Week in Review: Nov. 3

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

Alarms Raised Over Rising Concussion Rates Among Young Female Soccer Players

A Star Tribune survey of Twin Cities coaches, which drew 52 responses, showed that about 5 percent of varsity girls’ soccer players suffered concussions the past two seasons. That’s an increase from the 3 percent concussion rate girls’ soccer showed in the 2014-15 school year, in a study published by the Minnesota Department of Health. Several teams with rosters of about 20 players reported having three or four concussions this season. New Prague, St. Paul Johnson, and St. Croix Lutheran were among the schools that have had at least six players suffer concussions over the past two seasons. National studies show concussions are a significantly bigger threat for girls’ soccer players than boys’ soccer players, with the girls’ game generating football-like brain injury numbers. Via Star Tribune.

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Soy Might Be Good For Your Heart but It’s Not Definite, FDA Says

Is soy good for your heart? The Food and Drug Administration says it’s not so clear-cut, and proposed to revoke the claim that soy protein can prevent heart disease. That doesn’t mean soy is not good for your heart, or that it doesn’t have a range of other benefits, the FDA said. And food makers could possibly make what’s known as a “qualified” claim — meaning there is some evidence that soy is good for your heart. Soybean oil may still carry a qualified claim. But there’s just not enough evidence to say straight up that eating soy protein helps your heart, the agency said. Via NBC News.

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Brain Patterns May Predict People At Risk of Suicide

People who are thinking about killing themselves appear to have distinctive brain activity that can now be measured by a computer. In these people, words like "death" and "trouble" produce a distinctive "neural signature" not found in others, scientists report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. More than 44,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. each year. "There really is a difference in the way [suicidal] people think about certain concepts," says Marcel Just, an author of the paper and the D.O. Hebb professor of cognitive neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University. That difference allowed a computer program to distinguish people who thought about suicide from people who did not, more than 90 percent of the time. It also allowed the computer program to distinguish people who had attempted suicide from people who had only thought about it. Via NPR.

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NBC Expects More Than $1 Billion in Ad Sales from Super Bowl, Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal projected it would take in more than $1 billion in ad revenue from its broadcasts of Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea, both of which are set to be telecast next February, a remarkable sign of confidence in advertiser interest in both sports events. The Comcast-owned company currently expects to snare around $350 million in ad revenue from the Super Bowl, said Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of ad sales for NBC Sports Group, and anticipates getting a revenue increase in the “low double digits” percentage range above the approximately $800 million it secured from its coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. Via Variety.

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Mass. General Dilemma: Separate Conjoined Twins To Save One, or Let Both Die?

The East African twins were born conjoined into a sort of a Y shape: They had separate heads and torsos, but they were connected lower down, at the abdomen and the pelvis. They shared a liver and a bladder and other lower-body organs, and had just three legs in all. And one of them, "Twin A," had heart and lung disease so serious that she was likely to die soon — and kill her sister in the process. "So if we do nothing, we know they will both die, probably in the next few weeks to months," said Dr. Brian Cummings, chair of the pediatric ethics committee at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. And "if we act, we'll be able to save one sister from dying, but one will die in that act." This was the thorny ethical dilemma that doctors at the hospital grappled with last year and now describe in a case report in The New England Journal of Medicine. Via WBUR.

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Mayo Clinic News

Health Care Leaders Discuss Solutions to Industry Issue

The opioid crisis was one of the main topics addressed at U.S. News & World Report's annual Healthcare of Tomorrow Conference, where leaders met in Washington to discuss the industry's most pressing issues. In order to address the problem, the leaders said health care experts must deliver alternative solutions for their patients to deal with chronic pain, and doctors must follow the same guidelines in their prescription practices. "We need evidence-based approaches to see what works [in treating chronic pain]," said Dr. Wyatt Decker, Mayo Clinic's vice president and chief executive officer of the organization's clinic in Arizona. In order to discover the best treatment options, Mayo created three chronic pain treatment centers in a few of its flagship hospital centers, according to Dr. Decker. Via U.S. News & World Report.

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More Than 80 Million Americans Have This Deadly Disease, and Many Don't Even Know It

As American waistlines continue to expand, a lesser-known obesity-related disease is quickly becoming more common. In fact, in its most serious form, the disease is estimated to become the leading cause for liver transplants by 2020, outpacing even hepatitis C. It's known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions that, as the name implies, affects people who drink little to no alcohol yet have more than 5 percent of their liver made up of fat cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, NAFLD affects an estimated 80 million to 100 million Americans. Via CNBC.

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Noseworthy: When Mayo Thrives, Patients and Communities Do As Well

For more than 150 years, the city of Rochester has attracted presidents and kings, farmers, and teachers from all 50 states and more than 140 countries seeking hope and healing at Mayo Clinic. There is no other world-class medical center that has had the privilege of being located in a mid-sized city over the course of three centuries. While growing a destination medical center in southeastern Minnesota presents challenges, Rochester is a remarkable place because of our enduring collaborations. We at Mayo Clinic are not alone in our mission of healing. The people of Rochester and neighboring communities are our indispensable partners, welcoming and caring for visitors at the most vulnerable times in their lives. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Underutilized Test May Improve Treatment Decisions, Outcomes in Colon Cancer

Many patients with colon cancer do not receive a blood test that potentially could alter their treatment decisions and improve survival outcomes, according to study results. “The decision to give a patient chemotherapy after surgery is not a light one, and physicians must weigh the risks and benefits,” Kellie L. Mathis, M.D., colon and rectal surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a press release. “We are currently using the blood test to help make these difficult decisions, and we suggest other physicians do the same.” The carcinoembryonic antigen test measures the level of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in the blood. Higher levels of CEA are found with certain cancer types, particularly colon and rectal cancers. Via Healio.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Find Genetic Pathways to Individualized Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine have uncovered genetic clues to why tumors resist a specific therapy used for treating advanced prostate cancer. This discovery can guide health care providers to individualized treatments for castration-resistant prostate cancer, a deadly disease that does not respond to standard hormone therapy. Several U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved therapies are available for castration-resistant prostate cancer, but the treatments affect each patient differently. 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.