Week in Review: Dec. 28

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 Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.


Industry News

Stem Cell Shots Linked to Bacterial Infection Outbreak

Health officials reported an outbreak of bacterial infections in people who got injections of stems cells derived from umbilical cord blood. At least 12 patients in three states—Florida, Texas, and Arizona—became infected after getting injections for problems like joint and back pain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. All 12 were hospitalized, 3 of them for a month or longer. None died. Investigators don’t think the contamination occurred at the clinics where the shots were given because they found bacteria in unopened vials provided by the distributor, Yorba Linda, California-based Liveyon. Via AP.

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Healthiest and Least Healthy States of 2018

With the new year fast approaching, getting healthy is at the top of many people's lists of resolutions. While a healthy diet and exercise are key to good health, where you live may also be a factor. A new report ranks the healthiest—and least healthy—states. It finds that Hawaii has reclaimed the title of healthiest state in 2018, after dropping to number 2 in 2017. Other exceptionally healthy states include Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Utah. At the bottom of the list, Louisiana ranks number 50 this year, replacing Mississippi as the state with the greatest health challenges. Via CBS News.

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Lives Lost, Organs Wasted

Some transplant centers are working hard to persuade patients to accept less-than-perfect organs. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, for example, is taking part in a four-year-old trial using a new technology that rehabilitates lungs that have lost some function during the deaths of their original owners. So far, the rehabilitated lungs have been transplanted successfully into 66 patients at eight transplant centers. Among them is Jennilyn Green, 34, a cystic fibrosis patient from Leesburg, Florida. “My biggest question was, 'What if the lungs fail? Would I be a candidate to get other lungs?'” she recalled. Yes, her surgeon assured her, she would. So, she packed her bag and set her cellphone to play Pink’s “Get the Party Started” when the clinic called. Via Washington Post.

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The Striking Rise of Yoga and Meditation

While yoga and meditation fall out of the purview of traditional medicine, some providers have started incorporating them into their treatments. Via Advisory Board.

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Predicting C difficile with 5 Key Factors

Five key risk factors can be used to predict the patients most susceptible to Clostridium difficile (C difficile) infection, according to recent findings. Investigators from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, examined the altered microbial community (known as dysbiosis) in C difficile patients and mice models in order to determine the risk factors for infection onset. The study authors noted that while some C difficile patients displayed dysbiosis, that is not the case for all C difficile patients. To further evaluate dysbiotic conditions, mice models were used in similar research projects. Using germ-free mice is another alternative, which researchers believe can more faithfully replicate the structure and function of human gut microbial communities. Via MD Magazine.

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Mayo Clinic News

Migraines Can Cause Altered Speech

Almost 50% of patients with migraines experienced changes in speech during attacks, most commonly comprised of slowed speaking and decreases in the precision of articulation, according to results from a study in Cephalalgia. “Difficulties with speech and language have been documented during the aura phase of migraine. Although changes in speech during other phases of the migraine attack are reported by patients, objectively measured changes in speech associated with migraine have been inadequately investigated during the non-aura phases of the migraine attack,” noted researchers led by Todd Schwedt, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Via MD Linx.

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How Pilates Helps Fight Atrophy

Pilates can be particularly helpful for people with stability and motor-related issues, says Jane Hein, P.T., a physical therapist and lead Pilates instructor at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minnesota. “As our muscles deteriorate, our postural stabilizers that support our spine and trunk become weaker, and suddenly, gravity poses a challenge,” she says. “Everyday activities like standing up straight and walking can become difficult. The risk of falls increases.” She says a Pilates apparatus such as the reformer, which looks like a bed frame with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs, eliminates gravity, allowing people to perform strengthening exercises on their back, stomach and sides. Having your feet and hands attached to the reformer machine’s straps and pulleys while doing exercises provides proprioceptive feedback to the body’s neuromuscular system. “The person feels more safe and supported,” she says. “It opens up the entire body, so much so that people frequently say they feel taller after a session,” she says. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Nonprofit Launches Trial to Get Therapies to Multiple Myeloma Patients More Efficiently

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is launching a platform clinical trial aimed at investigating treatments for high-risk multiple myeloma patients. Called MyDRUG, the trial is the capstone of the MMRF’s precision medicine model, the sole end-to-end model of its kind in cancer. The overarching goal is to better match patients with beneficial treatments. . . . Mayo Clinic’s Shaji Kumar, M.D., who is MyDRUG’s chief investigator, said the MMRF has the leadership and partnerships necessary to lead such a complex undertaking. “The MMRF MyDRUG study is an incredible milestone for the myeloma community, and I am proud to be part of this truly collaborative effort that will accelerate the delivery of much-needed options for high-risk patients,” he said. Via Myeloma Research News.

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Which Flu Shot Should You Get? Here’s What You Need to Know.

The number of choices available for getting immunized against influenza is unrivaled in the vaccine world. There are 10 varieties of flu vaccine made by multiple companies approved for use in the United States. As for where to go, some doctors prefer their patients come to their primary-care clinic because that makes it easier to keep track of who has been vaccinated, says Gregory Poland, M.D., Director of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota. Others don’t care. Most agree that it’s better to get the shot somewhere than not at all. Via Washington Post.

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Treating the "Stomach Flu"

Before we get to the remedy, here’s the reality: There’s no such thing as "stomach flu." "'Stomach flu’ is a misnomer," says Cindy Kermott, M.D., a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine physician. "It is just a common term for a viral gastroenteritis. And everyone has probably had it—when you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea." Dr. Kermott says flu settles in your chest—not your stomach. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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

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