Week in Review: July 27

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

Pediatricians Raise Concern about Health Effects of Some Food Coloring, Additives

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that chemicals in food additives like food coloring and preservatives are bad for children and that parents should limit their exposure to processed foods, according to a new study published by the group this week. The report, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, also said that parents should avoid heating up food in plastic containers because the chemicals released can be harmful to children. The report looked at research into chemicals used to treat packaging for food products, like BPA, which is used in resin coatings that prevent metal corrosion, and chemicals called PFCs that are used to waterproof paper or cardboard. Via ABC News.

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Sanford Health to Build Heart and Vascular Center as Part of $200M Expansion

Sanford Health will build a 100,000-square-foot center for heart and vascular care as part of a broader $200 million expansion plan, the health system said. The Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based organization will construct the facility near its one-year-old Sanford Medical Center Fargo. The nonprofit expects to break ground on the new center within three years. The project is part of a broader 10-year plan that also calls for investments in clinics and remodeling of the emergency department at the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Sanford also plans to start offering bone marrow transplants at the cancer center. In addition, Sanford plans to turn its South University Medical Center campus in Fargo into a standalone hospital and clinic providing orthopedic and sports-medicine care. It also will open 18 more hospital rooms at the Sanford Medical Center. Via Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

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Tight Blood Pressure Control Can Cut Memory Loss, Study Finds

Lowering blood pressure to recommended levels can prevent dementia and the memory and thinking problems that often show up first, researchers reported. People whose top blood pressure reading was taken down to 120 were 19% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, the loss of memory and brain processing power that usually precedes Alzheimer’s, the study found. And they were 15% less likely to eventually develop cognitive decline and dementia. “This is really exciting,” said Heather Snyder, senior director of medical operations for the Alzheimer’s Association. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the association in Chicago. Via NBC News.

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U.S. "Most Dangerous" Place to Give Birth in Developed World, USA Today Investigation Finds

A USA Today investigation finds the United States is the "most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world." Every year in the U.S., more than 50,000 mothers are severely injured during or after childbirth and 700 die. USA Today's investigation, "Deadly Deliveries," claims women are dying and suffering life-altering injuries during childbirth because hospitals are not following long-known safety measures. Maternal death in the United States has been steadily rising. The U.S. now has the highest rate in the developed world. USA Today conducted a four-year investigation into the nation's hospital maternity wards and spoke to several families who lost loved ones and to women who were permanently harmed during their deliveries. Via CBS News.

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Pepperidge Farm Recalls Goldfish Crackers Amid Salmonella Scare

The snack that smiles back is at the center of some frown-worthy news. Pepperidge Farm announced a voluntary recall of four varieties of Goldfish crackers in a press release on Monday. An ingredient supplier notified Pepperidge Farm that a whey powder used in the crackers' seasoning might be contaminated with salmonella bacteria, according to the release. The company has since taken precautions by notifying consumers to discard or return products for a refund. The affected flavors include: Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar, and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel. Via NPR.

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Mayo Clinic News

Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Significantly Slowed Patients’ Cognitive Decline, Buoying Hopes for Treatment

The Phase 2 trial, which employed multiple statistical measures, failed its primary goal. Four doses of BAN2401 didn’t outperform placebo, and the high dose was tested on just 161 patients. Furthermore, the metric Biogen and Eisai used to measure mental acuity is a homegrown composite that has never before been used to win Food and Drug Administration approval. “I’ll remain cautiously optimistic,” said Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “I think the data are intriguing. The effect sizes sound reasonable, the drug seems safe, and on the biological side of it, the drug seems to be working.” But, he added, “You’d really want to see a Phase 3 to replicate those results.” Whether he’ll get one remains an open question. Via STAT.

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Long-Term Follow-Up Shows Tolvaptan Slowed CKD in Patients with Autosomal Dominant PKD

The Mayo Clinic researchers, led by Vincente Torres, M.D., Ph.D., from the division of nephrology and hypertension, reviewed data from 97 patients with ADPKD enrolled in the 3-year Tolvaptan Efficacy and Safety in Management of ADPKD and its Outcomes (TEMPO) 3:4 clinical trial and the 1-year Replicating Evidence of Preserved Renal Function: An Investigation of Tolvaptan Safety and Efficacy in ADPKD trial (REPRISE). Because all patients participating in the clinical trials were given the opportunity of continuing tolvaptan in an open-label extension study, investigators gathered information on the efficacy of tolvaptan during an 11-year period. Kidney function was measured as eGFR. “The results of the study suggest that the effect of tolvaptan on eGFR in patients with ADPKD is sustained, cumulative and consistent with potentially delaying the need of kidney replacement,” Dr. Torres said in the release. Via Healio.

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MNMMC Chooses Mayo Medical Labs

North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) has selected Mayo Medical Laboratories as its primary reference laboratory. The agreement provides NMMC physicians and staff with access to Mayo Clinic’s extensive menu of more than 3,000 laboratory tests in every subspecialty of medicine. NMMC laboratory staff and pathologists will be able to speak directly with Mayo physicians and scientists to review patient test orders and to discuss and interpret results together. Via Tupelo Daily Record.

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Genetic Susceptibility to Pancreatic Cancer Linked to 6 Specific Gene Mutations

A family history of pancreatic cancer is typically a prerequisite for patients to be eligible to have their exome sequenced to reveal the presence or absence of cancer predisposition genes. But researchers from the Mayo Clinic are now calling for the genetic testing of all pancreatic cancer patients, regardless of the existence of the disease across a patient's lineage. Up to 90% of pancreatic cancers are at risk of being missed as a result of current genetic testing guidelines, insists investigators from the Mayo Clinic. They suggest all patients with pancreatic cancer—not just those who are aware of previous instances of disease—should be screened for common germline mutations. Via Oncology Nurse Advisor.

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How to Avoid Foodborne Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people in the U.S. get sick every year from food poisoning, also called foodborne illness. And more than 128,000 Americans are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. 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.