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.
Skin Patch May Be the Future of Flu Vaccines, Study Suggests
The future of flu vaccines just might come in a tiny, prickly patch. A phase 1 clinical trial, the results of which were published in the medical journal Lancet, has deemed the dissolvable microneedle flu patch to be "well tolerated" and safe for possible use. Instead of receiving a flu vaccine with the typical prick of a syringe, the petite patch comes equipped with 100 microneedles that deliver a vaccine when pressed onto your arm. Via CNN.
Whole-Genome Sequencing Not Ready for Routine Use
A study testing the value of DNA sequencing as part of routine medical care showed that roughly one in five people carried a mutation linked with rare disease, but few actually benefited from that information, researchers reported. The finding comes from the first rigorous study examining the impact of whole-genome sequencing in healthy primary care patients. Scientists for years have predicted that a person's DNA would eventually become part of every patient's medical chart. The new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, put that notion to the test. Via Reuters.
Doctors Predict Lyme Disease Epidemic; Tampa Bay Possible Hotbed of Debilitating Tick-Borne Disease
After a tick bites you, symptoms of Lyme can range from aches and pains to lethargy and memory loss. Physicians still do not understand everything about the debilitating ailment. Many doctors are predicting a full epidemic this summer with a record 400,000 cases nationwide. The Tampa Bay region could be a possible hotbed for Lyme disease due to warm weather, wildlife, and suburban sprawl in rural areas. The most visible tell-tale sign that you have Lyme disease is a bull's-eye rash. If you catch the disease early, it can be treated with antibiotics. Via ABC News Tampa.
Greater Opioid Use and Mental Health Disorders Are Linked in New Study
A new study suggests that people with anxiety and depression are consuming a disproportionate share of prescription painkillers, a finding that could add a new wrinkle to the epidemic of opioid use in the United States. Researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan found that nearly 19% of the estimated 38.6 million people with those two most common mental health disorders received at least two prescriptions for opioids during a year. And more than half the prescriptions for the powerful, highly addictive painkillers went to individuals in that group, the researchers asserted. Via Washington Post.
U.S. Panel Considers Giving a Nod to New Vaccine, and a Competitor Objects
If you want to avoid shingles—a condition that comes with a painful rash—there is a vaccine available. But studies have shown that protection generated by the vaccine declines quickly. A new vaccine, however, is being considered for approval, and if and when the Food and Drug Administration gives it the green light, it may hit the market with a highly desirable preferential rating from an influential panel of vaccine experts. The panel is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which makes recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine use in the United States. And a working group set up to advise the ACIP on this upcoming vaccine reported that a majority of its members think ACIP should indicate it is preferable to a competitor that is already on the market. Via STAT.
Mayo Clinic News
New Research Finds Three Ways to Reduce Dementia Risk
A new report suggests that cognitive training, blood-pressure management for people with hypertension, and increased physical activity could be beneficial to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. "We should always be open and honest with patients and the general public, so we can not tell people that by doing this, they will prevent cognitive decline. At present, there are no pharmacologic or lifestyle inventions that will prevent mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease," said Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., an Alzheimer's expert at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was part of the committee, according to NBC News. Via Newburgh Gazette.
Our Gut Talks and Sometimes Argues with our Brain. Now, We Know How.
Scientists finally have a better idea why certain meals send you running for the bathroom. The discovery provides insight into the connection between your gut and brain and may point toward new therapies for intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. "There is really a gut skin cell that sits there and fires action potential like a nerve cell," said Arthur Beyder, M.D., Ph.D., who studies enterochromaffin (or EC) cells at Mayo Clinic. "It's like a Morse code . . . . They're communicating." The fact that these cells are activated by adrenaline means the brain is in touch with the gut, as well. But, we don't know why. "It could be communicating with the microbiome," Dr. Beyder suggested. Via Washington Post.
Study Says Breastfeeding Could Lower Mom's Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke
In the observational study, researchers analyzed data on 289,573 women in China and found that those who breastfeed were almost 10% less likely to develop heart disease and stroke than mothers who said they had never breastfed. The study found that there was an even lower risk for those who breastfed their babies for two years or more. While there is a lot of research about the positive effects of breastfeeding for babies, ranging from strengthened immune systems to fewer allergies, there isn't as much research on the effects on mothers, according to Lori Blauwet, M.D., Director of the Cardio-OB Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Via USA Today.
Best Children’s Hospitals 2017: 3 MN Facilities Make U.S News Rankings
U.S. News and World Report released its annual rankings of the best children’s hospitals in the country, highlighting hospitals across 10 pediatric specialties. Three Minnesota hospitals—Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, both in Minneapolis, and Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester—made the best children’s hospitals rankings. Via Patch.
Discovery’s Edge: Mayo Researchers to Locate in Discovery Square
Scientists from three Mayo Clinic research areas will be the first tenants of Discovery Square, the technology centerpiece of Destination Medical Center, the economic development initiative underway in Rochester, Minnesota. Biomedical technology, advanced manufacturing of regenerative products, and advance diagnostics are the collaborative areas that will occupy 30,000 square feet over several floors of this initial building. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.