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Diagnostic Tests

HEALTH
October 20, 2008 | Susan Brink, Times Staff Writer
Like any grandparent helping a daughter with a new baby and two active toddlers, Barbara Shellow was busy: changing diapers, giving baths, reading stories and playing games. The routine had her huffing and puffing, out of sorts, tired, losing weight. But the Bel-Air grandmother didn't give much thought to those symptoms 11 years ago. It was Idaho, in winter. "I blamed it on the altitude, the weather, and running around after three little kids," she says.
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BUSINESS
October 1, 2008 | From the Associated Press
The government approved a new genetic test for the flu virus Tuesday that will allow labs across the country to identify flu strains within four hours instead of four days. The time-saving test could be crucial if a deadly new strain emerges, federal health officials said. The new test also could help doctors make better treatment decisions during a conventional flu season. The test was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Applied Biosystems Inc. of Foster City, Calif.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Does a test that promises to detect ovarian cancer sooner really do so? Could other tests nearing the market prolong survival by getting patients the right care faster? A race is on for blood tests to better detect this intractable killer, but the Food and Drug Administration is probing whether to crack down on the first one to sell. It's a time of both hope and confusion. First, the question is whether testing giant LabCorp jumped the gun in selling OvaSure as an ovarian cancer screening test before researchers proved that it caught the tumor in an early, treatable stage without falsely alarming too many healthy women.
SCIENCE
September 13, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A new way to test for cervical cancer is more accurate than a pap smear and identifies more dangerous lesions, according to an Italian study published Tuesday. Researchers used the traditional test for the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer and combined it with another that indicated specific cancer-causing activity in cells. The test looked for a protein called P16INK4A, which indicates cell changes that show a woman probably has precancerous lesions, the team reported in the journal Lancet Oncology.
SCIENCE
September 7, 2008 | Alan Zarembo, Times Staff Writer
When Maureen Scanlan had a painful kidney stone episode four years ago, she was pleased that her doctor ordered an annual regimen of CT scans to monitor her condition. The scans involved hundreds of razor-thin X-rays of her innards stitched together by a computer into stunningly detailed 3-D images showing the size and location of the stone, down to the millimeter. What she didn't realize was that the perfection of the images was a result of a radiation dose equivalent to more than a dozen standard abdominal X-rays -- all for a condition that though painful is relatively mundane.
BUSINESS
August 30, 2008 | From the Associated Press
The Bush administration can prohibit meatpackers from testing their animals for mad cow disease, a federal appeals court said Friday. The dispute pits the Agriculture Department, which tests about 1% of cows for the potentially deadly disease, against Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, a Kansas meatpacker that wants to test all of its animals. Larger meatpackers opposed such testing. Their argument: If Creekstone Farms were to begin advertising that its cows have all been tested, other companies fear that they too would have to conduct the expensive tests.
SCIENCE
August 5, 2008 | Thomas H. Maugh II and Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writers
Men over the age of 75 should no longer be screened for prostate cancer because the potential harm from the test results -- both physical and psychological -- outweighs any potential benefit from treatment, a federal panel said Monday. Most oncologists already argue against treating most men in that age group for prostate cancer because they are more likely to die from some other cause than from their tumor.
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.
HEALTH
April 14, 2008 | Anna Gosline, Special to The Times
My MATERNAL grandmother had Alzheimer's disease. Before she died, she forgot our names, our faces and, eventually, how to speak and think. But my grandfather's heartbreak was the most painful to witness. I remember watching the two of them on the sofa together in the months before she died. My grandfather, a sometimes severe man not overly disposed to expressions of tender emotion, cooed into my grandmother's ear: "My bride, oh my bride. I love you. Do you hear me? I love you."
HEALTH
April 14, 2008 | By Anna Gosline, Special to The Times
MY MATERNAL grandmother had Alzheimer's disease. Before she died, she forgot our names, our faces and, eventually, how to speak and think.But my grandfather's heartbreak was the most painful to witness. I remember watching the two of them on the sofa together in the months before she died. My grandfather, a sometimes severe man not overly disposed to expressions of tender emotion, cooed into my grandmother's ear: "My bride, oh my bride. I love you. Do you hear me? I love you. " She just stared down blankly, folding napkins.
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