Week in Review: May 26

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

Fitness Trackers Are Largely Inaccurate When Counting Calories, Stanford Researchers Say

Calorie counting is a useful way to lose weight, but a new study suggests a fitness tracker could sabotage your efforts. The devices are overwhelmingly popular. For instance, since its inception, the leading brand, Fitbit, has sold at least 30 million of them. The company promises on its website that the devices “track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes & hourly activity.” Others, such as PulseOn, Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Samsung Gear S2, and Microsoft Band, promise the same. A team of Stanford researchers, however, recently called foul after testing these trackers. The scientists said in a paper published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine that though the devices purport to help users track their calories—daily energy expenditure—the number is often markedly incorrect. Via Washington Post.

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Chocolate Linked to Lower Risk for Heart Condition Afib

Eating a little chocolate regularly may lower the odds for a common and potentially dangerous heart condition called atrial fibrillation, or AFib, say Harvard researchers. Past studies have linked eating cocoa products, such as dark chocolate, with cardiovascular benefits, but there hasn't been a lot of research on chocolate and atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat condition linked with a higher risk for stroke and heart failure, said study author Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiology instructor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Some people with AFib describe the irregular heartbeat as feeling like a fluttering sensation. Via CBS News.

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This Social Media Site Ranked Worst for Mental Health

Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform to young people's mental health, according to new research out of the U.K. Researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health in conjunction with the Young Health Movement published the report entitled #StatusOfMind, which looks at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people's health and well-being. Snapchat ranked the second worst for mental health of the sites reviewed in the report, followed by Facebook. On the plus side, YouTube topped the list as the most positive, with Twitter coming in after it. Via CBS News.

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Smart Genes Account for 20% of Intelligence

Scientists announced the discovery of 52 genes linked to human intelligence, 40 of which have been identified as such for the first time. The findings also turned up a surprising connection between intelligence and autism that could one day help shed light on the condition's origins. Via Yahoo! News.

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Study Finds Statins May Not Be as Effective as We Thought

Statins, the popular cholesterol-fighting medication, might not be as effective as previously believed in protecting seniors with no history of heart disease, according to a study. NYU Langone Medical Center researchers looked at 2,867 healthy older adults who were taking statins and found no evidence to suggest they were living any longer as a result, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Via New York Post.

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Mayo Clinic News

Women in Medicine: Female Physicians Get Called "Doctor" Less Than Their Male Colleagues

Dr. Julia Files was the only woman onstage with three male physicians and a male moderator. Each doctor had given a presentation on his or her area of expertise, and the event—a large and formal meeting with about 500 people in attendance—was coming to a close. The moderator then thanked Dr. So-and-So Man, Dr. Such-and-Such Guy, Dr. This-and-That Dude. And he thanked Julia. Files, a physician and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale, was rattled. “I was really quite taken aback. I thought, 'Did that just happen? Am I being sensitive? Is it me? Did he do that? Did he mean to do that?'” Files tells Newsweek. Via Newsweek.

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5 Nasty Minnesota Bugs to Watch out for This Summer

As Minnesotans, we pine for summer all winter—eager for the carefree fun in the sun that it offers—grilling, swimming, fishing, gardening, noshing on ice cream. But we’re not the only ones emerging from hibernation. Warmer weather also brings out all kinds of creepy, crawly bugs. To help you survive the season of bugs, we offer you this list of five nasty ones to watch out for this summer. Via Star Tribune.

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Lyme Disease Is Underreported in Wisconsin, but How Much Does It Matter?

Wisconsinites know they're likely to encounter deer ticks, and along with them the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. First diagnosed in 1975, the disease is found across the Northern Hemisphere. In the U.S., it's most heavily concentrated in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. However, Minnesota and Wisconsin form a second zone of high incidence in the U.S.. In 2015, state and federal estimates indicated that Wisconsin had 22.7 cases of Lyme disease per 100,000 people, compared to 8.9 in the United States as a whole. This incidence rate in Wisconsin has been well above the national average since at least 2005, and is rivaled by only a handful of other states. But these numbers don't represent a definitive count of how many people actually come down with Lyme disease in Wisconsin each year. Via WisContext.

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Too Many Americans Still Go without Cancer Screenings

Screening can catch certain cancers while they are still treatable, but too few Americans are receiving regular testing, Sauer and her colleagues found. The lowest rates of screening tend to be among the uninsured, noted Jan Buckner, M.D., an oncologist with Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Recent immigrants also were less likely to receive regular cancer screening, possibly because they either are uninsured or don't know how to access health care. "What does stand out is the unevenness of screening and prevention, and it's pretty clear that a lot of the disparity relates to income," Dr. Buckner said. Via HealthDay.

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Mayo Clinic Minute: ABCs of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B, and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another? In this Mayo Clinic Minute, infectious disease specialist Stacey Rizza, M.D., explains the ABCs of hepatitis. 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.