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Diagnostic Tests

HEALTH
July 28, 2008 | Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
People with Alzheimer's face an awkward juncture in the near future. They'll be able to learn early on whether they have Alzheimer's disease -- even if they can't do much about it. With therapies to halt or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease seeming ever more elusive, several blood tests currently in development could determine who has the disease even before symptoms develop or become severe.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
NATIONAL
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.
HEALTH
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.
HEALTH
December 31, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Annual screening with a technique called transvaginal ultrasound, coupled with a blood test for CA125, a protein that can be elevated in the setting of ovarian cancer, does not reliably detect ovarian cancer early, at a more curable stage, a new study finds. "We and other groups confirm that the current method of ovarian screening, which is a combination of ultrasound scans and [blood] markers, is ineffective," said Dr. Emma R. Woodward of Birmingham Women's Hospital in Britain.
NATIONAL
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.
NATIONAL
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.
NATIONAL
November 29, 2007 | Delthia Ricks, Newsday
Doctors might be overusing CT scans, the popular diagnostic tool that exposes patients to far more radiation than conventional X-rays, scientists in Manhattan will report today. The analysis by investigators at Columbia University Medical Center comes on the heels of another released this week by researchers at Brown University, who found pregnant women are being exposed to twice the amount of radiation through CT scans as they were in 1997.
HEALTH
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.
HEALTH
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."
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