Week in Review: Jan. 4

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

Mediterranean Diet Named the Best for 2019

If you're a fan of the Mediterranean diet, get ready to do a victory dance. For the first time, the Mediterranean diet has won the gold as 2019's best overall diet in rankings announced by U.S. News and World Report. The analysis of 41 eating plans also gave the Mediterranean diet the top spot in several subcategories: best diet for healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best diet for diabetes and easiest diet to follow. The high accolades are not surprising, as numerous studies found the diet can reduce the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and breast cancer. Meals from the sunny Mediterranean region have also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart, and longer life. Oh, and weight loss, too. Via CNN.

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Another Blood Pressure Medication Recalled Over Trace Amounts of Cancer-Causing Chemical

Another pharmaceutical company is recalling blood pressure medication after detecting trace amounts of a cancer-causing chemical. The Food and Drug Administration announced Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc. is voluntarily recalling 80 lots of Amlodipine Valsartan Tablets, Valsartan HCTZ Tablets, and Valsartan Tablets. The impurity involves a chemical called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), which the FDA describes as a "substance that occurs naturally in certain foods, drinking water, air pollution, and industrial processes, and has been classified as a probable human carcinogen." To date, the company says it has not received any reports of patients suffering adverse effects related to the recall. Via CBS News.

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NIH Hospital’s Pipes Harbored Uncommon Bacteria that Infected Patients

Patients were infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria living in the plumbing of the National Institutes of Health’s hospital in Bethesda, Md., contributing to at least three deaths in 2016. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, from 2006 to 2016, at least 12 patients at the NIH Clinical Center, which provides experimental therapies and hosts research trials, were infected with Sphingomonas koreensis, an uncommon bacteria. The paper, written by NIH researchers, suggests that the infections came from contaminated water pipes, where the bacteria may have been living since as early as 2004, soon after construction of a new clinical center building. This report is the latest instance of pathogenic contamination at the NIH, an issue that has roiled the highest ranks of the agency in recent years. The Clinical Center was the site of a superbug outbreak in 2011, and fungi were found in drug vials in 2015. After a scathing April 2016 internal report concluded that NIH researchers sometimes put patient safety at risk, Director Francis Collins replaced the top leadership at the Clinical Center. Via STAT.

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Best Buy Bones Up on Health Care Biz

It has been four months since Best Buy Co. Inc. announced it was spending $800 million in cash to buy GreatCall, a mobile device and emergency call service for older adults and their family caregivers. Since closing on the deal in October, the Richfield-based retailer has quietly beefed up its focus and expertise around its health care business. Earlier this month, the company tapped Asheesh Saksena as president of Best Buy Health, a role officials said is designed to “refine and implement” its health strategy. Saksena, who was hired in 2016 and had led the Strategic Growth Office, will focus on expanding technology that can help seniors live independently in their homes and provide peace of mind to their families. Best Buy also has hired two veteran health care executives to its board of directors. Via Star Tribune.

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Need a New Diet This New Year? Here's How to Pick One and Stick with It

Angie Murad, a wellness dietitian with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, said the key to choosing a diet is making sure it's sustainable. One way to do that is introducing subtle changes — such as replacing unhealthy foods for healthier ones — to your diet instead of all at once. "When it comes to eating, making a lot of changes at once — and big changes — are a lot to sustain," she said. Via USA Today.

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Mayo Clinic News

Dr. Bekaii-Saab on Resistance to Targeted Therapy in CRC

Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses resistance to targeted therapy in the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The development of targeted agents is gradually transforming the way physicians treat CRC, but resistance is still an obstacle. Patients can have primary resistance, which means they simply do not respond to the therapy, or acquired resistance, which means their disease progresses over time. Researchers understand that a patient’s disease might have driver mutations in addition to the one being targeted, and these other mutations can slowly become the primary driver. Via OncLive.

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2019 People to Watch: Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia will succeed Dr. John Noseworthy as president and CEO of Mayo Clinic this year, taking the helm of the organization amid a period of expansion and at a time of leadership changes across the health care giant's campuses. Via Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

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In Search of Lost Screen Time

More than three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone. In 2018 those 253 million Americans spent $1,380 and 1,460 hours on their smartphone and other mobile devices. That’s 91 waking days; cumulatively, that adds up to 370 billion waking American hours and $349 billion. In 2019, here’s what we could do instead. Via NY Times.

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What Your Headaches Can Tell You About Your Health

Migraines typically cause pain (sometimes so intense that it affects a person’s ability to function) on one side of the head and possibly nausea and/or sensitivity to light, the Mayo Clinic explains. It’s not totally clear what causes migraines, but it’s possible that they have to do with “changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve,” the Mayo Clinic says. (Changes in serotonin levels in the brain may also play a role, but more research is needed to determine how and why.) Experts believe migraines are primarily genetic. Via Yahoo!.

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Mayo Clinic Discovers Biological Markers That Could Guide Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Genetic alterations in low-risk prostate cancer diagnosed by needle biopsy can identify men that harbor higher-risk cancer in their prostate glands, Mayo Clinic has discovered. The research, which is published in the January edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found for the first time that genetic alterations associated with intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer also may be present in some cases of low-risk prostate cancers. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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gmchiri

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