Week in Review: Sept. 21

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

Low-Carb Diet Better When It Includes More Vegetables, Nuts

People who cut back on carbohydrates may end up increasing their risk of premature death if they load their plates with meat and cheese instead of vegetables and nuts, a U.S. study suggests. While previous research has linked low-carbohydrate diets to better success with short-term weight loss and improvements in risk factors for premature death like diabetes, less is known about the long-term outcomes of cutting carbs, or what types of foods people should eat instead for optimal health. For the current study, researchers followed more than 15,000 adults ages 45 to 65 for about 25 years. During this period, 6,283 died. Via Reuters.

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Air Pollutants Found in Mothers' Placentas, New Study Finds

Scientists warn that soot from polluted air is reaching the placenta of pregnant women, possibly harming the health of unborn babies. Tiny carbon particles released by the burning of fossil fuels enter a woman's bloodstream when she breathes polluted air, said a research team at Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom. "Our results provide the first evidence that inhaled pollution particles can move from the lungs into the circulation and then to the placenta," said Dr. Norrice Liu, a pediatrician. "We do not know whether the particles we found could also move across into the fetus, but our evidence suggests that this is indeed possible," Liu said. "We also know that the particles do not need to get into the baby's body to have an adverse effect, because if they have an effect on the placenta, this will have a direct impact on the fetus," Liu added in a news release from the European Respiratory Society. The study involved five pregnant London women scheduled to have C-section deliveries. None smoked and all had uncomplicated pregnancies, which resulted in a healthy baby. After their babies were born, the researchers examined the placenta. Via CBS News.

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Eating Junk Food Tied to Higher Risk of Numerous Cancers

You probably already know that junk food, though delicious, is bad for you. It can have negative health effects such as increasing your risk of heart disease, metabolic disease and even cancer. Now, researchers have used a new nutritional labeling system to tie a diet low in nutritional quality with increased risks of a number of types of cancers. The Nutri-Score logo is based on the British Food Standards Agency's Nutrient Profiling System, which is calculated for each food or beverage using a 100-gram content measure for energy (calories), sugar, saturated fatty acids, sodium, fiber and proteins. The profiling system has been used in the UK to regulate food advertising to children since 2007. The new five-tier nutritional coding Nutri-Score system, which calculates food quality using the same method as the British standard, is unique; unlike the British system, Nutri-Score uses both colors (from dark green to dark orange) and grades (from A for the "highest nutritional quality" to E for the "lowest nutritional quality") so consumers can understand the quality of a food at a glance. Via CNN.

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How Long Does the Flu Last, and How Long Is It Contagious?

The influenza virus can be in your body for one to four days before you begin to experience symptoms. Then, it'll hit you—hard. “You will be feeling relatively fine, and—boom—you are suddenly exhausted, have muscle and joint aches, and need to lay down in bed,” explains Gregory Poland, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. Typically, the first symptoms are fever, chills, muscle and body aches, and/or fatigue. Then, you may notice other symptoms such as sore throat and dry cough. The fever can last two to four days, while other symptoms can last for up to a week. “You may not feel totally up to speed for more than two weeks,” Dr. Poland says. Via Prevention.

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Physician Burnout Taking Center Stage

Overall, 45% of residents reported at least one symptom of burnout at least once a week, while 14% reported career-choice regret. While once a week may not sound like a lot, physicians who feel burnout this often are more likely to report thinking about suicide, making a major medical error and wanting to leave medicine, said lead author Lotte Dyrbye, M.D., MHPE, who co-directs the Physician Well-Being Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Burnout is very much a real thing,” Dr. Dyrbye said. And it’s especially prevalent among physicians, Dr. Dyrbye said, noting that while doctors may have close to a 50% burnout rate, among other U.S. workers, the rate is under 30%. Still, Dr. Dyrbye said, “We need more research in the field with good attention to method.” Via Reuters.

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Mayo Clinic News

Wiping out the Brain’s Retired Cells Prevents a Hallmark of Alzheimer's

In 2016, Darren Baker, Ph.D., and Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., from Mayo Clinic announced that they had discovered a new way to prolong the life of mice: They cleansed the rodents of retired cells. Over time, the cells of complex organisms accrue damage in their DNA, which threatens to turn them into tumors. Some cells defuse this threat by entering a state called senescence: They don’t die, but they permanently stop growing and dividing. These retired cells accumulate as we get older, and despite their name, they’re not idle. They secrete molecules that trigger inflammation, and they’ve been implicated in some of the health problems of old age. By clearing them from mice, Drs. Baker and van Deursen slowed the aging process in many of the rodents’ organs, and in some case, they extended their lives. Now, the duo has shown that the same approach could benefit the brain by preventing degenerative diseases that afflict neurons. Via The Atlantic.

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Mayo Study Links Ovary Removals with Increased Risk of Kidney Failure

A new study by the Mayo Clinic shows a correlation in women who have their ovaries removed and an increased risk of kidney failure. That risk can go up more than 7% for some women, according to the study. Keeping in mind that hysterectomies are the most common medical procedures other than C-sections and, of that group, 50% have their ovaries removed, this impacts a lot of women. The study looked specifically at more than 1,600 pre-menopausal women living in and around Rochester, Minnesota, over the span of 14 years. "It’s a large increase in risk,” said Andrea Kattah, M.D., a Mayo Clinic nephrologist. It is said to be the first study that has shown an important link between estrogen deprivation in younger women and kidney damage. Dr. Kattah helped lead recent research, which is somewhat controversial within the medical community. Via KMSP.

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Ken Burns and Dr. Noseworthy on the New "Mayo Clinic" Documentary

Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker, and John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic President and CEO, join "Squawk Box" to discuss Ken Burns' new documentary on one of the best hospitals in the U.S. Via CNBC.

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Mayo Clinic Report Suggests Changes to Next COPD GOLD Update

A Mayo Clinic team critiqued the 2018 update to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines, recommending several changes to the next update. A team of pulmonary clinicians and researchers from the Mayo Clinic recently critiqued the 2018 update to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines and recommended several changes to the next major update to GOLD. The 2018 guidelines are considered a minor update to the 2017 report, but the clinicians noted the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worldwide and in the United States, where it is the third-leading cause of death. Via AJMC.

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Opioid Controlled-Substance Agreements Safely Reduce Health Care Visits, Mayo Study Finds

The medical community has long known that patients on long-term opioid therapy often have significantly more health care visits. But adhering to a standardized care process model for opioid prescriptions appears to reduce the overall number of health care visits for these patients while maintaining safety, shows new research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond

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