Week in Review: Sept. 7


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

What Kills 5 Million People a Year? It's Not Just Disease

In the global health world, giving people access to health care—even if they're just basic services—has long been a top priority. But what if that approach is wrong? A new report published in The Lancet finds that when it comes to health, quality—not quantity—seems to be more important. The study estimates that 5 million people die every year because of poor-quality health care in low- and middle-income countries. That's significantly more than the 3.6 million people in those countries who die from not having access to care. It's also 5 times more than annual deaths from HIV/AIDS (1 million) and 3 times more than diabetes (1.4 million) in the same countries—although, of course, poor health care for these conditions can also be fatal. Via NPR.

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Hospitals Are Fed up with Drug Companies, So They’re Starting Their Own

A group of major American hospitals, battered by price spikes on old drugs and long-lasting shortages of critical medicines, has launched a mission-driven, not-for-profit generic drug company, Civica Rx, to take some control over the drug supply. Backed by seven large health systems and three philanthropic groups, the new venture will be led by an industry insider who refuses to draw a salary. Via Washington Post.

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Doctor Burnout Likely to Impair Care

"Health care organizations have a duty to invest in large-scale coordinated strategies to reduce burnout in physicians," said lead researcher Maria Panagioti. She is a senior research fellow at the University of Manchester in England. "Failure to mitigate burnout puts patient safety and the wider efficiency of health care at risk." Any given doctor is as likely as not to be suffering from burnout. More than half of U.S. doctors report symptoms of burnout, according to a poll published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Signs include emotional exhaustion, de-personalization, and reduced feelings of personal achievement. This new study represents the largest effort to date to assess whether burnout affects the quality of care patients receive, Panagioti said. Via HealthDay.

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Early Menopause in 64% of Young Lung Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy-induced menopause occurs in more than half of young women treated for lung cancer, according to the first-ever study on amenorrhea rates in women younger than 50 years. "Chemotherapy for lung cancer patients appears to increase risk of early loss of menses in survivors," conclude the authors, led by Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, M.D., a medical oncology fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Treatment-related amenorrhea is a surrogate for infertility and early menopause, they explain. The study was published online August 27 in Menopause. Via Medscape.

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Later Breakfast, Earlier Dinner Might Help You Shed Body Fat

The meal schedule in this study is a form of intermittent fasting, said Grace Fjeldberg, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic Health System. This "has become an increasingly popular trend to support weight loss," she said. "Everyone is looking for quick ways to support weight loss and improve overall health, and eating fewer times throughout the day often produces a deficit in calories and ultimately weight loss," Fjeldberg explained. But Fjeldberg warned that quick weight loss through fasting might not necessarily lead to better health and long-term reduced weight. "Hunger and stress hormones can spike with prolonged periods of fasting, and for some this may mean increased portions in the few meals that are eaten throughout the day and potentially higher calories," Fjeldberg said. Via U.S. News & World Report.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Clinic to Expand Florida Campus with $144 Million Project

Mayo Clinic will expand its Florida campus with two building projects worth $144 million in an effort to increase its patient surgery, treatment and parking accommodations, officials said. Once completed, Mayo's Jacksonville campus will have a new parking garage and a new five-story, 120,000-square-foot medical building that will connect to the campus' Mayo and Cannaday buildings. The medical building will be completed in 2021 and feature eight operating rooms plus space for cardiology, gastroenterology and hepatology departments. The parking garage will be completed in 2020 and will include a two story "connector" building with 25,000 square feet for retail and other uses. Via Star Tribune.

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Mayo Clinic Announces $800 Million Worth of Projects in Arizona, Florida

Mayo Clinic announced nearly $800 million in building projects at its two non-Minnesota campuses, in Jacksonville, Florida, and Phoenix. The Rochester, Minnesota-based health giant's plans in Arizona will nearly double the size of its Phoenix campus—paving the way for 2,000 more jobs in a market where it already employs 6,500 people at its north Phoenix hospital campus and its Scottsdale education/research campus. Plans are so preliminary that the nonprofit health system has yet to issue requests for proposals for an architect and general contractor, said Wyatt Decker, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Vice President of its overall operations. The project will be financed by a combination of internal operations, philanthropy and a bond issue, Dr. Decker said. "We are prepared to finance it all internally," Dr. Decker said. "We are confident of that. We'll look at debt financing and doing some fundraising to augment our own internal funds." Via Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

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Dietary Supplement in Sports Drinks May Control Growth of HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

A team of scientists has found that cyclocreatine, a dietary supplement, may block an avenue for growth for HER2-positive breast cancers. The findings, outlined in a study published August 30 in Cell Metabolism, helped develop a treatment method that reduced cancer growth without toxicity in mice. “The HER2 receptor tyrosine kinase, which functions as an ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch in cellular functions, is a key driver of breast cancer, and is overexpressed in about a quarter of all breast cancers,” said corresponding author Taro Hitosugi, Ph.D., a pharmacologist at Mayo Clinic, in a prepared statement. “While drugs such as trastuzumab improved outcomes for some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, some tumors are or may become resistant to this drug.” Via Radiology Business.

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The Best Sport for a Longer Life? Try Tennis

Playing tennis and other sports that are social might add years to your life, according to a new epidemiological study of Danish men and women. The study found that adults who reported frequently participating in tennis or other racket and team sports lived longer than people who were sedentary. But they also lived longer than people who took part in reliably healthy but often solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling. For the new study, which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, these same researchers decided to widen their inquiry and look at a variety of sports and their associations with life and premature death. To start, they turned to the same data resource they had used for the jogging study, the Copenhagen City Heart Study, an ambitious, ongoing attempt to track the lives and health of thousands of men and women in Copenhagen. Via NY Times.

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Mayo Clinic Joins Hospitals to Launch a Not-for-Profit Generic Drug Company

Mayo Clinic joins a coalition of seven hospitals in launching Civica Rx, a not-for-profit generic drug company that will help patients by addressing shortages and high prices of lifesaving medications. The company, which is organized as a Delaware non-stock, not-for-profit corporation, will be headquartered in Utah. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories.