Week in Review: June 21

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

U.S. Youth Suicide Rate Reaches 20-Year High

Suicide rates among teens and young adults have reached their highest point in nearly two decades, a new study reports. Suicides among teens have especially spiked, with an annual percentage change of 10% between 2014 and 2017 for 15- to 19-year-olds, researchers said. "It really is an unprecedented surge," said lead author Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "You can go back decades and you won't find such a sharp increase. "Suicide rates for 15- to 19-year-olds and those between 20 and 24 are at their highest level since 2000," Miron said. Via US News & World Report.

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Low Prices of Some Lifesaving Drugs Make Them Impossible to Get

BCG, a decades-old bacterial concoction used to treat early-stage bladder cancer, is in short supply due to the low cost of the drug. Lack of industry interest in producing more suggests “there’s an element of market failure here.” That failure now threatens patients. Because of the BCG shortage, some patients “are being undertreated, and some are going to have to undergo radical surgery and lose their bladders,” said Bernard Bochner, a urologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Those patients will have to wear a urine-collection bag or undergo difficult surgery to make a new bladder out of their intestines—life-altering changes, he said. Fearful of such an outcome, patients are calling hospitals and clinics and scouring chat rooms looking for help. Via Washington Post.

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Heart Disease Can Have Long-Term Impact on the Brain, Study Says

Patients who receive a diagnosis of coronary heart disease are at higher risk for cognitive decline later on, a new study shows. The study, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that scores on cognitive tests—including verbal memory and orientation of time —dropped faster after patients received such a diagnosis than they did leading up to it. "This study adds to the increasing body of literature that showcases how the heart and brain work together," said Dr. Neelum T. Aggarwal, director of research for the Rush Heart Center for Women and a cognitive neurologist at its Cardiology Cognitive Clinic. She was not involved in the study. "We are now seeing more issues related to cognitive function from heart disease as more people are living longer, and also undergoing more heart procedures, and placed on medications," Aggarwal wrote in an email. Via CNN.

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Mayo Clinic News

Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Linked to Accelerated Aging, New Study Finds

“The findings add to the growing list of reasons to treat sleep apnea,” notes Eric Olson, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Sleep apnea has been linked to an array of cardiovascular and neurobehavioral problems, and this study shows another significant health problem that is linked to this sleep disorder, he says. Via Everyday Health.

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The Man’s Blood Pressure Dropped, and He Was Acting Strange. What Was Going On?

What kind of disease could cause both neurological and psychiatric symptoms? Two weeks after the man’s first seizure, the doctor got the answer he’d been looking for. It came from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., one of the few labs able to test for immune-mediated diseases of the brain. He had an autoimmune encephalopathy; his symptoms were caused by an antibody that was first described in 2000, called Caspr2. The disorder caused by this rogue antibody is usually seen in men over 65 who, like this patient, develop fluctuations in blood pressure or heart rate, changes in personality, insomnia, and problems with balance. The patient was relieved to finally get a name for his strange collection of symptoms. He and his wife flew to the Mayo Clinic to start the treatment. His improvement has been slow, and even after three years, he isn’t fully recovered. Via The New York Times.

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Suzanne R. Ferguson

Suzanne Ferguson is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2014. Outside of work, Suzanne can be found traveling, reading and spending time with her family.

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