Week in Review: June 16

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

Could a Drone Help Save a Life Faster Than an Ambulance?

YouTube videos, Amazon delivery, military operations, farming—you name it, drones are being used for everything from aerial photography and delivering packages to conducting surveillance and tending crops. Now the medical world is exploring new ways to use drones, too. A study by Swedish researchers looked at how drones compare to ambulances at delivering lifesaving defibrillator devices to patients suffering from cardiac arrest and found drones are faster. But the technology has pros and cons, say doctors. Via CBS News.

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America’s New Tobacco Crisis: The Rich Stopped Smoking, the Poor Didn’t

After decades of lawsuits, public campaigns and painful struggles, Americans have finally done what once seemed impossible: Most of the country has quit smoking, saving millions of lives and leading to massive reductions in cancer. That is, unless those Americans are poor, uneducated, or live in a rural area. Hidden among the steady declines in recent years is the stark reality that cigarettes are becoming a habit of the poor. The national smoking rate has fallen to historic lows, with just 15% of adults still smoking. But the socioeconomic gap has never been bigger. Via Washington Post.

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More Than 10% of World’s Population Is Obese, Study Finds

More than 10% of the world’s population is now obese, a marked rise over the last 30 years that is leading to widespread health problems and millions of premature deaths, according to a new study, the most comprehensive research done on the subject. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study showed that the problem had swept the globe, including regions that have historically had food shortages, like Africa. The study, compiled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and funded by the Gates Foundation, looked at 195 countries, essentially the world’s population, finding that rates of obesity at least doubled in 73 countries—including Turkey, Venezuela, and Bhutan—from 1980 to 2015, and “continuously increased in most other countries.” Via NY Times.

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Is Zika Still a Problem in Florida and the Caribbean?

There's no doubt about it: Zika is on the retreat in the Americas. In Brazil, cases are down by 95% from last year. Across the Caribbean, outbreaks have subsided. And in Florida, the virus seems to have gone into hiding. Health officials haven't investigated a new Zika case for more than 45 days in Miami-Dade County. Last week, the Centers Disease Control and Prevention lifted the last travel warning for southern Florida. The agency is no longer recommending pregnant women avoid the region. Via NPR.

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Low-Fat Dairy Foods Linked to Parkinson's Risk, Study Suggests

Though you might think eating low-fat dairy foods is a healthy move, new research suggests the habit is tied to a slight rise in the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Experts who reviewed the study stressed that the findings are preliminary—the effect was a modest one and the research wasn't designed to prove cause and effect. In the study, researchers analyzed data on about 130,000 men and women, tracking their dietary habits every four years and the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's. After 25 years, more than 1,000 people developed Parkinson's, a progressive neurodegenerative illness affecting coordination and movement. Via CBS Health.

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Mayo Clinic News

Study Aims to Identify the Hefty Cost of Cancer Treatment

Drug manufacturers argue that they need to charge high initial prices for new drugs to recoup their research investments. But critics charge they often inflate prices beyond what is necessary. Mayo Clinic’s S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., called it a “moral obligation” two years ago when he started to take on manufacturers over their cancer drug costs: “None of the companies have any pressure to price their drugs lower because they know the patients will have to take their drug anyway. Even if you use the first three drugs, you still need the fourth drug. So each drug is, in a sense, a monopoly.” Via Star Tribune.

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Gut Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis: What You Need to Know

A different strain of the bacteria, Prevotella histicola, may actually decrease symptoms and disease progression, according to research done by the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine published in Genome Medicine. Mice who were given the bacteria saw a delay in the disease and a reduction in the amount of cytokines (proteins that affect the immune system) in their system. "The question is, 'Can this bacteria by itself be doing it? If it is, can we prevent arthritis?'" says the study's lead author, Veena Taneja, Ph.D., an immunologist. Via Everyday Health.

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Healthy Summer Grilling Hacks

Grilling season opens up plenty of opportunities to put healthy food on your plate. Chef Jen Welper, Wellness Chef at The Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, stopped by the KARE 11 to share some tips on staying healthy while enjoying your grilled favorites. Via Kare 11.

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Tick-Borne Illnesses on the Rise

Ticks are tiny, but they pack a big bite. When most people think about them, they associate them with pets, but humans should be wary too. “Lots of tick-borne illnesses occur in Florida because of our weather. It occurs year-round, so we need to be careful all the time,” Vandana Bhide, M.D., said. Dr. Bhide, a hospitalist at Mayo Clinic, said while Lyme disease is rare in Florida, it is possible. In all, the Sunshine State has five tick breeds that carry illnesses. Dr. Bhide said you should take a shower as soon as you leave a heavily wooded area or a place with tall grass and check your body for ticks. If you do find one, you should use gloves and carefully remove it with tweezers, then put it inside a plastic sealable bag to give to your doctor. Via ActionNewsJax.

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Mayo Clinic’s Transplant Program in Florida Reaches Milestone

The transplant program at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus recently has completed its 6,000th solid organ transplant since its inception in 1998. 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.