Week in Review: August 30

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

Study Questions Mainstay Treatment For Mild Asthma

Steroid inhalers commonly used to prevent asthma attacks may not work any better than a placebo for many people with mild asthma, according to recent research. Synthetic corticosteroids mimic the steroid hormone cortisol, reducing inflammation in the airways. But the drug targets a type of inflammation that may be found in far fewer patients than previously thought, research in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds. Among patients age 12 and older in the study who had mild, persistent asthma, more than half did just as well, or better, on a placebo as they did on a steroid inhaler. Via WPR.

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What You Need to Know About the Deadly Mosquito-Borne Illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis

A rare, potentially deadly mosquito-transmitted illness called Eastern equine encephalitis has been reported in at least three states. There have been four recorded cases in Massachusetts, including one case in which the person died, while there have been three suspected cases in Michigan. Cases involving animals have been reported in Florida. In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Todd Ellerin, director of Infectious Diseases and vice chair Department of Medicine at South Shore Health in Massachusetts, explained that EEE "is the most deadly of all the mosquito-born viral brain infections, aka encephalitides." However, EEE remains very rare and most people who get it never develop symptoms. Via ABC News.

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Mayo Clinic News

Dogs Owners Might Have Healthier Hearts

Researchers scored them on the American Heart Association’s seven measures of heart health: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, diet, body mass index and smoking. Then they compared scores of the 24 percent of the people who owned dogs and the 18 percent who owned other pets with those of the rest who owned none. The study is in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Owners of any pet scored higher than those who didn’t own a pet, but dog owners scored higher than both...Other factors may play a role as well. “Owning a dog increases the sense of well-being in general, decreases loneliness and decreases rates of depression,” said the senior author, Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. “All these factors also relate to cardiovascular health.” Via New York Times.

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Mayo Clinic Uses AI to Glean Patients’ Overall Health From EKG Heart Test

Artificial intelligence could help doctors learn more than the condition of a patient’s heart from an electrocardiogram: Applying AI to the heart test data could indicate overall health status, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have discovered. Electrocardiograms, which record electrical activity in the heart to check for heart disease, reflect the effects of normal aging, and the Mayo researchers theorized that the test could estimate a person’s physiological age—a measure of how well someone’s body is working relative to their chronological age. The Mayo researchers used electrocardiogram, or EKG, data they had gathered on more than 500,000 patients from 1994 to 2017 to train a convolutional neural network—a deep learning network that can analyze images—to learn what normal EKGs look like as people age. Via Wall Street Journal.

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CBD is the Rage, But More Research is Needed

"There are many intriguing findings in pre-clinical studies that suggest CBD and hemp oil have anti-inflammatory effects and may be helpful with improving sleep and anxiety," said Dr. Brent Bauer, director of research for the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine program. "But trials in humans are still limited, so it is too early to be definitive about efficacy and safety," he added in a Mayo Clinic news release. Via WebMD.

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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.