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.
When Patients Can’t Pay, Many Hospitals Are Suing
Nonprofit hospitals—which receive significant tax breaks because of their not-for-profit status—are more likely than for-profit hospitals to garnish the wages of patients, according to a study of Virginia hospitals published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study examined hospital lawsuits that resulted in wage garnishment for unpaid bills. Via The Wall Street Journal.
Big Decline Seen in Use of Annual Pelvic Exam by Young Women
Young women are far less likely now to get an annual pelvic exam than they were in decades past, a new report finds. In 1988, about 42% of those aged 15 to 20 got the standard gynecologic exam, but by 2017 that number had dropped by half, to just under 22%, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And for women aged 21 to 29, the rate fell from about 75% in 1988 to 56.5% by 2017. No significant decline was seen for women between the ages of 30 and 44, the study of federal data found. Via US News & World Report.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs Are Tied To Nearly 50% Higher Dementia Risk in Older Adults, Study Says
Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia. A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday suggests that the link is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs -- particularly antidepressants, bladder antimuscarinics, antipsychotics and antiepileptic drugs. Researchers wrote in the study that "there was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia" associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, compared with no exposure. Via CNN.
Mayo Clinic News
Vitamin Deficiencies May Be the Only Sign of Celiac Disease
Adults with undiagnosed celiac disease often have nutrient deficiencies as the only sign of the condition, researchers say. Doctors often look for typical signs like unexplained weight loss or extreme thinness, but the hallmark signal of celiac disease may be low levels of vitamins and other micronutrients, according to a report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “People have preconceived ideas of what celiac disease looks like,” said study coauthor Dr. Joseph Murray, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “They expect to see patients who because of nutrient malabsorption and diarrhea will end up being skinny with lots of deficiencies. But now we have lots of patients who haven’t lost weight - and many who are quite overweight - but still have micronutrient deficiencies. While they are not losing calories, they are not absorbing some vital nutrients.” Via Reuters.
Unproven Stem Cell Therapies Often Peddled By Doctors Without Training
At U.S. clinics advertising unproven stem cell treatments, roughly two-thirds of the clinicians may be physicians, but a new study suggests these doctors are often trained in specialties unrelated to the services they provide. “About half of the companies we examined offer unproven stem cell treatments for conditions (for) which they do not have a physician with the appropriate residency and fellowship training,” said senior study author Zubin Master, of the Biomedical Ethics Research Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “As regenerative medicine advances and potential therapies become available, it is important for patients to be treated by clinicians who are appropriately qualified to provide such care,” Master said by email. Via Reuters.