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.
As Scarlet Fever Cases Rise, Baffled Researchers Investigate
The age-old killer scarlet fever is on the rise in England and East Asia, according to research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, and investigators don't know why. "Whilst current rates (in England) are nowhere near those seen in the early 1900s, the magnitude of the recent upsurge is greater than any documented in the last century," said study author Theresa Lamagni of Public Health England, the agency that funded the analysis. "Whilst notifications so far for 2017 suggest a slight decrease in numbers, we continue to monitor the situation carefully and research continues to further investigate the rise." Identified by a bright red rash that looks and feels like sandpaper, scarlet fever is a highly contagious disease caused by the same bacteria behind strep throat, group A Streptococcus pyogenes. Via CNN.
Should Hospitals Be Punished for Post-Surgical Patients' Opioid Addiction?
Now, a handful of doctors and hospital administrators are asking, if an opioid addiction starts with a prescription after surgery or some other hospital-based care, should the hospital be penalized? As in: Is addiction a medical error along the lines of some hospital-acquired infections? Writing for the blog and journal Health Affairs, three physician-executives with the Hospital Corporation of America argue for calling it just that. "It arises during a hospitalization, is a high-cost and high-volume condition, and could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines," write Drs. Michael Schlosser, Ravi Chari, and Jonathan Perlin. Via NPR.
Updated Estimates Suggest a Much Higher Prevalence of Arthritis in U.S. Adults Than Previous Ones
National estimates of arthritis prevalence relies on a single survey question about doctor-diagnosed arthritis without using survey information on joint symptoms, even though some subjects with only the latter have been shown to have arthritis. The sensitivity of the current surveillance definition is only 53% and 69% in subjects 45–64 and ≥65 years of age, respectively, resulting in misclassification of nearly half and one-third of subjects in those age groups. We aimed to estimate arthritis prevalence based on an expansive surveillance definition, that is also adjusted for the measurement errors in the current definition. Via Wiley Library.
Nearly Half of U.S. Cancer Deaths Blamed on Unhealthy Behavior
A new look at cancer in the U.S. finds that nearly half of cancer deaths are caused by smoking, poor diet, and other unhealthy behaviors. That’s less than commonly cited estimates from more than 35 years ago, a result of new research methods and changes in American society. Smoking rates have plummeted, for example, while obesity rates have risen dramatically. The study found that 45% of cancer deaths and 42% of diagnosed cancer cases could be attributed to what the authors call “modifiable” risk factors. These are risks that are not inherited and mostly the result of behavior that can be changed, like exposure to sun, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, drinking alcohol, and, most importantly, smoking. Via STAT.
Come for a New Hip, Stay for SeaWorld? San Diego Bets on Medical Tourism
It’s got sun, sand, top-flight biomedical research, and highly rated hospitals. But can San Diego really become a hub for medical tourism? City leaders sure hope so. They recently launched a marketing initiative—funded mostly by a local philanthropist—that aims to to attract patients from across the country and around the world. The pitch: Get your hip replaced or your cancer treated by top specialists—and then take your family to Legoland or SeaWorld. Via STAT.
Mayo Clinic News
Mayo Clinic Releases Details on Generose Building Expansion
The sounds of construction are about to echo through Saint Marys. The Generose Building is about to double, going straight up. This was originally announced back in March of 2017 when the Board of Trustees approved $217 million for modernization of the campus. Now, blueprints and analysis documents have been sent to the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department where they are currently being reviewed. What the current 29-page collection of plans, maps, drawings and documentation indicates, is a three floor addition to the now three-floor Generose Building. It will be a 150,000 square foot increase. According to Mayo Clinic, half of the new space will be home to a consolidated physical medicine and rehabilitation space. Via KTTC.
Mayo Clinic Launches New Neuro Test That Distinguishes IDDs from Multiple Sclerosis
Mayo Clinic has launched a first-in-the-U.S. clinical test that will help patients who recently have been diagnosed with an inflammatory demyelinating disease (IDD) but may be unsure of the exact disorder. Neurologic-related diseases commonly affect the brain, optic nerves, and the spinal cord, and this new test can distinguish other IDDs such as neuromyelitis optica, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, optic neuritis, and transverse myelitis from multiple sclerosis (MS). "From our years of research, we have learned that if patients test positive for MOG antibodies, it generally indicates that it's not classical MS," says Sean Pittock, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and Director of the Mayo Clinic Neuroimmunology Laboratory. "And, more important, some MS treatments have been reported to worsen the disease of patients diagnosed with an IDD that is not classical MS." Via News-medical.net.
Mayo Clinic Study Looks at Aging Neurosurgeons
A recent Mayo Clinic proceedings study found that most neurosurgeons don't believe there should be an age cutoff, but half of the neurosurgeons in the study favored something else like testing once they reach of the age of 65. "In our little world of neurosurgery, most of what we do is fairly high stakes," said Fredric Meyer, M.D., Enterprise Chair of Neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic. The study looks at neurosurgeons who work on the brain, spine or any part of the central nervous system. Around 1,500 neurosurgeons took part in the survey about challenges facing the aging surgeon. Via KAAL.
Study Finds No Evidence That Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm
"It's estimated that approximately 400 million doses of gadolinium have been administered since 1988," said the study's lead author, Robert J. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D., neuroradiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Gadolinium contrast material is used in 40% to 50% of MRI scans performed today." Scientists previously believed gadolinium contrast material could not cross the blood-brain barrier, the semipermeable membrane that selectively filters materials from the bloodstream from entering extracellular fluid in the brain and central nervous system. However, recent studies, including one from Dr. McDonald and colleagues, found that traces of gadolinium could be retained in the brain for years after an MRI. Via Medical Xpress.
Mayo Clinic Minute: Advancing Technology Making Type 1 Diabetes Management Easier
People with Type 1 diabetes can't produce insulin on their own, which used to mean a lifetime of getting poked with needles constantly to check blood sugar levels and inject insulin. But fast-advancing technology has led to artificial pancreas systems that can be implanted in the body, making the lives of people with Type 1 diabetes much easier and far less painful. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.