Week in Review: Oct. 26

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

Obesity Rate for Minnesota Youth among Lowest in the Nation

Just over 10% of kids in Minnesota, ages 10 to 17, are obese, according to analysis and data released, putting the state at the low end of the national scale. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest U.S. philanthropy group focused solely on health, says that when looking at national survey data from 2016 and 2017, its researchers found that Minnesota was among the states with the lowest child obesity rates. Even so, the numbers aren’t that great. Minnesota measured up at 10.4%, topped only by Washington (10.1%), New Hampshire (9.8%), and Utah (8.7%). (Wisconsin landed at No. 31, with a rate of 14.3%.) The states with the highest obesity rates were Kentucky (19.3%), West Virginia (20.4%) and Mississippi (26.1%). Via WCCO.

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FDA Approves a Fast-Acting Flu Drug That Is Taken in a Single Dose

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it has approved the first new influenza drug with a novel mechanism of action in nearly 20 years. The drug, Xofluza, is being brought to the U.S. market by Genentech, a division of Roche. The approval comes just in time for flu season, which should begin in earnest in coming weeks. Via STAT.

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U.S. Health Chief Says Overdose Deaths beginning to Level off

The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths has begun to level off after years of relentless increases driven by the opioid epidemic, Health Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday, cautioning that it's too soon to declare victory. "We are so far from the end of the epidemic, but we are perhaps at the end of the beginning," Azar said in remarks prepared for a health care event in Washington sponsored by the Milken Institute think tank. Confronting the opioid epidemic has been the rare issue uniting Republicans and Democrats in a politically divided nation. A bill providing major funding for treatment was passed under former President Barack Obama, and two more have followed under President Donald Trump. More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer—a 10% increase from 2016. Health and Human Services—the department Azar heads—is playing a central role in the government's response. Via NBC News.

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Does Eating Organic Food Prevent Cancer? Yes, a New Study Suggests

People who regularly eat organic food are less likely to develop cancer than those who don't, according to a new study out of France. A team of researchers studied 68,946 adult volunteers from France who provided information on how often they ate organic food, drinks and even dietary supplements. Participants were given a score, based on how often they eat organic food ranging from "most of the time" to "never" or "I don't know." During two follow-up appointments, one in 2009 and another in 2016, the researchers then tracked cancer diagnoses, the most prevalent being breast cancer. Other cancers observed included prostate cancer, skin cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphomas and lymphomas. People who reported higher organic food scores were less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the rest of the group. For example, those who consumed the most organic food were 25% less likely to have cancer, according to the research. That number grew to more than half when looking at cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Via USA Today.

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Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed in Wisconsin and Minnesota

It is a rare condition that is popping up around the country, including right here in the Midwest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they are growing concerned about acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). "AFM is a condition that is characterized by flaccid paralysis. It's a sudden onset of weakness in usually a leg or an arm. It can also be in the face, that kind of develops quickly over hours or days," said Mayo Clinic Chair of Infectious Diseases Elie Berbari, M.D. Less than one in one million people in the U.S. get AFM each year, but cases are spiking over the last few weeks. Via WEAU Eau Claire.

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Mayo Clinic News

Americans Say They Want Alternatives to Opioid Prescription, Mayo Study Finds

Nearly half of Americans think opioid abuse is a significant issue in their community—though 67% are confident they themselves wouldn’t become addicted if they were prescribed opioids for chronic pain. That’s one of the findings in the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup, a survey of 1,270 adults that shows Americans have a high awareness of the risk of opioid addiction. Nearly all who responded—94%—said they would pick an alternative treatment to opioids. Via Florida Times-Union.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Vaccine That Targets an Aggressive Form of the Disease Is Being Tested

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida are developing an anti-cancer vaccine for a type of aggressive breast cancer called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The researchers just announced that they received a grant of $11 million from the Department of Defense to continue trials. "The vaccine provides a prevention strategy to deter cancer reformation," Keith Knutson, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic immunologist who is principal investigator of the study said in the statement. "The body's T-cells and B-cells synergize with each other for a strong, durable, immune response." In the next phase of research, they’ll test how long the vaccine may last and who may benefit from treatment. No doubt, this may be a true turning point in the ongoing battle against breast cancer. Via Health.

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Lessons from Mayo Clinic’s Redesign of Stroke Care

Facing escalating costs of medications and technology, health care patients and providers in the United States continue to search for opportunities to reduce overall costs while maintaining and improving health care outcomes. At the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Stroke Center Practice, we conducted a project to design and deliver care more customized to the needs of individual patients while reducing cost and resource constraints. It is a risk-stratified approach that could be applied to treating many medical conditions. Via Harvard Business Review.

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What Does Your Gut Say? How "the Bugs Inside Us" Affect Overall Health

Joseph Murray, M.D., takes the adage, “You are what you to eat” to a whole new level—a lower level. As a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Murray studies “anything that ails you from your mouth to the other end.” In addition to being an expert in celiac disease and swallowing disorders, he has a “keen interest in what we feed ourselves and the bugs inside us.” We talked to Dr. Murray about the increasing interest in the gut, good bugs vs. bad bugs, food vs. supplements, the possible dangers of elimination diets and how “brugs” may be the next frontier in treating autoimmune diseases. Via Star Tribune.

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Mayo Clinic Minute: Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

Syphilis has long been a global health issue affecting millions of people. Through the centuries, it's had many names, including the "great pox" and "great crippler." Penicillin treatment is credited with decades of decline in syphilis cases, but infection rates are on the rise. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s an infection increase among women and their newborns, and men who have sex with men. 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.