Week in Review: Feb. 15

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

Teen Pot Smoking Raises Risk of Depression in Adulthood, Study Finds

Teen use of marijuana may raise the risk of major depression and suicidal thoughts later in life, a new study suggests. Researchers found that cannabis use during the teenage years was associated with a nearly 40 percent bump in the risk of depression and a 50 percent increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts in adulthood, according to the study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry. Although the increased risk was only moderate, “given the large number of adolescents who smoke cannabis, the risk in the population becomes very big,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a professor and a psychiatrist at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal. “About 7 percent of depression is probably linked to the use of cannabis in adolescence, which translates into more than 400,000 cases.” Via NBC News.

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Cleaning Routine Shows Promise in Curbing Superbug Infection

Think of it as decontaminating yourself. Hospitalized patients who harbor certain superbugs can cut their risk of developing full-blown infections if they swab medicated goo in their nose and use special soap and mouthwash for six months after going home, a study found. It’s a low-tech approach to a big problem: About 5 percent of patients have MRSA—antibiotic-resistant Staph bacteria—lurking on their skin or in their noses, putting them at high risk of developing an infection while recovering from an illness or an operation. These can affect the skin, heart, brain, lungs, bones, and joints, and most of them land people back in the hospital. The hygiene steps that researchers tested trimmed that risk by nearly one third. Via Associated Press.

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Behind the Failure of the First U.S. Uterine Transplant

The alleged missteps that preceded McFarland’s failed transplant—which have not been previously disclosed—illustrate what critics say is a lack of public accountability in the U.S. transplant system that undermines patient safety. They say the system’s main actors are not required to reveal most mistakes to the government, the rest of the medical establishment, or the public. Largely free of such oversight, they are rarely held publicly responsible for errors. Via Washington Post.

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New Science Shows Managing Blood Sugar Isn’t About Counting Calories or Carbs

The new Mayo Clinic research offers evidence for the viability of that approach from the standpoint of managing blood sugar levels. The researchers built a model for predicting how different foods impact people’s blood sugar levels, then they set out to test that model. What they found was that by analyzing a person’s gut microbiome, age, level of physical exercise, and other factors, they could very accurately predict how the body reacts to food; more so than if they attempted to do so by counting calories or carbs. “As a clinician, I have seen that my patients do not respond to the same foods the same way—just like not all weight-loss diets work for all people the same,” said Heidi Nelson, one of the study’s co-authors, in a statement. Via Quartz.

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2019: The Year of the Wellness Revolution Is Here

We're increasingly confronted with evidence of how harsh the world is today. Americans say our society feels more divisive now, and daily anxiety is rising, especially among young Americans. Faced with these external pressures, more of us are looking inward toward our spiritual, physical, and mental health and well-being. Via Forbes.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Clinic Labs, Numares Collaborate on NMR-Based Diagnostics

Mayo Clinic Laboratories and Numares said today that they are collaborating to develop clinical diagnostic tests that use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to detect cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver cancer, and other diseases. Via 360 Dx.

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Long-Term Stroke Risk Cut by Carotid Surgery or Stenting

As many as 100,000 people in the United States undergo either carotid endarterectomy to remove built-up plaque or stent placement to improve blood flow and prevent stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic. The typical patient with a narrowed carotid artery is 70 years old. Life expectancy is another 16 years for women and another 14 years for men. Published in Lancet Neurology, the study followed 4,754 patients in 19 countries. Those patients, who were participants of previous studies comparing the two procedures, had been assigned randomly to undergo endarterectomy or stenting. One of those studies was the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST), led by Mayo Clinic. Another was the International Carotid Stenting Study, led by University College London. “This was the largest study to date comparing the efficacy and durability of carotid surgery and carotid stenting,” said first author Thomas Brott, M.D., a neurologist on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, in a prepared statement. “We found the likelihood of having a stroke on the same side where treatment was performed—even years later—to be remarkably low.” Via Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Tool Predicts Risk for Kidney Stone Recurrence Using Clinical Characteristics of Patients

Tool predicts risk for kidney stone recurrence using clinical characteristics of patients—The Recurrence of Kidney Stone tool may aid in predicting the risk for symptomatic recurrence by using patients’ clinical characteristics—including age, sex, BMI, family history, and pregnancy—according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “Symptomatic recurrence of kidney stones is a concern, but the likelihood of recurrence depends on 13 risk factors, the number of prior symptomatic stone episodes and the years since the last symptomatic stone episode,” Andrew D. Rule, M.D., Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mayo Clinic, told Healio/NephrologyVia Healio.

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How Measles Hacks the Body—and Harms Its Victims for Years

For years scientists puzzled over how exactly measles achieves its contagion-in-chief status. But advances in microscopy and genetics have finally begun to illuminate what makes the virus so damn catchy. “It’s really two things,” says Roberto Cattaneo, a molecular biologist at the Mayo Clinic who has been studying the measles virus for more than three decades. The first has to do with the kind of cells the virus infects first: alveolar macrophages. These immune cells patrol your airways, hoovering up and degrading bits of dust, pollen, and any other foreign objects that you breathe in. They also have a surface receptor the exact shape of a measles protein. “They’re supposed to be on a mission to destroy viruses, and instead they act as a shuttle, delivering measles straight to the closest lymph nodes.” Via Wired.

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Mayo Clinic Rolls Out First-Aid Voice Skill for Google Assistant

Mayo Clinic has released a first-aid tool, dubbed Mayo First Aid, for Google's voice assistant. Mayo First Aid offers users advice on how to treat various conditions, such as fevers, spider bites or cuts. It also provides information on how to respond in select emergency situations—for example, if a user needs to know the steps for CPR. Mayo Clinic initially launched the tool—which the health system created through a collaboration with Orbita, a provider of HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications—on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant in late 2017. "Expanding the delivery of Mayo Clinic content through more voice channels helps give consumers ready access to trusted health information where and when they need it," Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Associate Medical Director of Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, said in a news release. "We're pleased to continue innovating with voice and exploring its value to enhance patient and consumer engagement." Via Becker's Hospital Review.

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