blood test called a PSA doesn't fall to low enough levels after treatment, it means the cancer's not all gone and will likely come back and spread, the team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School reported. [Photo] Radiologist Val Lowe, M.D., Director of the Cancer Imaging Program at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, looks at a PET scan of a patient with recurrent prostate cancer. Via NBC News.

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Mayo Clinic Receives $1.6 Million to Fund Alzheimer’s Research in Jacksonville

Eight programs at Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus are receiving a total of $1.6 million in grants to fund Alzheimer’s research in Jacksonville. Kevin Bieniek, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow at Mayo Clinic in Florida, will benefit from this most recent round of grant funding from the state. His study examines the relationship between brain trauma and Alzheimer’s disease. “There are so many people who get Alzheimer’s disease who have no family history of this disorder,” Dr. Bieniek told WOKV. “It’s really a complex interaction of your genetics, the environment, your lifestyle. There are so many factors that come into play.” Via WOKV Jacksonville.

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Rebiotix, Mayo Team up to Test Orally Administered Gut Microbe Transplant

Rebiotix Inc., the closely held Roseville microbiome company, has teamed with a Mayo Clinic expert on hospital-acquired infections to begin the clinical trial process for a new, orally delivered microbe transplant therapy to combat recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. diff.). This month, it announced it has partnered with Mayo gastroenterologist Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., on a Phase I dosing study of the orally administered version at the Rochester clinic, with the first patient already undergoing the therapy. Dr. Khanna, one of the leading voices in warning that C. diff. infections have reached epidemic proportions in and out of the nation’s hospitals, staffs a clinic devoted to the problem that opened at Mayo in 2013. Via Twin Cities Business.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Identify Cancer-Fighting Drugs That Help Morbidly Obese Mice to Lose Weight

Scientific investigations sometimes result in serendipitous discoveries which shift the investigations from one focus to another. In the case of researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, studies addressing obesity’s impact on cancer treatment resulted in an unexpected discovery that shifted the focus from cancer to obesity. The investigators observed that two common cancer-fighting drugs sparked significant weight loss in the obese mice, even though the mice continued their excessive consumption of a high-fat diet. 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.