Week in Review: August 20

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

Biden administration approves record permanent jump in food stamps

Millions of Americans will see their food stamp benefits permanently increase by a record amount later this year, The New York Times reported. The Biden administration is expected to announce the new rules Monday, and they will take effect in October, according to the Times. Via The Hill

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U.S. to advise boosters for most Americans 8 months after vaccination

The Biden administration has decided that most Americans should get a coronavirus booster vaccination eight months after they received their second shot, and could begin offering third shots as early as mid-September, according to administration officials familiar with the discussions. Officials are planning to announce the decision as early as this week. Their goal is to let Americans who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines know now that they will need additional protection against the Delta variant that is causing caseloads to surge across much of the nation. The new policy will depend on the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of additional shots. Via New York Times

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This breast cancer gene is less well known, but nearly as dangerous

For years, women with breast cancer in their families have been getting tested for mutations in two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, to determine whether they have a sharply elevated risk of the disease. Now, doctors are increasingly recommending that anyone who was tested before 2014 go through genetic testing again — to look for a different mutation, one much less widely known. It’s on a gene called PALB2, and people who have the mutation have almost as great a risk of getting breast cancer as those who have the BRCA mutations. Like the BRCA mutations, this mutation also increases a patient’s risk of ovarian and pancreatic cancer. Via New York Times

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Mayo Clinic News

Mayo Clinic announces $200 million project, expected to create over 100 new jobs

Mayo Clinic is announcing a $200 million expansion to its Proton Beam Therapy Program in Rochester. Mayo says the 110,000 square-foot expansion will be built on the east side of the Eisenberg Building and attached to the Jacobson Building. Plans call for two floors below ground, a lobby level, and a first level, and space left open for future additions. Via KIMT

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How does COVID-19 affect the brain? A troubling picture emerges

"The brain is an organ that requires a lot of oxygen to do its job,” says Billie Schultz, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who specialized in rehabilitating stroke and traumatic brain injury patients before COVID-19 hit. Other symptoms that accompany post-COVID-19 syndrome—pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath—can negatively affect cognition too, Schultz says. “It’s not just a brain issue; it's a multi-system body issue that needs to be addressed.” Via National Geographic

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The Mayo 'miracle': How world-class medical research rose from a Rochester tornado 138 years ago

Mayo Clinic is synonymous with medical breakthroughs — like the just-announced $200 million expansion of its proton beam therapy program in Rochester, which is expected to meet the growing demand for cancer treatment. Many other breakthroughs are possible because of one of the largest, but least known, projects designed to collect data for research anywhere in the world. Minnesotans are at the heart of it: People like farmers, mechanics and teachers of all ages and backgrounds who volunteer to help with research. It's a story that began with a tornado that devastated Rochester 138 years ago this week. Via KSTP

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.