Week in Review: July 12

Amazon Alexa

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

Scientists Studying Brains of Altruistic Kidney Donors Who Give Organs to Strangers.

There were more than 20,000 kidney transplants in the United States last year, with some cases involving donors providing organs to complete strangers. CBSN profiled the psychology behind those who give their organs to ones they don't know. "It really is an extraordinary form of altruism in a lot of ways," said professor Abigail Marsh of Georgetown University. Marsh is studying the brains of these altruistic donors to find out if they have specific brain functions that make them more generous.  Marsh claims she can see an enlarged portion of the brain that is associated with altruism when examining scanned images. Via CBS News.

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Mayo Clinic News

Sleep Loss, Memory Loss

Loud snoring is more than just an annoyance to your sleep partner. A new study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 71st annual meeting suggests that people who snore loudly and have sleep apnoea might have an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Via The Week.

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When is a Muscle Twitch Cause for Concern?

From an uncontrollable fluttering eyelid to a pulsing calf muscle, these small, rapid involuntary muscle contractions may happen at any time—and can be annoying. Fortunately, most of the time they're neither harmful nor an indication of any pressing issue. Still, a persistent twitch may at times be a sign of either a slight to the body—or, much less commonly, even a medical issue… “If someone’s worried their muscle twitching might be an early sign of ALS, it doesn’t hurt at all to see somebody,” says Dr. Anthony Windebank, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic and professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Via U.S. News and World Report.

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Amazon’s Alexa Will Deliver NHS Medical Advice in the UK

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) announced what it claims is a world first: a partnership with Amazon’s Alexa to offer health advice from the NHS website. Britons who ask Alexa basic health questions like “Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?” and “Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?” will receive answers vetted by NHS health professionals and currently available on its website. At the moment, Alexa sources answers to such questions from a variety of places, including the Mayo Clinic and WebMD. Via The Verge.

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Samantha Rossi

Samantha Rossi

Samantha Rossi is a Marketing Associate at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Samantha has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2019.