Week in Review: November 8

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 Discover First New HIV Strain in Nearly Two Decades

For the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists has detected a new strain of HIV. The strain is a part of the Group M version of HIV-1, the same family of virus subtypes to blame for the global HIV pandemic, according to Abbott Laboratories, which conducted the research along with the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The findings were published Wednesday in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Via CNN.

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Google Will Acquire Fitbit for $2.1 Billion in Direct Challenge to Apple

Fitbit on Friday announced it will be acquired by Google in a deal that values the smartwatch maker at roughly $2.1 billion. The deal puts Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in a race against Apple when it comes to tracking fitness and health data. Fitbit’s stock had surged as much as 30 percent earlier this week on reports that Alphabet had put in an offer. The deal is expected to close in 2020. Google will pay $7.35 a share for the fitness tracker, helping it advance its ambitions for wearable technology. The company does not make its own smartwatch. Via Washington Post.

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First Kidney Transplant Performed in the World Using Single-Port Robot

Cleveland Clinic is the first hospital in the world to successfully perform a robotic single-port kidney transplant, which enables all surgical instruments and the donor kidney to be placed through one small abdominal incision. The Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute surgical team included Jihad Kaouk, MD, director of the Center for Robotic and Image Guided Surgery; Alvin Wee, MD, surgical director of Renal Transplantation, Mohamed Eltemamy, MD, David Goldfarb, MD and Eric Miller, MD. These surgeons combined their collective expertise in minimally invasive, robotic and kidney transplant surgery to accomplish this first successful operation. Via Cleveland Clinic.

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Mayo Clinic News

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling During the Holidays

The secret to staying healthy during the holidays is no secret at all: Wash your hands. It’s the most important thing you can do while traveling, and it’s good form year-round, but particularly important in the winter. “Our hands are the interface between ourselves and the rest of the world,” says Gina Suh, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic. “In other words, our hands touch all these surfaces that are full of germs, and then we touch our own face and mucosal surfaces—such as our mouth, nose, eyes—way more than you would even notice. Most people touch their face many times in any given minute, and that can transmit illness.” Via Washington Post.

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Rare Genetic Mutations Protected a Woman From Developing Alzheimer’s

This case study “leads us to think about the importance of such studies in relatively understudied populations,” says Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, a neurogeneticist with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, who was not involved with the study. Scientific knowledge of the Christchurch mutation suggests that it’s incredibly rare, but that could be because the majority of research on Alzheimer’s and dementia has been done on white populations. By including more diverse populations in future research, scientists can get a better idea of how this mutation works in other healthy populations—and ultimately, how it could mitigate the disease overall. Via Quartz.

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Darker Days Have Arrived: Here's How to Make Your Home a Wellness Refuge All Winter Long

Winter months come with fewer hours of natural light and fewer sunny days overall. Less light affects our mood because our bodies need sunlight to produce vitamin D, which appears to help with functioning of parts of the brain that regulate mood and wellbeing. (Read: Yes, those summer streams of sunlight that wake you up and gently backlight your kitchen during dinner prep do make you feel better.) Try mimicking natural patterns with overhead lighting and lamps, suggests Kyja Stygar, MD, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Use bright lights in the middle of the day (look for light bulb intensities between 4,500 and 6,500k) and use softer dimmer lights (between 2,000 and 3,000k) when you’re first waking up and in the evening. Via NBC News.

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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.