Week in Review: Oct. 6

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

Google Is Putting Its Massive Amount of Health and Disease Data to Use

Consumers flock to Google to learn about health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. In recent years, the search engine has been looking for ways to put its growing volume of health data to use. Google's News Lab, which is designed to help journalists and researchers use Google tools for storytelling and understanding data, introduced a new tool this week specifically focused on health care and disease. On the website "Searching for Health," the lab developed a series of visualizations to show how health-related internet searches map to the actual spread of disease. Studies have found that more than 80% of internet users have searched for a health-related issue online. To ensure that this information is accurate, Google has an active partnership with Mayo Clinic. Via CNBC.

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Doctors to Millennials: Stay Home When You Have the Flu

According to the new survey of 1,800 American adults released by CityMD, millennials (ages 18 to 34) who have had the flu or flu-like symptoms were much more likely than those 35 or older to have ventured out the last time they felt sick, potentially exposing friends, neighbors, and coworkers. About three-quarters of millennials admitted to going out sick, compared to 56% of older adults. Of those who left the house, the most common place they went was a drug store, followed by a grocery store. Nearly 40% said they went to work sick. Smaller numbers went to a family or friend's house, a restaurant or deli, public transportation, and even the gym while they were ill. Via CBS Health.

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"Hypoallergenic" and "Fragrance-Free" Moisturizer Claims Are Often False

“Every single day, I get questions about what moisturizer should I use, what sunscreen should I use," says Dr. Steve Xu, a dermatologist at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. "I found myself really struggling to provide evidence-based recommendations for my patients," he says. So he decided to take on the challenge of figuring out "what's actually in this stuff." Dr. Xu and some of his colleagues at Northwestern examined the ingredients of the top 100 best-selling moisturizers sold by Amazon, Target, and Walmart. And what he found was pretty surprising, he says. Nearly half—45%—of the products in the study that claimed to be "fragrance-free" actually contained some form of fragrance. And the vast majority—83%—of products labeled "hypoallergenic" contained a potentially allergenic chemical. Via NPR.

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Nobel in Physiology, Medicine Awarded to Three Americans for Discovery of "Clock Genes"

In announcing the winner in Stockholm, the prize committee said the men elucidated how a life-form's “inner clock” can fluctuate to optimize our behavior and physiology. “Their discoveries explain how plants, animals, and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth's revolutions.” Working with fruit flies, the scientists isolated a gene that is responsible for a protein that accumulates in the night but is degraded in the day. Misalignments in this clock may play a role in medical conditions and disorders, as well as the temporary disorientation of jet lag that travelers experience when crisscrossing time zones. Via Washington Post Health.

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Cancer: 40% of All Cases Related to Obesity, Overweight

A new report warns about the role of obesity in cancer. As many as 40% of all cancers are related to obesity, according to the new research, which suggests that these cancers would be preventable if weight was kept under control. The report, entitled Vital Signs, was compiled by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with researchers from the National Cancer Institute. Via Medical News Today.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo, Oxford Form Transatlantic Partnership

Mayo Clinic recently announced an ambitious transatlantic partnership that ties together two of the world's elite health care providers. Mayo Clinic, the University of Oxford, and the Oxford University Hospital's NHS Foundation Trust have signed an agreement aimed at improving medical research and patient care for patients across the globe. Mayo's Stephen Cassivi, M.D., a Rochester-based doctor who has served as the medical director of the collaboration for the past year, says it's now time for both sides to "roll up their sleeves" as they work through the remaining logistics of the high-potential relationship. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Talking Value, Culture, and CAR-T with the CMO of Mayo Medical Labs

Curtis Hanson, M.D., is a hematopathologist by trade. But as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Mayo Medical Laboratories at Mayo Clinic, he spends much of his time trying to create value in the health system with smarter, more efficient laboratory testing work. While in Minnesota for the Mayo Clinic’s annual Transform meeting, Healthcare Analytics News™ sat down with Dr. Hanson to discuss the evolving role of CMOs, the culture of the prestigious medical practice and research firm, new and novel treatments like the recently approved Kymriah, and more. This is the first part of that conversation. Via Healthcare Analytics News.

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Symptoms of Dementia: Study Finds Inability to Smell Peppermint Linked to Disease

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, with an annual research budget of around $480 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But the “holy grail” of contemporary dementia research is determining the risk factors that make people more likely to develop the disease, neurologist Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., who directs the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Study of Aging at the Mayo Clinic, tells Newsweek. Risk-factor research is just as important as treatment development, Dr. Petersen says, since the two work together: first detection and then prevention. Once viable pre-dementia medications are found, doctors can use them in the intervention stage, similar to how cholesterol drugs lower heart disease risk. Via Newsweek.

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Stem Cells May Hold the Fix

Precisely how stem-cell therapies work is still being uncovered. What's emerging is a realization that "they teach the body to heal from within," explains Atta Behfar, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist and Director of the Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic. Stem cells delivered into a heart injured by a heart attack don't "serve as the brick and mortar to repair the heart," he says. "It's the proteins and other substances they secrete that tell your body to heal." Via U.S. News & World Report.

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NIH Renews Mayo Clinic’s Clinical and Translational Research Award

The National Institutes of Health has renewed one of Mayo Clinic’s largest government research grants for five more years, ensuring support for clinical and translational research and training through 2022. The grant supports Mayo researchers in translating discoveries to address unmet patient needs, while engaging physicians and scientists at all levels. 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.