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Diagnostic Tests

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.
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."
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.
July 2, 2007 | Valerie Ulene, Special to The Times
Advertisements can be very persuasive -- whether they're promoting a snack food, a toy or even a medical test. If you've watched much television lately, you may have seen a commercial touting the benefits of a relatively new screening test for cervical cancer. Its message is unambiguous: "A Pap test isn't enough." The advertisement encourages women to get tested for human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus known to cause cervical cancer.
April 3, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
The nation's largest medical specialty group is challenging the widely accepted recommendation that women should routinely undergo mammograms in their 40s, saying the risks of the breast exams may outweigh the benefit for many women. The American College of Physicians, which represents 120,000 internists, plans to issue new guidelines today that instead urge women in their 40s to consult with their doctors individually about whether to get the breast X-rays.
March 5, 2007 | Chris Woolston, Special to The Times
Is there a reliable way to check my antioxidant levels? A laser scan said I was running low. GAIL L. Riverside The products: When a fender oxidizes, it's called "rust." In your body, oxidation plays a key role in aging and disease. Antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene can offer protection, but you may wonder if you have enough to keep the rust away. If you're concerned -- or just curious -- you can always try a high-tech palm reading.
March 2, 2007 | Francisco Vara-Orta, Times Staff Writer
A majority of Los Angeles County primary care practitioners are failing to advise their Latino patients -- who are at high risk for HIV infection -- to get tested, according to a UCLA study released Thursday. Only 41% of the 85 surveyed primary care providers -- including doctors, nurses and physician assistants -- had regularly offered advice about sexually transmitted diseases during the six-month period covered in the study, which was conducted in 2004 by the UCLA AIDS Institute.
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