Week In Review — April 18

The Week In Review provides an overview of the past week's top healthcare content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news and upcoming events.

Striking a nerve: Bungling the Cannabis story 

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right? But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.Via MedPage Today. 

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Should drug firms make payments to doctors?

Gifts and payments to US doctors from drug firms are seen by some as encouraging unnecessary prescriptions. Do such transfers make any difference and will President Obama's healthcare reform help, by forcing companies to disclose them? Prescribe enough drugs and - as detailed in 1974 Senate hearings - a doctor could accumulate points to exchange for a wide range of consumer desirables - colour TVs, watches, microwave ovens, lawnmowers, golf clubs. Via BBC.

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Sebelius: Health care launch 'terribly flawed'

The Obama administration's timeline for having ready the new health care law's online sign-up system "was just flat out wrong," outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that aired Sunday. The departing health chief also said the two months when healthcare.gov was plagued with technical problems were "a pretty dismal time" and the low point of her five-year tenure. But she defended the law's impact and said millions of Americans now have access to health care because of it. Via Associated Press.

Blood test aims to predict breast cancer's return

A new blood test may one day help predict the recurrence of breast cancer and also a woman's response to breast cancer treatment, researchers report. "We are able to do this with literally a spoonful of serum [blood]," said study co-author Saraswati Sukumar, who is co-director of the breast cancer program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. Via HealthDay

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For vegetative patients, a brain scan may detect hope of recovery 

Developing a test that could foretell the long-term outcome of a stricken patient has proved elusive. But a new study finds that scans that look for signs of metabolic activity in certain regions of the brain can improve prediction. The latest research, published Tuesday in the journal Lancet, tracked for at least a year 102 unconscious subjects, assessing them initially by brain scan, bedside examination and a complex diagnostic test to measure impairments of consciousness. Via LA Times.

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Friday declared "Donate Life" Day in Rochester

Friday afternoon officials gathered at the Gift of Life Transplant House to raise a flag in support of organ donation, and Mayor Ardell Brede was on hand to proclaim the day "Donate Life Day." April is national Donate Life month, and Friday dozens dressed in blue and green gathered in the lawn at Gift of Life to support the cause. Mayo Clinic alone has more than 3,000 patients on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and every day an average of 18 people die in America waiting for a transplant. Via KTTC.

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Proton-beam centers sprout despite evidence drought

Widespread construction of expensive proton-beam therapy centers is galloping ahead, despite warnings from insurers and policy experts who decry the lack of evidence proving that the costly treatment produces better outcomes in prostate cancer patients, its most frequent use… Other centers such as the Mayo Clinic, which plans to open proton centers in Arizona and Minnesota within the next two years, will not treat low-risk prostate cancer patients. Mayo anticipates that up to 15% of its proton patients will be men with immediate-risk or high-risk prostate cancer, however.  “We had never planned on treating early stage prostate-cancer patients,” said Dr. Robert Foote, chairman of radiation oncology for Mayo. “A lot of those men don't need any treatment at all.” Via Modern Healthcare.

Mayo launches new app to reach patients worldwide

Mayo Clinic is expanding its reach to anyone at any time of day, as long as they have a smartphone. That reach is now possible through a new iPhone app called "Better.” It's a tool that has all sorts of health guidance from Mayo Clinic, including access to your very own personal health assistant… "For 150 years, Mayo has provided the highest quality of health care, we now want to be able to scale that knowledge so that we can reach anyone, anywhere at any time,” said Dr. Paul Limburg, Mayo Clinic. Via KAAL.

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French lab loses SARS vials

In the United States, SARS as a whole virus is considered a “select agent,” meaning it has the “potential to pose a severe threat to both human and animal health, to plant health, or to animal and plant products,” according to CDC. Its symptoms start out seeming like the flu with a fever and chills, but within a week they progress to a higher fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic. Via ABC News.

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Mayo Clinic mobile exhibit kicks off Monday

Mayo Clinic kicks off a free, mobile 150th-anniversary tour Monday in Kingman, Ariz., at Kingman Regional Medical Center, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The exhibit is scheduled to visit more than 40 communities in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado, California, North Dakota, Washington, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan, along with Washington, D.C., Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada. Via Post-Bulletin

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Dr. Philip Fischer: Good Samaritan Kidney Donor


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Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.

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