Week in Review: August 16

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

To Find The Next Antibiotic, Scientists Give Old Drugs A New Purpose

With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, scientists are urgently trying to find drugs that will work against persistent infections. But coming up with new ones does not have to be the only strategy. A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that they can repurpose bithionol — a drug formerly used to treat parasitic infections in horses — to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, a common hospital-acquired infection. The results not only suggest a promising treatment for this infection, but hint at new ways scientists could tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, by exploring new uses for old drugs and also using them in combination with traditional antibiotics. Via NPR.

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A Cure for Ebola? Two New Treatments Prove Highly Effective in Congo

In a development that transforms the fight against Ebola, two experimental treatments are working so well that they will now be offered to all patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scientists announced on Monday. The antibody-based treatments are quite powerful — “Now we can say that 90 percent can come out of treatment cured,” one scientist said — and they raise hopes that the disastrous epidemic in eastern Congo can soon be stopped and future outbreaks more easily contained. Offering patients a real cure “may contribute to them feeling more comfortable about seeking care early,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who joined the World Health Organization and the Congolese government in making the announcement. Via The New York Times.

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New Antibiotic Approved for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new drug for highly drug-resistant tuberculosis, the world’s leading infectious cause of death. Tuberculosis kills 1.6 million people a year, about 500,000 of whom suffer from drug-resistant strains of the disease. The antibiotic, called pretomanid, was developed by a nonprofit group called TB Alliance at a time when few companies are investing in the expensive and unprofitable endeavor of creating next-generation antibiotics. Some researchers hope TB Alliance can serve as a model for antibiotic drug development as health authorities warn about the growing danger of drug-resistant infections. The United Nations has projected such infections could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 if nothing is done. Via The Washington Post.

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Mayo Clinic News

Anxiety Complicates Life for Dementia Patients — and Their Caregivers

Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s disease Research Center, recommends playing a person’s favorite music and using other behavioral approaches to distract them. He also advises against trying to convince a person with dementia that they’re worrying about something that isn’t real. Opt for distraction over confrontation, he said. Use “therapeutic fibs,” Petersen said. “It’s calming. You’re not deceiving anybody. The person cannot process the information, so you just go along with it. Don’t elevate the tension state with argument.” Medication is a last resort when other efforts have failed or the person is in danger because of their symptoms, he said.Via The Wall Street Journal.

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Investigating Personalized Nutrition for Sleep Disorders

Personalized nutrition company Viome and the Mayo Clinic are collaborating to better understand the role of nutrition in disease and to explore the potential of Viome’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven personalized diets in helping manage sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and obesity. he study will focus on measures of obesity (including body fat percent), metabolism (HbA1c), and sleep. The teams will leverage Mayo Clinic’s medical expertise and Viome’s proprietary microbiome analysis platform. Together, they will enable a better understanding of how nutrition affects chronic diseases and explore the effectiveness of personalized nutrition as a strategy to help in treatment, and possibly even prevention, of these diseases. Via Sleep Review.

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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.

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