Week in Review: November 1

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

Facebook Unveils its First Foray into Personal Digital Healthcare Tools

Nearly a year and a half after the Cambridge Analytica scandal reportedly scuttled Facebook’s fledgling attempts to enter the healthcare market, the social media giant is launching a tool called “Preventive Health” to prompt its users to get regular checkups and connect them to service providers. The architect of the new service is Dr. Freddy Abnousi, the head of the company’s healthcare research, who was previously linked to an earlier skunkworks initiative that would collect anonymized hospital data and use a technique called “hashing” to match the data to individuals that exist in both data sets — for research, according to CNBC reporting. Via TechCrunch.

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‘Ebola Is Now a Disease We Can Treat.’ How a Cure Emerged From a War Zone.

The Ebola virus kills in terrifying ways, shutting down the body’s organs and draining victims of the fluids that keep them alive. In outbreaks, it has claimed as many as 9 in 10 patients. In a medical breakthrough that compares to the use of penicillin for war wounds, two new drugs are saving lives from the virus and helping uncover tools against other deadly infectious diseases. They were proven effective in a gold-standard clinical trial conducted by an international coalition of doctors and researchers in the middle of armed violence. The work of Congolese virologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum yielded one of the new Ebola drugs. Dr. Muyembe had dedicated years to finding how to save people from the disease that emerged in 1976 from a remote village near the Ebola River. He was among the first scientists to identify the Ebola virus, which has killed an estimated 3,000 men, women and children in his country and threatened many more around the world. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Mayo Clinic News

Cardiac Biomarkers Could ID High-Risk Kidney Disease Patients

Scientists have found that two biomarkers — high-sensitivity troponin (hs-TnT and N-terminal prohormone BNP (NT-proBNP) — are linked to increased risk for poor cardiovascular outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings by Shravya Vinnakota, MBBS, of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, and colleague. Via Medscape.

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Here's How the Brain Makes Memories—and What You Can Do to Keep Your Mind Sharp

There’s a popular misconception that memory is like a file box in the brain—that we put away our recollections and then look them up when we need them. But that’s not actually how it works. Scientists suspect memories are stored in diffuse networks of neurons all over the brain; when you remember something, bits of the recollection, scattered around like puzzle pieces on the floor, are gathered up and put back together to make a complete picture. “I think of a memory as a particular firing pattern of brain nerve cells in a network,” says Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “If you’re trying to remember a meaningful childhood event, for example, you refire the pattern in the brain that happened when the event took place.” Via Yahoo! Lifestyle.

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Liver Damage From Drinking May One Day Be Reversible: Scientists Are Developing a Drug to Undo Tissue Scarring in Lung and Liver Disease

Doctors may some day be able to reverse the damage that years of heavy drinking does to the liver, a new study suggests.  This damage, called cirrhosis in the liver and fibrosis in the lungs, is an endless process of scarring that can happen to just about any organ with age, disease and repeated injury. Scar tissue can overtake the healthy tissue of an organ and prove fatal, as it does in terminal liver and lung disease - and there is no cure, only mitigation.  But Mayo Clinic scientists may be on the verge of changing that. In lab tissues and mice, they discovered the research team discovered they could block off the two proteins that carry 'instructions' for the formation of fibroblasts - hunks of scar tissue - slowing and even reversing the fibrosis process. Via Daily Mail.

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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.