Week in Review: March 24

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

Death Rates Rise for Wide Swath of White Adults, Study Finds

In 2015, two Princeton University economists published a landmark paper showing that mortality was rising for white middle-aged Americans after decades of decline, a startling development for an economically advanced nation. Now a new analysis from the same pair, released by the Brookings Institution, paints an even bleaker picture of the nation’s largest-population group. Mortality has been rising since the turn of this century for an even broader swath of white adults, starting at age 25, the researchers found, driven by troubles in a hard-hit working class. Death rates for white non-Hispanics with a high-school education or less now exceed those of blacks overall, the pair said—and they’re 30% higher for whites age 50 to 54 than for blacks overall of that age. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Infant Mortality Rates Fall 15% in U.S.

Fewer babies are dying in the U.S., federal researchers reported. The infant mortality rate has fallen by 15% in the past 10 years, a rare bit of good news. The U.S. infant mortality rate has been a source of both embarrassment and concern for the United States, which has a much worse record than other developed countries. The biggest drop—29%—is for deaths from sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS, the team at the National Center for Health Statistics found. Via NBC News.

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Proposed Federal Budget Would Devastate Cancer Research, Advocates Say

Cancer researchers and advocacy groups are denouncing President Trump's proposed budget, warning that its 19% cut for the National Institutes of Health could cripple or kill former vice president Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” initiative and other important biomedical efforts. “Forget about the moonshot. What about everything on the ground?” said George Demetri, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “Fundamentally, this is so extreme that all I can think is that it’s pushing two orders of magnitude off the grid so that when people come back to less extreme positions, it looks normal.” Via Washington Post.

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When Hospital Inspectors Are in Town, Fewer Patients Die, Study Says

Every couple of years, unannounced visits by inspectors from the Joint Commission trigger a frenzied response in hospitals, in which clinicians are instructed to do everything by the book to avoid potentially embarrassing violations. A new study revealed the impact of that all-hands-on-deck response when the accreditors are in town: significantly fewer patient deaths during inspection week than the weeks before and after the inspectors’ visit. Via STAT.

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Many at Risk for Stroke Don’t Get Anti-Clotting Drugs

More than four in five stroke patients with a history of heart rhythm problems didn’t get any blood thinners, or didn’t take enough to help prevent a stroke before they had one, a U.S. study suggests. Most strokes occur when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain, known as an ischemic stroke. The study focused on more than 94,000 stroke patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular rapid heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure, and chronic fatigue. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo CEO: Expansion Will Build Revenue

Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy says Mayo’s investment in new infrastructure in Rochester will be key in generating revenue and cutting costs while Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to the health system decline. Mayo and Rochester are on the eve of getting some help from the state. The Destination Medical Center Corp. is scheduled to announce that the multibillion-dollar development project has crossed a $200 million private investment threshold that will release the first of $585 million the Minnesota Legislature set aside for public infrastructure projects in the city. Via Finance & Commerce.

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Social Media Helps Reunite Mayo Cancer Patient with His Beloved Teddy Bear

A young child battling brain cancer is being reunited with his lost teddy bear—all thanks to the power of social media. Aiden Remme, 5, lost his beloved bear, Tedz, during a recent trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. According to his mother, Aiden was here completing his 60th round of chemotherapy treatment. The post was shared more than 1,000 times. And by Wednesday morning, Tedz had been located in the Saint Marys Chapel. Volunteers are now in the process of returning Tedz to Aiden. Via MedCity Beat.

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Study Connects Genes to Late Onset Alzheimer’s in African-Americans

A study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic, published in the February issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, may show some insights into the genetics of the disease in Black Americans who develop the disease after age 65. The study's senior investigator, Dr. Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D., a neurogeneticist and neurologist at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus says that while the reasons for these high rates of Alzheimer's in the Black community remains unknown, there could be multiple reasons. She cites "higher vascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, as well as differences in genetics and/or differences in socioeconomic factors." Via NBC News.

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Mayo Clinic Brings the Strollin' Colon Back to Rochester

The Strollin' Colon is back! March is colorectal cancer awareness month and Mayo Clinic once again brought in the inflatable colon to help educate the community. "Colorectal cancer is probably the second most fatal cancer among men and women in the United States," said John Kisiel, M.D. Each year, around 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and 50,000 will die from it, according to Mayo Clinic. Via KAAL.

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Stem Cells Splash down from Space

After nearly a month orbiting the Earth attached to the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon capsule containing Dr. Abba Zubair's stem cell research detached from the station and returned to Earth. After SpaceX turns over the contents of the Dragon to NASA, the research will be sent back to Dr. Zubair’s laboratory at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus for analysis and further scientific study. 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.