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.
The 20 Most Googled Diseases
To figure out if a headache or a stomach twinge is something insidious, millions of people head to a search engine first. More than a third of all American adults have gone online to find a diagnosis, according to a 2013 Pew survey, and half of those people wound up discussing what they found with their health care provider. Looking for a digital diagnosis can either increase or alleviate concerns about a possible illness, according to Microsoft researchers. And there’s even a word that’s cropped up—“cyberchondria”—to describe what happens when searching for medical information starts to become a condition unto itself. Via STAT.
Babies Who Sleep Alone by 4 Months May Sleep Longer, Study Finds
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their recommendation about infants sleeping in the same room as their parents. Previously, the AAP said that babies should sleep on a separate surface, in the same room, at least until six months and preferably until 1 year old to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), from which the CDC says 3,500 infants die each year. Now, a study of mothers and infants from Pennsylvania State University finds that room-sharing may have unintended consequences and recommended a change in the long-held AAP infant sleep guidelines. Via Yahoo!.
The Millennial Obsession with Self-Care
In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, more millennials reported making personal improvement commitments than any generation before them. They spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, life coaching, therapy, and apps to improve their personal well-being. They've even created self-care Twitter bots. But why is there a generational divide in taking care of yourself? One study showed that this might have all sprouted out of the Internet. It found that students reported using the Web to identify self-care strategies, alternative therapies, and other information related to nutrition and fitness. Via NPR.
Health Officials Set to Release a List of Drugs Everyone on Earth Should Be Able to Access
Once every two years, the World Health Organization releases a list of medications it thinks should be available, if needed, to all the people of the Earth. The latest iteration of the essential medicines list is slated to be released this week. It’s a formulary, a compendium like the ones health insurers such as Kaiser Permanente or Harvard Pilgrim maintain to help them determine which medicines should be covered by their policies. That may sound dull or at least rather wonky. But there are real-world implications when a drug makes—or is not approved for—this list. Via STAT.
Hand Washing Study Findings Run Counter to FDA Guidelines
You don't need to scald your hands to get rid of germs. For effective hand hygiene, water temperature matters less than time, new research states. The finding runs counter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines recommending that food establishments and restaurants deliver water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for hand washing, the researchers said. Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey said they found that cold water is as effective as hot in getting rid of harmful bacteria and other germs. What's more important, they said, is that people scrub their hands with soap for at least 10 seconds. Via CBS News.
Mayo Clinic News
Cutting Chemo Time in Low-Risk Colon Cancer an Option
Results of a major international research effort in colon cancer are so far-reaching that they will begin to change clinical practice almost immediately, experts said here, even though the findings did not quite meet their statistical endpoint. The IDEA (International Duration Evaluation of Adjuvant chemotherapy) collaboration, involving more than 12,000 patients in six parallel clinical trials, was intended to see if shorter—and therefore less toxic—courses of post-surgical oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy are as effective as the current standard, according to Axel Grothey, M.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Via MedPage Today.
Mayo Clinic’s Unusual Challenge: Overhaul a Business That’s Working
Change is hard. It is especially hard when the organization in question is among the top in its field. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic, the 153-year-old institution that pioneered the concept of patient-centered care, considered it an ideal place to practice, one that wasn’t in much need of fixing. It is renowned for diagnosing and treating medicine’s most complex patients. John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo’s President and Chief Executive Officer, had a different view about the need for change. He saw declining revenue, he says, from accelerating efforts by government health programs, private insurers and employers to rein in health-care costs as a looming threat to the clinic’s health. Via Wall Street Journal.
Minnesota Ranks as Healthiest State for Seniors
Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., Director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living and Independent Living Program, calls the recognition "fantastic," further noting Rochester actually might be the best city in the entire country to be an aging senior. He highlighted extensive trails and green space, in addition to what he calls Mayo's "unknown fact," which tips the scales in his mind. "An unknown fact, I would say, is that Mayo Clinic has approximately 1% of all geriatricians in the entire country right here in Rochester," Dr. LeBrasseur said. "We're better equipped than anywhere in the world to care for elderly adults." Via St. Cloud Times.
A Dilemma for Diabetes Patients: How Low to Push Blood Sugar, and How to Do It?
A particular drug’s effect on blood sugar does not predict its effects on the heart. Even understanding the chemistry at work—the drugs act in very different ways to lower blood sugar—does not predict whether a particular medication will increase heart risk in a particular patient, researchers say.“It’s a disgrace” that so little is known, said Victor Montori, M.D., a diabetes expert at Mayo Clinic. No one disputes the importance of lowering blood sugar when levels are very high. Doing so may help prevent complications like kidney disease, nerve damage, and damage to the eyes, and may alleviate symptoms like fatigue and frequent urination. Via NY Times.
New International Guidelines Issued on Dementia with Lewy Bodies
According to research reported in Neurology, the international Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium issued new guidelines about diagnosing and treating the disease and called for more clinical trials into the illness. “The updated clinical criteria and associated biomarkers hopefully will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and that is key to helping patients confront this challenging illness and maximize their quality of life,” says Bradley Boeve, M.D., a co-author of the paper and a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, which sponsored an international dementia with Lewy bodies conference with roughly 400 clinicians, scientists, patients, and care partners in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in December 2015. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.