Week in Review: April 14

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

Prostate Cancer Tests Are Now OK with U.S. Panel, with Caveats

An influential U.S. government advisory panel is dropping its opposition to routine prostate cancer screening in favor of letting men decide for themselves after talking with their doctor. The new draft guidelines released echo those of several leading medical groups, but they don’t make the decision any easier for men: With their doctor’s help, they have to decide whether to take an imperfect PSA test that has a small chance of detecting a deadly cancer and a larger chance of triggering unneeded worry and treatment with serious side effects. “This isn’t a one-size-fitsall” recommendation, said the panel’s chair Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a San Francisco internist who already follows the advice and discusses the potential pros and cons with her patients. Men whose greatest concern is reducing their chances of dying from cancer are sometimes willing to face the consequences and choose testing. “Other men will realize the likely benefit is small and aren’t willing to risk the harms,” she said. Via Pioneer Press.

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Music Therapy Can Trigger Memories in Dementia Patients

Hearing a song can spark memories of that special summer or someone. For those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, music can trigger memories long thought to be lost. The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is capitalizing on the power of a rhythm or melody in weekly music therapy sessions that started in February. Via Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Drugs That Work in Mice often Fail When Tried in People

Most potential new drugs fail when they're tested in people. These failures are not only a major disappointment, they sharply drive up the cost of developing new drugs. A major reason for these failures is that most new drugs are first tested out in mice, rats or other animals. Often those animal studies show great promise. But mice aren't simply furry little people, so these studies often lead science astray. Some scientists are now rethinking animal studies to make them more effective for human health. Via NPR.

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Addicts Who Can't Get Opioids Are Overdosing on Diarrhea Drug

Opioid painkillers have an inconvenient, lesser-known side effect: terrible constipation. Perhaps then it’s no surprise that people addicted to opioids have considered the converse. If a drug that gets you high causes constipation, could a drug that causes constipation get you high? Yes, and that drug is another opioid called loperamide, better known by its brand name Imodium as an over-the-counter treatment for diarrhea. At extremely high doses—dozens or even hundreds of pills a day—it can produce a high or ease withdrawal symptoms. And in the middle of a national opioid epidemic, overdoses of loperamide are rising, too. Via The Atlantic.

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More Than 1 in 5 Adults Has Cancer-Causing HPV, CDC Reports

More than one in five adults in the United States has high-risk human papillomavirus, the type of HPV that can cause cancer, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report provides the latest national estimates on oral and genital HPV—the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States—in adults ages 18 to 59. The report specifically looked at adults who didn't receive recommendations to get the HPV vaccine. Via CNN.

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Mayo Clinic News

What Patients Need to Know about New Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Screening

The new recommendations may help patients get personalized care to address their health and specific concerns. The guidelines empower patients to talk with their doctor about personalized care tailored to their health and priorities, R. Jeffrey Karnes, M.D., a urologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the new recommendations, told ABC News. “A man should be allowed to discuss with his physician whether to have a PSA ordered or not,” Dr. Karnes said. Via ABC News.

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Mayo's Noseworthy Nominated to Merck Board

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced that John H. Noseworthy, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic, has been nominated to stand for election to the company's board of directors. The annual election of Dr. Noseworthy and the other directors will take place in connection with Merck's Annual Meeting of Shareholders on May 23, 2017. With the proposed addition of Dr. Noseworthy, and the planned retirement of C. Robert Kidder, the Merck board will include 13 members. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Why Are So Many People Popping Vitamin D?

In 2011, a committee of the Endocrine Society, headed by Dr. Holick, came out with a recommendation that vitamin D levels be at least 30 nanograms per milliliter, which meant that most people were vitamin D deficient. The group recommended the taking of supplements but not widespread testing, on the grounds that this would not be cost-effective. The new guideline had an immediate effect: Commercial labs began describing levels of 20 to 30 nanograms per milliliter as insufficient. Many continue to do so today. “There was a vitamin D bandwagon,” said Sundeep Khosla, M.D., an osteoporosis expert at Mayo Clinic. Vitamin D tests “became incorporated into the general evaluation of patients,” he added. Ravinder Singh, Ph.D., who runs a testing lab at Mayo Clinic, was taken aback by the sudden deluge. “Demand for vitamin D testing went through the sky,” he said. “It was almost as though there was nothing else serious in clinical practice.” Via NY Times.

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Mayo Clinic Expanding Sports Medicine Facility in Minneapolis

It was revealed last week when Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management purchased Mayo Clinic Square that the building was 96 percent leased. Mayo spokeswoman Rhoda Madson told TCB that the medical institution’s expansion would be into the existing space on the second level connected to the skyway. “The cost of the project and our staffing needs are still being determined,” Madson said, noting that work on the new space is expected to wrap by the end of the year. Mayo said in a release on Friday that the expansion would include a number of additions and improvements to its current operation. Via Twin Cities.

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Vaccine May Prevent Progression of DCIS to Breast Cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic received a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to test a vaccine designed to establish lifelong immunity against the development of breast cancer in women with ductal carcinoma in situ. “We still have hundreds of thousands of breast cancers diagnosed every day in the world, and we still have 40,000 deaths from the disease every year in this country,” Keith Knutson, Ph.D., Director of the Discovery and Translation Labs Cancer Research Program at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, told HemOnc Today. “Imagine if we had a vaccine that could prevent breast cancer." Via Healio.

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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.