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Preventive Services Task Force

NEWS
October 19, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
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.
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HEALTH
May 2, 2011
How to choose medical care that you truly need: • Familiarize yourself with the evidence for and against certain screenings. You may not need that vascular check after all. Start with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's guidelines for women and for men . These agencies have weighed the recommendations from various medical groups and specialties and arrived at...
NEWS
November 20, 2012 | By Karin Klein
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.
NEWS
November 27, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
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.
NATIONAL
November 18, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
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.
HEALTH
April 23, 2011 | Harris Meyer, Kaiser Health News
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.
HEALTH
December 19, 2011 | By Paul VanDevelder, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When my family doctor called five years ago with the news that my PSA levels had spiked, I hung up the phone and did what all of us do. I panicked. I thought, "So this is how I'm going to die. " Then came the delayed second reaction: This can't be right! I'm a teetotaling, nonsmoking, very fit middle-aged baby boomer, a husband and a father of a 13-year-old daughter. This just wasn't in the Tarot cards. Fortunately, I have five or six very close doctor friends, so I called one of them right away.
NEWS
October 7, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
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.)
NEWS
November 22, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
This might be tough for parents who want to swoop in and fix their children's every problem, but a study found that half of the teenagers who screened positive for depression got better in six weeks without treatment. Two aspects of the teenagers' conditions seemed to predict whether the depression would ease without treatment: the severity of the symptoms and whether the symptoms persisted for six weeks, the researchers, led by Dr. Laura Richardson of Seattle Children's Research Institute, said in an article published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
SCIENCE
December 17, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Looking for ways to save money in 2014? Here's some advice from doctors: Stop buying vitamins. Time after time, studies have shown that vitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent disease or death. And yet consumers keep buying them, lament the authors of an editorial published in Tuesday's edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. A 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 53% of American adults used some type of supplement in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamin/multimineral formulations being the most popular.
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