November 20, 2012 |
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to test most people ages 15 to 64, whether they fall in high-risk groups or not, for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. I see only one thing wrong with this proposal: We should have started doing it years ago. Decades ago. Admittedly, it's in more recent years that medicine has learned that treatment for HIV is more successful when it starts earlier rather than later. But long before we had any effective treatments for HIV infection, it was clear that if people knew they had AIDS, they could and usually would take steps to avoid infecting others, through safer-sex measures and the like.
November 27, 2012 |
More than a quarter of new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among people ages 13 to 24, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, about 60% of those young people with HIV don't know they have the virus. The release represents the most recent analyses by the CDC. It was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. According to the CDC, about 12,200 young Americans became infected with HIV in 2010, with African Americans representing more than half of those newly infected.
January 18, 2011 |
Osteoporosis is a disease that often goes undetected in women -- until they break a bone. Now a federal task force recommends osteoporosis screening not just for women 65 and older, as has long been the case, but also for young women who show the same risk factors as a 65-year-old white woman. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report published in the January issue of Annals of Internal Medicine says white women are used as the benchmark because they appear to be at higher risk for the disease than any other ethnic group.
October 19, 2011 |
An independent federal panel and several other leading medical groups are proposing new guidelines for cervical cancer screening -- in the same month that the federal panel made news by recommending against routine PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer. Among the recommendations: that women over age 21 should undergo Pap smears to test for cervical cancer only once every three years, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This syncs somewhat with a new set of proposed guidelines from the American Cancer Society, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, also released Wednesday.
November 18, 2009 |
A core tenet of the healthcare overhaul President Obama is pushing through Congress is that medical care can be improved -- and costs contained -- if the country relies more on experts to determine which procedures and treatments work best. But Monday's mammography report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force delivered a swift and stark reminder that few ideas are more explosive in healthcare. The expert panel -- which recommended that women in their 40s should no longer get annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer -- sparked an outcry from those who say that the federal government is more interested in saving money than in improving women's health, even though the panel did not consider costs in its analysis.
April 23, 2011 |
This story has been corrected. See note at bottom for details. For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer , which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services , including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost. But there's a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.
October 7, 2011 |
When news came Thursday evening that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force would recommend that middle-age men forego routine PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer, at least one longtime researcher rejoiced. “I couldn't agree more with the decision,” said Richard J. Ablin, a research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine who worked on the discovery of PSA, a protein made by the prostate. "It's a test that really can't do what it's purported to do. " For around 40 years, Ablin has argued that most men shouldn't go through with PSA screening because it doesn't actually detect prostate cancer -- rather, it measures levels of PSA in the blood that may or may not indicate the presence of cancer (which must be confirmed through further tests.)
March 10, 1990 |
A routine physical checkup in the 1990s could become something quite different from what you're accustomed to. Doctors will probably be doing a lot less testing and a lot more talking about how to stay well. Most periodic physical exams should be devoted to counseling and motivating patients to adopt more healthful life styles, advises a recent report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of 20 independent physicians and health experts working under the U.S.
June 17, 2002 |
Asking all patients who walk into offices for tests, physicals and appointments two simple questions about whether they have experienced some of the warning signs of depression can swiftly begin to identify 90% of people who suffer from major depression, health experts say. The U.S.
July 5, 2005 |
A federal panel is recommending that all pregnant women, not just those considered at high risk, be screened for the AIDS virus because testing has proven so successful at helping to prevent the spread of the disease to babies. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in 1996 that there was insufficient evidence that screening all pregnant women had any benefit.