Week in Review: Aug. 4

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

In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos

Scientists for the first time have successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation, producing apparently healthy embryos, according to a study published. The research marks a major milestone and, while a long way from clinical use, it raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions. But the achievement is also an example of human genetic engineering, once feared and unthinkable, and is sure to renew ethical concerns that some might try to design babies with certain traits, like greater intelligence or athleticism. Scientists have long feared the unforeseen medical consequences of making inherited changes to human DNA. The cultural implications may be just as disturbing: Some experts have warned that unregulated genetic engineering may lead to a new form of eugenics, in which people with means pay to have children with enhanced traits even as those with disabilities are devalued. Via NY Times.

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Moderate, Heavy Drinkers More Likely to Reach Age 85 Without Dementia, Study Says

Moderate to heavy alcohol drinkers are more likely to reach age 85 without developing dementia and similar cognitive issues when compared to non-drinkers, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego. The research is the latest in a series of studies that observe how factors like genetics, one’s diet and the environment impact the development of dementia. “Moderate and heavy drinkers had 2-fold higher odds of living to age 85 without cognitive impairment relative to non-drinkers,” the study says. Moderate drinking is characterized by consuming up to one alcoholic beverage daily for adult women of any age, as well as men aged 65 and older, according to a UC San Diego statement. Via CBS Denver.

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Global Blindness Set to 'Triple by 2050'

The number of blind people across the world is set to triple within the next four decades, researchers suggest. Writing in Lancet Global Health, they predict cases will rise from 36 million to 115 million by 2050, if treatment is not improved by better funding. A growing ageing population is behind the rising numbers. Some of the highest rates of blindness and vision impairment are in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The percentage of the world's population with visual impairments is actually falling, according to the study. Via BBC.

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AML or Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients With IDH2 Mutations Get New FDA Approved Drug, Idhifa, for Treatment

The FDA approves a new drug for the treatment of AML or acute myeloid leukemia. The Celgene Corp and the Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. have developed the new drug, Idhifa. According to Celgene, the monthly list price of this drug is $24,872. But, the list price doesn't indicate what the patients have to pay actually. The cost that they have to pay from their pocket must be based on the health care insurance plans of an individual and the treatment duration. Patients with AML suffer from the genetic mutation that is very rare. Via Science Times.

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Air Pollution Deaths Expected to Rise Because of Climate Change

New research predicts that air pollution worsened by climate change will cost tens of thousands of lives if changes are not made. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, estimates that if current trends continue, climate change will be responsible for another 60,000 air pollution-related deaths globally in the year 2030. By 2100, that number could jump to 260,000. Previous research has found that some 5.5 million people worldwide already die prematurely due to air pollution. Via CBS News.

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Mayo Clinic News

What Are the Benefits of Coconut Water?

So what is the truth about this trendy beverage, often marketed for its hydrating benefits and praised as a hangover cure? There has been some talk on the Internet that drinking coconut water on an empty stomach in the morning can stimulate metabolism, as well as boost immunity and reduce bad cholesterol. Jason Ewoldt, registered dietitian and wellness dietitian at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, said the research would not support this. "It seems like there's always some new breaking thing that you have to eat in the morning on an empty stomach to help with weight loss or energy or what have you," Ewoldt said. "There's nothing special about coconut water. It's essentially water with some electrolytes, which you could do in the morning by drinking a glass of water and having a banana." Via CNN.

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Students Begin Class at New Metro Phoenix Medical School

Fifty students in Arizona took the first steps of a four-year journey to becoming medical doctors. The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, also called Mayo Med School, began instruction last week at its metro Phoenix campus in Scottsdale. Its inaugural class includes 10 students who from Arizona or with ties to the state. Mayo Med School Interim Dean Dr. Michele Halyard told the school's inaugural class her stress-reliever as a student doctor came in the form of exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Via U.S. News & World Report.

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Confusion After Surgery Linked to Later Dementia in Older People, Study Finds

While earlier studies have showed a relationship between POD and dementia, this is the first to look entirely at subjects who showed no cognitive decline in pre-surgery assessments, said David Warner, an anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the study’s senior author. Further study is needed to determine whether delirium contributes to later cognitive decline or is an indicator of some underlying factor that made people more likely to develop dementia, Warner said. Via Washington Post.

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DMC Corporation Board Approves Discovery Square Phase 1

The Destination Medical Center Corporation Board has approved the first phase of the Discovery Square development project Phase 1 calls for a four-story, 89,000 square-foot building that would be located at the corner of 2nd Avenue Southwest and 4th Street Southwest, according to developer Mortenson Company. The Discovery Square building would serve as a space where doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs can collaborate to improve health care. Officials say the $35 million project would create about 400 short-term jobs and 325 permanent jobs. During a DMC Corporation meeting Thursday morning, the board green-lighted the project to move forward. Via KTTC.

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Mayo Clinic Contributes $28 Billion to U.S. Economy, Creates More Than 167,000 Jobs Nationwide

Mayo Clinic released a societal impact report demonstrating the powerful effect the organization has on medical practice, patients and the American economy. The report ─ a first-of-its-kind study for Mayo Clinic ─ shows that Mayo Clinic contributed $28 billion to the U.S. economy and created 167,000 jobs nationwide through its business expenditures and the employer multiplier effect. 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.