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Doctor group seeks to clear confusion in cancer screening

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mammograms at 40 or 50? Every year or every other year? What’s the best colon check? Screening for cancer has gotten more complicated in recent years with evolving guidelines that sometimes conflict. Now a doctors’ group aims to ease some confusion — and encourage more discussion of testing’s pros and cons — […]

Smartphones can detect blood parasites

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prick a finger and have the blood checked for parasites — by smartphone? Scientists are turning those ubiquitous phones into microscopes and other medical tools that could help fight diseases in remote parts of the world. In the newest work, UC Berkeley researchers used a smartphone-run video microscope to target a challenge in […]

J&J seeks bioethics advice on compassionate use of drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dying patients sometimes seek emergency access to experimental medicines, desperate for a last-chance treatment even if there’s little proof it could help. Now drug giant Johnson & Johnson is taking an unusual step, turning to independent bioethicists for advice on when to say yes or no. J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. is beginning […]

Dangers from prescription pills

By Richard Fleming, M.D. Opioids can be very helpful for cancer patients or to help patients get through a short period of intense pain, like from an injury. But they are rarely helpful for chronic pain. They do not work well for this condition, and they can cause serious harm. What are some of the […]

Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

More cancer patients are getting the genes in their tumors mapped to help guide their treatment. New research suggests that isn’t always accurate enough, and a second test could help ferret out the culprit genes. Cancer involves two sets of genetic code — your own and your tumor’s. A study published Wednesday found that mapping […]

Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) — The intensive care unit is a last frontier for physical therapy: It’s hard to exercise patients hooked to ventilators. Some hospitals do manage to help critically ill patients stand or walk even if they’re tethered to life support. Now research that put sick mice on tiny treadmills shows why even a little […]

Antibiotics in children: to use or not to use, that is the question

By Jeff Ribordy, M.D. We live in an age when bacteria are better at resisting antibiotics. Both doctors and patients need to take this into account. This is a big concern when thinking about using antibiotics in children. One of the most common antibiotics used in kids is azithromycin, better-known by its brand name, Zithromax. It […]

Take a hike for your heart

Wednesday, April 1, is National Walking Day and the American Heart Association is encouraging Americans and Sacramento residents to lace up for their heart and get moving. On National Walking Day, a day where hundreds of thousands across the nation take steps to improve their health, Americans are encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes […]

Study: Fast-food limits didn’t cut obesity rate in South L.A.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A much-hailed law that restricted the opening of new stand-alone fast-food restaurants in one of the poorest sections of Los Angeles did not curb obesity or improve diets, a new study found. City lawmakers passed the zoning ordinance in 2008 that limited the opening or expansion of fast-food outlets in a […]

Extra oxygen may spur tumor-fighting cells

A provocative study in mice suggests something as simple as breathing in extra oxygen might give immune cells a boost in attacking cancer. The immune system often can spot and destroy abnormal cells before they grow into cancer. But when tumors manage to take root, they put up defenses to block new immune attacks. Wednesday’s […]

Breastfeeding: Is breast best?

By Michael Vovakes, MD Breastfeeding your baby is a personal matter. But it also is an issue which often draws strong opinions from friends and family. Any new mother probably knows this to be true. Many medical experts strongly recommend breastfeeding. But you and your baby are unique so the final decision is up to […]

Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

By Lauran Neergaard, AP medical writer Studies of baby animals have long suggested that going under anesthesia can have some harmful effects on a developing brain. Now some scientists want to find out whether those same drugs may pose subtle risks for human babies and toddlers. It’s a balancing act: Doctors don’t want to unnecessarily […]

Eye-opener: Teens getting less and less sleep, study shows

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. teens are getting sleepier: Many lack even seven hours of shut-eye each night and the problem has worsened over two decades, a study found. More than half of kids aged 15 and older would need to sleep at least two hours more each night to meet recommendations for adequate rest, heightening […]

Is drinking alcohol healthy?

By Jim Cotter, M.D., MPH In my last column, I talked about how to know if a person may have a problem with drinking. I want to carry on this discussion of alcohol by talking about its potential benefits. Many people have heard that drinking a glass of red wine each day is good for […]

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