What’s New in Health Care Reform: Aug. 29

What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.

Almost One in 20 U.S. Adults Now Use e-Cigarettes

Roughly 10.8 million American adults are currently using e-cigarettes, and more than half of them are under 35 years old, a U.S. study suggests. One in three e-cigarette users are vaping daily, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic Honors the Service, Friendship of Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain passed away on Saturday, August 25, at the age of 81 at his home in Arizona. The news led to tributes and condolences from across the globe in memory of the senator who touched the lives of countless people. In response to this news, John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic's President and CEO, and Wyatt Decker, M.D., Vice President, Mayo Clinic, issued the following statements to honor his service and friendship in support of Mayo Clinic. Via Mayo Clinic.

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Firms Stop Kid-Friendly Packaged e-Cigarette Liquids Sales after FDA Push

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that all 17 companies that were warned by the regulator have stopped marketing e-cigarette liquids packaged similar to child-friendly products such as juice boxes, candy, or cookies. Via Reuters.

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Life Expectancy Declines Seen in U.S. and Other High-Income Countries

Life expectancy is declining in high-income countries worldwide, driven in part by the effects of the opioid epidemic on younger adults in the U.S. and the impact of a severe flu season on older adults in other nations, two new studies suggest. Via Reuters.

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Breastfeeding Linked to Lower Stroke Risk

Breastfeeding may protect a woman from stroke later in life, and the benefit appears to increase with the length of time she nurses, a U.S. study suggests. Postmenopausal women who said they breastfed at least one child had a 23% lower risk of stroke in middle and old age compared with women who had children but didn’t breastfeed, researchers found. The effect was strongest among black women, whose stroke risk was cut nearly in half with breastfeeding. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among U.S. women aged 65 or older and the third-leading cause among Hispanic and black women in that age group, the study’s authors note in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Via Reuters.

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Ken Burns Mayo Film to Premiere Sept. 10 in Rochester

Ken Burns' documentary film about Mayo Clinic will have its world premiere Sept. 10 at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. This will be the first time the full film, "Mayo Clinic: Faith-Hope-Science," will be screened for the general public. It will air on PBS stations September 25, with a rebroadcast September 26. The premiere is at 7 p.m. in Taylor Arena at the civic center. Following the film, Burns, co-directors Erik and Christopher Loren Ewers, and Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, will participate in a panel discussion. Via Post-Bulletin.

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There's "No Safe Level of Alcohol," Major New Study Concludes

While some medical studies—and a great deal of media attention—have focused on possible health benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation, a large new report warns that the harms of alcohol greatly outweigh any potential beneficial effects. The authors of the study, which looks at data on 28 million people worldwide, determined that considering the risks, there is "no safe level of alcohol." Alcohol is associated with 2.8 million deaths worldwide each year, the researchers found in the study, which is published in the journal The Lancet. Just over 2% of women and nearly 7% of men worldwide die from alcohol-related health problems each year. Regular alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on the body's organs and tissues, while binge drinking can lead to injuries or alcohol poisoning. Alcohol dependence can lead to self-harm or violence. Via CBS News.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Find Some Bacteria Derail Weight Loss, Suggest Analysis of Individuals’ Microbiomes; a Clinical Lab Test Could Help Millions Fight Obesity

In recent years, the role of the human microbiome in weight loss or weight gain has been studied by different research groups. There is keen interest in this subject because of the high rates of obesity, and diagnostic companies know that development of a clinical laboratory test that could assess how an individual’s microbiome affects his/her weight would be a high-demand test. This is true of a study published this year in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Researchers at Mayo Clinic looked at obese patients who were in an active lifestyle intervention program designed to help them lose weight. It was determined that gut microbiota can have a role in both hindering weight loss and supporting weight loss. Via Dark Daily.

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FDA Pushes for Development of Non-Opioid Pain Medications

The Food and Drug Administration is planning new steps to encourage the development of nonaddictive alternatives to opioid pain medications, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview. As part of the effort, the agency plans to withdraw its existing 2014 guidance to the drug industry on pain medicines. That document is overly broad, Gottlieb said, and is sometimes a barrier to new products and innovations. The current guidelines call for a large number of studies to get FDA approval for general use for chronic pain, he added. Via Washington Post.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surge for 4th Straight Year, CDC Reports

New cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis spiked nearly 10 percent in 2017, continuing a four-year trend of rising sexually transmitted diseases fueled by a lack of awareness and changing sexual behavior, federal health officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 2.29 million new cases of these three common yet treatable sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in 2017. Via USA Today.

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Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.