Week in Review: Sept. 29

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

Wanted: 1 Million People to Study Genes, Habits, and Health

In a quest to end cookie-cutter health care, U.S. researchers are getting ready to recruit more than 1 million people for an unprecedented study to learn how our genes, environments, and lifestyles interact—and to finally customize ways to prevent and treat disease. Why does one sibling get sick but not another? Why does a drug cure one patient but only cause nasty side effects in the next? Finding out is a tall order. Today, diseases typically are treated based on what worked best in short studies of a few hundred or thousand patients. "We depend on the average, the one-size-fits-all approach because it's the best we've got," said Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. Via U.S. News & World Report.

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New STD Cases in U.S. Set Record High in 2016: CDC Report

New U.S. cases of three common sexually transmitted diseases—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—reached more than 2 million in 2016, a new record, U.S. health officials said, prompting calls for more effective prevention efforts. Most of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, which comprised 1.6 million cases. But there were also nearly a half million (470,000) new gonorrhea cases and nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, according to an annual report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Via Reuters.

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The Post-Antibiotic Era Is Here. Now What?

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is both natural and inevitable. By the luck of the draw, a few bacteria will have genes that protect them from drugs, and they’ll pass those genes around—not just to their progeny, but sometimes to their neighbors, too. Now, computational epidemiologists are finally getting the data and processing to model that phenomenon. But no one’s using these tools to predict the end of the antibiotic era—because it’s already here. Instead, they’re focusing their efforts on understanding how soon resistant bacteria could be in the majority, and what, if anything, doctors can do to stop them. Via Wired.

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The Shorter Your Sleep, the Shorter Your Life: The New Sleep Science

Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: Not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.” Via The Guardian.

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Pregnant Women Should Still Get the Flu Vaccine, Doctors Advise

Flu symptoms can be more severe when you're pregnant, landing women in the hospital, threatening their lives and even leading to preterm birth or miscarriage. The virus is a risk to the woman and the baby. So, it's particularly important that people who are pregnant get the flu vaccine. And it's also important that the effects of those vaccines be studied in pregnant women. But research doesn't always turn up the information you're expecting, which is what happened last week when a study was published that found an association between the flu vaccine and early-term miscarriage in some women. Via NPR.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Clinic Researchers Control Hunger Hormone, Stopping Obesity in Mice

Mayo Clinic scientists have shown that injections of a hunger hormone blocker in mice can halt the typical weight gain after dieting and help prevent rebound obesity in the long term. The research findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We think this approach—combined reduction of calories and hormone─may be a highly successful strategy for long-term weight control,” says W. Stephen Brimijoin, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular pharmacologist and senior author of the article. “Given the growing obesity crisis worldwide, we are working hard to validate our findings for medical intervention.” Via South Florida Reporter.

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ERs Prescribing Opioids at Lower Doses, Shorter Durations

The study, led by scientists at Mayo Clinic, challenges views that emergency departments are the main source of prescriptions for the powerful painkillers whose use—and misuse—has soared in recent years. The research also suggests that patients who get an opioid prescription—such as for oxycodone (OxyContin)—during an ER visit are less likely to abuse the drugs over the long term. "There are a few things that many people assume about opioids, and one is that, in the emergency department, they give them out like candy," said the study's lead author, Molly Jeffery, Ph.D. She is the scientific director of the Mayo Clinic Division of Emergency Medicine Research, in Rochester, Minnesota. Via HealthDay.

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Transform Conference Seeks to Change Health Experiences

The goal of the Mayo Clinic TRANSFORM conference is to think about how to change the experience of health for people. Participants focus not so much on things like health insurance and administrative aspects but more about the human experience of becoming healthy and enjoying health. "For example, a mother with diabetes might not think about health as being perfect numbers for blood sugar and blood pressure, but she really thinks about health as being able to be that perfect mother, if you will, being able to take care of her children, meet the needs of the family, and if she works, being able to do a good job at work as well," said Douglas Wood, M.D., Director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation. Via KTTC.

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Experimental Mayo Clinic MS Antibody Gets Patent Nod

Mayo Clinic and corporate partner Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., which has been working on a novel drug targeting an underlying cause of multiple sclerosis, were granted patent protection on their antibody known as rHIgM22, four years after the start of early-stage clinical trials. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent to Mayo and New York-based Acorda (Nasdaq: ACOR) on September 5, listing among its inventors renowned Mayo multiple sclerosis researcher Moses Rodriguez, M.D. Via Twin Cities Business.

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FDA Approves Advanced Cancer Detection Imaging at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix

This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a cyclotron facility at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, paving the way for a sophisticated imaging agent to detect medical conditions at early stages. 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.