December 14, 2007 |
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.
November 29, 2007 |
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.
October 29, 2007 |
A simple device for detecting carbon monoxide in the blood may help doctors get an honest answer out of patients who smoke, U.S. researchers have found. The device, called a pulse cooximeter, is typically used to test for carbon monoxide levels in firefighters, but it can also detect carbon monoxide levels in people who smoke. "There is no good way to screen people for smoking," said Dr. Sridhar Reddy, a lung specialist in St. Clair, Mich.
October 8, 2007 |
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 |
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."
September 17, 2007 |
Guidelines released Monday by the American College of Chest Physicians indicate that at present lung cancer screening with CT scanning and other methods is generally not warranted outside of studies. The researchers conclude that screening with CT imaging or certain sputum tests does not reduce lung cancer deaths, even in high-risk groups such as heavy smokers.
August 27, 2007 |
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 |
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 |
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 |
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.