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Posts Tagged "Screening"

Absolutely Maybe

Alzheimer Disease: How Soon Would You Want To Know?

Alice meets a new doctor who wants to screen for Alzheimer disease on her 25th birthday

Have you been forgetful lately? Any difficulty concentrating? Trouble recalling names? Answer “yes” to even one question like that, and there are some who want you to head to a clinic for memory screening. And it’s not because there is a good new treatment for dementia. If only there were. Therapy for dementia remains a [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

A Viewer’s Guide to Mammography Evidence Ping-Pong

Cartoon of woman saying you bet I have questions

You could get a very sore neck watching all the claims and counter-claims about mammography zing back and forth. It’s like a lot of evidence ping-pong matches. There are teams with strongly held opinions at the table, smashing away at opposing arguments based on different interpretations of the same data. Meanwhile, women are being advised [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

The Disease Prevention Illusion: A Tragedy in Five Parts

Cartoon of an early bird catching no worms

Act I: An ounce of “prevention.” “Prevention is better than cure.” Aphorisms like this go back a long way. And most of our dramatic triumphs against disease come from prevention: clean water, making roads and workplaces safer, antiseptic routines in hospital, reducing smoking, immunization, stemming the spread of HIV. Many of our cultural superstitions and greatest [...]

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Observations

3-D Imaging Improves Breast Cancer Screening

stereoscopic 3-D mammogram viewing display breast cancer

The mammograms most women receive are decidedly two-dimensional. An x-ray machine takes images of the breast from the sides, and radiologists examine the resulting image to see if it offers up any hits of potentially cancerous irregularities. These tests, however, are far from perfect. Normal calcium deposits and fibrous tissue can align to create a [...]

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Observations

Routine Mammograms Lead to Overdiagnosis of Breast Cancer

routine mammogram

Breast cancer kills nearly 40,000 women in the U.S. each year—a figure that has been in slow decline in the past two decades, despite (and in part thanks to) improved screening technology and an increase in treatment options. The percentage of women who get breast cancer and survive, however, is a trickier statistic to assess. [...]

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Observations

Circumcision Cuts Prostate Cancer Risk

Circumcision might reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 15 percent, according to new research published online March 12 in Cancer. Of 1,754 men surveyed who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, fewer—percentage-wise—had been circumcised than the 1,645 men who did not have prostate cancer. Men with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer [...]

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Observations

Does Science Need More Compelling Stories to Foster Public Trust?

doctor and chart

The touching stories that advocacy groups are so good at telling—the 49-year old mother whose breast cancer was detected by an early mammogram before it had spread; the 60-year-old neighbor who had a prostate tumor removed thanks to a routine PSA test—should inspire scientists to use anecdotes of their own, argue two doctors from the [...]

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Observations

Midlife Patients Could Benefit by Updating Doctors on Family Medical History

update medical records family history for cancer screening

It’s not unusual to fumble when trying to recall one’s family medical history—especially in the absence of integrated electronic health records (EHRs). But those cumbersome forms and recitations help doctors to predict patients’ risks for disease later in life, especially for partially heritable afflictions, such as breast or colorectal cancers. However, once the new-patient querying [...]

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Observations

Thousands of new drug leads identified in the fight against malaria

malaria drug candidate compounds

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is behind a majority of those deaths. Although newer drug combinations (of artemisinins) proved effective after resistance to widely used treatments appeared, hints of resistance to this newer therapy are also beginning to emerge, creating a darkening cloud over a [...]

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Observations

Is there any way to stop a subway bombing?

moscow-metro-station

Killing commuters with bombs has to be one of the most cowardly (and dastardly) forms of terrorism. And that’s exactly what happened in Moscow earlier today, as suicide bombers from Chechnya detonated themselves as trains pulled into the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations. The Russian capital’s subway system is one of the busiest in the [...]

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Observations

Tumors and concealed weapons beware, ophthalmology is teaching us how to become better searchers

searching rare items luggage tumors

Hunting for a misplaced set of keys or a dead cell phone can be a nuisance. But for people who search for concealed weapons or malignant tumors, finding a target—and one they’re not sure is even there—could be a matter of life or death. Unfortunately, research has shown that the rarer an item has proved [...]

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Observations

What could have stopped the Christmas bomber?

backscatter-xray-device

The would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab apparently ignited a plastic explosive with a syringe sewn into his underwear on Christmas as Northwest flight 253 prepared to land in Detroit. According to press accounts and the complaint filed against him by the U.S. Department of Justice, Abdulmutallab had secured on his body the explosive device, which [...]

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