Week in Review: June 23

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

Millennials Are Now America's Largest Generation. Here Are 4 Ways They're Changing Health Care.

It's official: Millennials are now the largest living generation in the United States. The country now includes 75.4 million millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997), compared with 74.9 million baby boomers, according to the Pew Research Center. And the number of millennials is expected to grow: As young immigrants migrate to the United States, Pew estimates the millennial population will peak at 81.1 million in 2036. Yet, despite millennials' numbers, many providers haven't yet focused on their needs; instead , hey've paid more attention to the older, less-healthy generations that are likelier to seek care on their own accord, The Advisory Board Company experts say. But the times are changing: Millennials are growing older, and their health care consumption and preferences are shifting as they age. Via Advisory Board.

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Modified Viruses Deliver Death to Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Genetically modified viruses that cause bacteria to kill themselves could be the next step in combating antibiotic-resistant infections. Several companies have engineered such viruses, called bacteriophages, to use the CRISPR gene-editing system to kill specific bacteria, according to a presentation at the CRISPR 2017 conference in Big Sky, Montana, last week. These companies could begin clinical trials of therapies as soon as next year. Initial tests have saved mice from antibiotic-resistant infections that would otherwise have killed them, said Rodolphe Barrangou, chief scientific officer of Locus Biosciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, at the conference. Via Nature.

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NYC Health Officials Detect Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile Virus

The New York City Health Department says it had detected the first of the season’s mosquitoes with West Nile virus. The agency says the infected mosquitoes were found in Staten Island. No human cases were reported in the agency’s announcement. The department says it will spray pesticides to target mosquito breeding grounds if persistent West Nile virus activity is reported. It will continue to apply larvicide to marshlands and other areas with standing water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Via STAT.

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Acupuncture May Be Effective Painkiller in the ER

Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative to pain medications for some emergency room patients, a new study reports. "While acupuncture is widely used by practitioners in community settings for treating pain, it is rarely used in hospital emergency departments," said study lead investigator Marc Cohen. He is a professor in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The studybilled as the world's largest randomized, controlled trial of acupuncture in the emergency departmentincluded 528 patients. The study participants were seen at four Australian emergency departments for acute low back pain, migraines, or ankle sprains. Patients who said their level of pain was at least 4 on a 10-point scale received one of three treatments: acupuncture alone, acupuncture with painkillers, or painkillers alone. Via HealthDay.

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Lead Detected in Baby Food Samples. Pediatricians Say There's No Safe Level

About 20% of baby food samples tested over a decade-long period had detectable levels of lead, according to a new report from Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit group. The group evaluated data collected by the Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2013. This included 2,164 baby food samples. They found 89% of grape juice samples, 86% of sweet potatoes samples, and 47% of teething biscuit samples contained detectable levels of lead. Via NPR.

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Mayo Clinic News

Many Americans Taking Too Much Vitamin D

Nearly one in five U.S. adults are taking supplemental vitamin D, and a growing number are taking excessively high doses linked to an increased risk of fractures, falls, kidney stones, and certain cancers, a new study suggests. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to support bone health. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU (international units), or 800 IU after age 70. For the study, researchers examined nationally representative survey data collected for 39,243 adults from 1999 to 2014 to see how many people took daily doses of more than 1,000 IU and how many were taking more than 4,000 IU, which is the maximum recommended amount to avoid dangerous side effects. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Offering Fast-Track Breast Cancer Treatment

Early-stage breast cancer patients now have a fast-track treatment option at Mayo Clinic. Select, low-risk patients are completing their surgery and radiation in less than 10 days. "It’s a great option for women who are really, really busy and would like to complete all their therapy within a (short) time frame and get on with the rest of their lives," says Tina Hieken, M.D., a Mayo Clinic surgeon who helped develop the program. "Yet, we're still able to deliver the maximum cancer therapy benefit (with) the optimal treatment to just the right area." Via Kare 11.

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How Mayo Clinic Is Simplifying Prenatal Care for Low-Risk Patients

Low-risk expectant mothers pay a high price for unnecessary prenatal appointments in the form of time away from work and associated lost wages or personal days, child care costs, and so on. So do health care organizations, in the form of the unnecessary utilization of costly medical resources, including obstetric providers, clinic time, and nursing support. To address this problem, in 2011 a group at Mayo Clinic led by the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology launched an initiative to transform prenatal care from this medicalized model to an innovative wellness model. The approach that we developed, called OB Nest, allows women experiencing low-risk pregnancies to reduce their number of in-person visits from the standard 12 to 14 to just 8. Via Harvard Business Review.

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Who Really Needs to Be Gluten-Free?

Approximately one person in 140 is known to have celiac disease, which can remain silent for decades and become apparent at any age. The true incidence may be a lot higher. In a Denver study that followed children born from 1993 through 2004 into their teen years, 3.1% turned out to have celiac disease. “That’s an unbelievable number of Americans who may be affected,” said Joseph Murray, M.D., from Mayo Clinic, an international expert on the disease. “There’s a simple blood test for celiac, but it must be done before you change your diet,” Dr. Murray said in an interview. Aside from intestinal damage, failing to detect asymptomatic celiac at an early age can result in poor bone development and suppressed growth, Dr. Murray said. This can create “a high risk for fractures both before and after a diagnosis of celiac, which might not happen until age 40 or 50,” he explained. Via NY Times.

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Underused Cancer Test Could Improve Treatment for Thousands, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

A simple blood test could improve treatment for more than 1 in 6 "stage 2" colon cancer patients, suggests new Mayo Clinic research. The researchers also discovered that many patients who could benefit from the test likely aren’t receiving it. The findings were published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. 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.