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.
Research Shows Structural Barriers Are the Biggest Reason for Low Participation in Clinical Trials
A research team led by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have determined the most significant barriers to clinical trial participation. The study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) upends the notion that patient factors are the driving forces behind why most clinical trials don't meet their enrollment targets. The team from Fred Hutch, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), combed through 13 studies spanning 15 years that involved over 8,800 patients. They found that 56 percent of patients didn't have a trial available to them at their institution and nearly 22 percent were deemed ineligible for an available trial. Combined, the authors concluded structural and clinical factors are the main reasons why most cancer patients don't participate in trials. "These findings illustrate the need to reexamine the way we think about patient participation in clinical trials," said Dr. Joseph Unger, a health services researcher and biostatistician who led the study. "Most of the time it's not up to the patient. Instead, structural and clinical barriers are the reasons more than 3 out of 4 patients do not participate in trials." Via Medical Xpress.
Measles Outbreak: Your Questions Answered
What are the symptoms of measles? According to the Mayo Clinic, people show no symptoms up to two weeks after being infected. Then they develop symptoms typical of a cold or virus: moderate fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, red and swollen eyes. But after two or three days of that, fever spikes to 104 or 105 degrees and the telltale red dots appear on the skin, first on the face, then spreading down the body. Via NY Times.
Leprosy Still Lurks in United States, Study Says
Leprosy is a disease most people think ended in the Middle Ages, but a new study shows that it's not a thing of the past. Mayo Clinic researchers wanted to understand how common it was in their clinic after a patient was diagnosed with the disease in March 2017. In the clinic's electronic health records, they found nine patients diagnosed with leprosy over a 23-year period. The study authors emphasized that, though it's rare, the disease should still be considered when diagnosing patients. "This is not a disease that the average person in the United States has to worry about, but if they develop a rash and have extensive travel to a place where it is common, then they should bring it to the attention of their provider," said study author and dermatologist Dr. Spencer A. Bezalel. Via CNN.
Study Links Midlife Activity Levels to Future Dementia Risk
Experts say the continuing research challenge is to find the physical pathway connecting such lifestyle factors in midlife to specific protective effects in the brain. Teasing out what affects the cognitive changes associated with aging vs. what prevents pathologies such as Alzheimer's—and how different those two things are—are also big questions. If not a new message, today's study results offer “a confirmatory message, and more evidence about the validity of the notion of being cognitively and physically active to prevent cognitive effects of aging,” says neurologist Ron Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, Minn. He notes that AARP’s own Global Council on Brain Health, of which he’s a member, recently found enough scientific consensus to recommend that middle-aged people pursue both physical and mental activities for the express purpose of improving their future cognitive health. Via AARP.
Superfoods Won't Save You from Getting Sick This Winter
A healthy diet can keep your immune system (and every other system) humming along smoothly, says Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist who works at the Mayo Clinic. Flavorful ginger and garlic don’t hurt either, especially if you use them to season whole foods. But if you think these foods will transform you into some sort of antiviral superhero, you’re wrong. The link between food and immunity is far less clear than most of us have been led to believe. Via Outside.
Mayo Clinic News
Mayo Clinic Study Reports 47% Reduction in C.diff Infection Rates Using Pulsed Xenon UV Room Disinfection
Many hospital patients, especially those on antibiotics, are susceptible to C.diff, which can live for up to five months on surfaces in the hospital. A person with C.diff may contaminate their hospital room and bathroom, leaving C.diff spores on the walls, handles and other high-touch surfaces. These spores can be easily transferred to the next patient or healthcare worker in that room. For this study, the Mayo Clinic deployed two Xenex LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots™ that utilize intense pulsed xenon UV light to quickly destroy pathogens like C.diff and VRE that may be lurking on high-touch surfaces in a room, such as bedrails, tray tables and doorknobs. The robot is easy to use and does not require warm-up or cool-down time, so it’s easily transported from room to room. Via Business Wire.
Why We Should Care for Our Caregivers
Although my personal health is better than when I had started medical school, in large part because of the development of seed habits, the general wellbeing and burnout levels of clinicians and caregivers has gotten worse. Last month Medscape released their annual National Physician Burnout, Depression, and Suicide report and found that 44% of the 15,000 physicians surveyed felt burned out, compared to 39% in their 2013 survey. Another study by Mayo Clinic researchers found a 9% increase in burnout among physicians from 2011 to 2014. Nearly 300 to 400 physicians commit suicide each year; that’s double the rate of the general population. Via Forbes.
Doctors Don't Know What to Do with Data from Wearables
Despite high levels of interest by consumers to take an active role in their health, Karl Poterack, Mayo Clinic's medical director of applied clinical informatics, is cautioning data being collected by wearables may have limited clinical applicability…"If you present this data and bring in your device and say 'here I have this heart rate data from the last month' we're going to say, 'that's great, but we don't know what it really means,'" Poterack said to a HIMSS panel. Via Healthcare Dive.
Mayo Clinic Minute: Alzheimer’s Disease Risk and Lifestyle
Does your race influence your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease? Dr. Melissa Murray, a Mayo Clinic molecular neuroscientist, says a new Mayo Clinic study shows the risk is higher in Hispanic Americans. However, there are lifestyle choices you can make that may reduce your risks. Does your race influence your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease? Dr. Melissa Murray, a Mayo Clinic molecular neuroscientist, says a new Mayo Clinic study shows the risk is higher in Hispanic Americans. However, there are lifestyle choices you can make that may reduce your risks. Via Post-Bulletin.
T-Cell Receptor Diversity May Be Key to Treatment of Follicular Lymphoma, Mayo Study Finds
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, MD, 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 Mayo Clinic News Network.