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Diagnostic Tests

April 2, 2008 | Mary Engle, Times Staff Writer
The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System began offering 20-minute HIV tests at its downtown ambulatory care center Tuesday -- part of a campaign to encourage more veterans to get tested and treated for the virus. "HIV testing is the gateway to life-saving therapy," said Dr. Earl Tso, a primary care physician who is leading the downtown center's outreach effort. In the past, veterans wanting to be tested for HIV had to have blood drawn and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
March 6, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Medical experts recommended Wednesday that a less-invasive procedure known as a virtual colonoscopy and a stool DNA test join the arsenal of screenings for colon cancer in the hopes that more people would get checked out. The recommendations bring to six the number of screening tests suggested for spotting signs of colon cancer, said Dr. Otis Brawley, national chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, one of the groups that made the recommendations.
March 3, 2008 | Valerie Ulene, Special to The Times
When it comes to medical care, my husband and I generally call the shots in our family. Most people would agree that this is an appropriate role for us to play, but certain medical decisions aren't normally the purview of parents. Nor should they be. Foremost among them is the decision to screen children for some genetic diseases. During the last 25 years, the number of genetic tests has increased rapidly.
December 27, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
HIV testing will soon become part of routine prenatal care and be required for some newborns under a new law that supporters say is putting the state in the forefront of the national fight against HIV transmission to babies. Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey signed the measure into law at University Hospital in Newark. The law will take effect in six months. "We can significantly reduce the number of infections to newborns and help break down the stigma associated with the disease," Codey said.
December 14, 2007 | Judy Peres, Chicago Tribune
A genetic test can help doctors determine which breast cancer patients are likely to benefit from chemotherapy, even for those whose tumors are more advanced, researchers reported Thursday. The finding needs to be confirmed in clinical trials, but experts said the test could already be used to spare some women from the debilitating side effects of cancer drugs.
October 8, 2007 | Eric Jaffe, Special to The Times
Effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease appear several years away at best. But, in what could be considered a painful irony, scientists have become increasingly adept at spotting the illness in its earliest stages. Magnetic resonance imaging, PET scans, spinal fluid analyses and other techniques have enabled physicians to reliably detect the disease -- often years before symptoms appear.
October 1, 2007 | Karen Ravn
Some doctors still recommend that women examine their breasts for lumps or other changes. Dr. Sandhya Pruthi calls the self-exam an important part of a triad that also includes clinical exams and mammograms. A professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Pruthi says none of these tools is perfect, but they all complement one another. "Sometimes a woman may feel a lump that the mammogram doesn't even find," she says. "Is it helpful then? Yeah, big time."
August 27, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
A reported boom in U.S. whooping cough cases is being questioned after health officials discovered a regularly used lab test misdiagnosed cases in suspected outbreaks in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Tennessee. The errors were reported Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a potentially fatal bacterial respiratory infection. Government health officials say cases have tripled in the United States since 2001.
July 30, 2007 | James Channing Shaw, Special to The Times
Two years ago, after returning from an Alaskan cruise, Jean, a widow in her mid-70s, mentioned a disturbing new health problem: During the trip, she had started having severe episodes of neck pain. Although I was not her doctor, I put on my physician hat and asked a few questions. It was difficult for Jean to pinpoint the location of the pain; it seemed to begin at the back of her tongue and spread across her neck.
July 16, 2007 | From Times wire reports
The number of newborns living in states that require genetic screening for more than 20 debilitating or fatal health conditions more than doubled in just two years, to about 90%. Thirty-eight percent of infants in 2004 were born in states that screened for at least 21 conditions, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, according to a report released last Monday by the March of Dimes. As of June 1, the percentage rose to 87.5%, or about 3.6 million babies, the report said.
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