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Diagnostic Tests

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.
February 15, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Doctors say UnitedHealth Group Inc. is threatening to fine them over something they can't control: patients' behavior. UnitedHealth said that beginning March 1 it could fine a doctor $50 if a patient has tests done in facilities besides Laboratory Corp. of America or other labs that the company has selected. Doctors with patients who go out of network could also be subject to lower reimbursement and to exclusion from United's network. The American Medical Assn.
February 12, 2007 | From Times wire reports
U.S. health officials approved a genetic test last week that can give women with early breast cancer an estimate of whether the disease is likely to return in five to 10 years. Officials cautioned, however, that the test was not perfect and should be used with other information to help doctors and patients decide how aggressively to treat an early tumor. Called MammaPrint and made by the Dutch company Agendia, the test is the first with U.S.
January 29, 2007 | From Times wire reports
Rapid flu tests can help doctors decide when patients need antibiotics and when they do not, researchers have reported. Experts almost universally agree that antibiotics are overused in the U.S. and elsewhere and that this overuse has helped new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria to evolve. Antibiotics are useless against viruses, such as influenza, but bacterial and viral infection often cause very similar symptoms. The new findings, published in the Jan.
December 25, 2006 | From Times wire reports
A new study has dimmed researchers' hopes of detecting heart disease years before it develops with a battery of laboratory tests done on a single blood sample. Doctors traditionally rely on factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity and diabetes to spot people in danger of cardiovascular disease. Many seemingly healthy people have heart attacks and strokes each year, however, and heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide.
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A specially designed chemical gives a 98% accuracy in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, UCLA researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Previously, the only way to determine whether a person suffered from the devastating brain ailment has been to remove some brain tissue or with an autopsy.
November 29, 2006 | Rong-Gong Lin II, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles County health and community leaders are calling for renewed efforts at testing and educating minorities about AIDS, noting that Latinos and blacks in the county with HIV tend to learn of their infection too late to get the maximum benefit from drug therapies.
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