Week in Review: May 5

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

Blood Group May Affect Heart Attack Risk

Researchers have found that people with A, B, and AB blood types may be at greater risk of cardiovascular events—particularly heart attack—than individuals with O blood types. Lead study author Tessa Kole, of the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues say that their findings suggest that health care professionals should consider a person's blood group when assessing their cardiovascular risk. Kole and team came to their findings by conducting a meta-analysis of studies that reported participants' blood types and the incidence of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, and cardiovascular death. The data included more than 1.3 million adults who were a part of 11 cohorts across nine studies. The researchers used the data to assess how each blood group might impact the risk of coronary events, combined cardiovascular events, and fatal coronary events. Via Medical News Today.

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Doctors Prescribe More Generics When Drug Reps Are Kept at Bay

When teaching hospitals put pharmaceutical sales representatives on a shorter leash, their doctors tended to order fewer promoted brand-name drugs and used more generic versions instead, a study published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, shows. The results were significant compared to doctors who worked at hospitals that did not limit sales reps from freely walking their halls or providing meals or gifts, according to research by Ian Larkin, an assistant professor of strategy at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, and colleagues. This issue of JAMA is devoted to conflicts of interest in medicine and includes a viewpoint on what ProPublica has learned by publishing Dollars for Docs, a tool that lets users look up their physicians' payments from drug and medical device companies. Via NPR.

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What Makes Someone Donate a Kidney to a Stranger?

Would you donate a kidney to someone you've never met? The idea is layered with soul-searching judgments—questions of risk and benefit, sacrifice and selfishness, not to mention the physical pain of the surgery itself. But a small number of people have done this, and researchers at Georgetown University are studying them, providing a window on altruism in a world seemingly dominated by a me-first philosophy. Via Washington Post.

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Unfounded Autism Fears Are Fueling Minnesota's Measles Outbreak

Health officials in Minnesota have been scrambling to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened primarily Somali-American children in the state. So far health officials have identified 34 cases, still mostly in Hennepin County, and they're worried there will be more. Via MPR.

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Experts Warn of Increases in Tick-Borne Powassan Virus

Summer is nearly here, and it's bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan. This potentially life-threatening virus is carried and transmitted by three types of ticks, including the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease. Over the past decade, 75 cases have been reported in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though no one can say how many infections will occur this year, warmer winters have led to an increased tick population, so experts predict rising tick-borne infections of many types. Via CNN.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Researchers Use Nanoparticles to Shrink Breast Tumors in Mice

In the Cancer Nanotechnology and Tumor Immunology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus, researchers led by Betty Kim, M.D., Ph.D., have been using a new type of cancer-fighting nanoparticle to shrink breast cancer tumors in mice and prevent their recurrence. “In this proof-of-concept study, we were astounded to find that the animals treated with these nanoparticles showed a lasting anti-cancer effect,” Dr. Kim said. Via Florida-Times Union.

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Mayo Clinic Launches a Revolutionary New Alternative to the BMI

Mayo Clinic has just launched a new way to measure weight called the Body Volume Indicator, designed to more precisely estimate weight distribution and fat around organs by dividing total volume with abdominal volume. A 3D measurement company called Select Research has developed an iPad app, BVI Pro, that will calculate a person's BVI with a quick scan. Mayo Clinic is first introducing this new measurement to members of the medical, clinical, and fitness communities, but it hopes that this will eventually become a standard for measuring body mass by 2020, supplementing the BMI. Via Fast Company.

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Mayo Clinic Working on New Project to Detect Cancer Early

“We know that all cancers, if detected early, can be cured," said David Ahlquist, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic. Dr. Ahlquist said they are studying a new approach that could potentially detect all cancers early. It’s called the “pan cancer test." The technology they use in this test would be similar to the technology they use in liquid biopsies. “Take a blood test and measure tumor-related markers, and in our case, we’re looking at DNA changes that are specifically acquired by tumors, and using new analytical techniques, now we can measure very, very tiny amounts of those markers in blood to detect even the earliest stages of cancer,” said Dr. Ahlquist. Via Kare 11.

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More Than a Thousand Women Band Together to Fight Ovarian Cancer and "Unleash the She"

On Sunday, more than a thousand women flooded the streets surrounding RCTC for the 7th annual "Unleash the She" 5K and 10K Run. The event was put on by Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Advocates say there is no test for ovarian cancer, which experts consider the deadliest of all gynecological cancers. Jaime Bakkum'Gamez, M.D., a gynecological oncologist at Mayo Clinic told ABC 6 News that women experiencing excessive bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and/or frequent urination, should speak to their health care provider. Via KAAL.

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Mayo Clinic-Invented Technologies Show Brain Tumor Firmness, Adhesion before Surgery

It’s not often that a fall saves someone’s life. Helen Powell, 74, says that was the case for her. A computerized tomography scan that followed her fall revealed a cancerous brain tumor that led her to Mayo Clinic and surgery using first-in-the-world technology. Brain magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) imaging, showed the precise firmness of her tumor. New slip interface imaging further revealed how attached the tumor was to normal brain tissue—even before starting surgery. The imaging techniques, invented and available only at Mayo Clinic, show whether the tumor is soft and can be removed easily, or if it is firm, making surgery more challenging and time-consuming. 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.