Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent Brazilian researchers have found three distinct patterns of lung damage in patients who died of the H1N1 pandemic flu. They also found evidence of a so-called "cytokine storm," a runaway immune response associated with the lung damage, according to Thais Mauad, MD, PhD, of Sao Paulo University Medical School, ...

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There's no question that CT scans are among the most overused medical tests. One newer application has been using CT scans to detect coronary artery calcification for primary prevention of heart disease. It's a technology of unproven promise, with entities like the USPSTF recommending against it. Worse, especially in light of the recent data suggesting significant radiation exposure from CT scans, it may even be harmful. Patients need to understand ...

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The recent uproar over the new screening mammography recommendations got me thinking about a lot of stuff. One of the lessons cited by some journalists and pundits is on how potentially volatile information should be presented to the public. The USPSTF was excoriated by critics not only for what it said, but how it said it. While the objections over the former can be dismissed as ravings of loud and ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer Emergency physicians and radiologists overwhelmingly choose computed tomography (CT) imaging to diagnose pulmonary embolism, a potentially deadly blockage of lung arteries, a new study found. Ninety percent of radiologists and 96% of emergency physicians use CT as their first-line choice for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, according to a report ...

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With the recent changes in breast cancer screening, mammograms have increasingly used as a political tool. Internist Robert Centor points to an article from Politco, which shows how far it's gone. Not surprisingly, polls have shown that 76 percent of women disagree with the new USPSTF guidelines. And politicians are using this to their advantage. Any suggestion to rein in tests, gets re-framed as, in the case of ...

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Hopefully, by now, people are realizing that more is not necessarily better. A new study reported at the American Heart Association 2009 Scientific Sessions showed that patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) receive large doses of ionizing radiation per hospital admission. They looked at patients treated at 55 academic hospitals and found, on average, each patient received seven studies per AMI admission. The studies included chest X-rays, chest CT, head CT, ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Crystal Phend, MedPage Today Senior Staff Writer Many women at elevated breast cancer risk may refuse MRI as part of their screening program, largely because of fear and inconvenience, researchers found. Among eligible women with dense breasts who were at intermediate to high risk for breast cancer, 42.1% refused additional MRI screening as part of a ...

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Would you take a pill every day to reduce the risk of breast cancer? That's a question Tara Parker-Pope asks in a recent blog entry. Referring to Tamoxifen, a drug that's been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women, she notes that a substantial number said they wouldn't take the drug after hearing about the side effects:

Just 6 percent said they would consider it after ...

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by Dana Griffen Receiving a cancer diagnosis is an upsetting experience for the patient, as well as his or her family and friends. Cancer patients are thrust into a new world with new language and new rules. Knowing where to turn and who you can trust is a huge concern. One of the first things a cancer patient will discover is that he or she will not be treated by only one ...

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One of the best ways to combat unnecessary tests is to truthfully expose their risks and complications. Patients can only make an informed decision after such a discussion with their physicians, and too often, the media ignores publicizing risk. If, for instance, more airtime was spent discussing the risks of breast cancer screening, the outcry wouldn't have been as great. Perhaps that's changing. The Archives of Internal Medicine recently released a study ...

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