Week in Review: October 4

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

Flu Vaccine Selections May Be An Ominous Sign For This Winter

It’s never an easy business to predict which flu viruses will make people sick the following winter. There’s reason to believe two of the four choices made last winter for this upcoming season’s vaccine could be off the mark. Twice a year influenza experts meet at the World Health Organization to pore over surveillance data provided by countries around the world to try to predict which strains are becoming the most dominant. The Northern Hemisphere strain selection meeting is held in late February; the Southern Hemisphere meeting occurs in late September. The selections that officials made last week for the next Southern Hemisphere vaccine suggest that two of four viruses in the Northern Hemisphere vaccine that doctors and pharmacies are now pressing people to get may not be optimally protective this winter. Those two are influenza A/H3N2 and the influenza B/Victoria virus. Via STAT.

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Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said; Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice

Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills. But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence. If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits. Via New York Times.

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Mayo Clinic News

'A Direct, Toxic Chemical Injury': What Vaping Does To The Lung

Toxic chemical burns may be behind the hundreds of vaping-linked illnesses spiking across the country, according to new images of lung tissue taken from people who got sick after vaping. The images and resulting analysis from pathologists were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine…"It looks like the kind of injury that we normally see when a person is exposed to a spilled drum of toxic chemicals at their workplace," said Dr. Brandon Larsen, an author of the study and a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He and his team are often called upon to examine lung tissue for a second opinion, or in cases that have perplexed other physicians. Via NBC News.

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Hysterectomy May Raise Depression and Anxiety Risk

The observational study, in the journal Menopause, controlled for dementia, substance use disorders, hypertension, coronary artery disease, arthritis, all types of cancer and more than a dozen other mental and physical conditions. “Hysterectomy is right for some women,” said the lead author, Dr. Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic. “But there is this 4 to 6 percent of women who will be affected by depression or anxiety. We’re hoping women will talk with their doctors and see if there’s any alternative they could use instead.” Via New York Times.

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Number of Known Vaping-Related Illnesses Jumps to Over 1,000

 In a first-of-its-kind study published this week, Mayo Clinic researchers said the deaths from vaping-related injury could be caused by a mix of “toxic chemical fumes”. In a study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers said they examined lung biopsies from 17 patients who had vaped and were suspected to have a vaping-related respiratory problems. The images and analysis showed injuries to their lungs resembling toxic chemical burns. Dr Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona and a lead author of the study, said the researchers saw “a severe chemical injury” much different from what doctors see in tobacco or marijuana smokers. Larsen said: “I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.” Via The Guardian.

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Samantha Rossi

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