Are Mammograms Always Safe?

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The thought of getting breast cancer strikes fear in most women. Mammograms and breast self-exams (BSEs) are usually recommended to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer. At one point, it was recommended that women 40 and older get a mammogram every other year, then every year starting at age 50. However, the current consensus among most professionals is to recommend various time frames depending on factors such as breast size, medical history, and whether or not the patient has implants. As with many medical areas, there are fears associated with mammograms and their potential effectiveness. These include: 1. The Radiation in Mammograms Often, women will ask about the possibility of mammograms causing cancer, and whether it is safe to get a mammogram on a regular basis. However, a recent study that compared 100,000 women in the 40-74 age range found the rate of radiation-based cancer to be roughly 125 women, with 16 deaths. The same study found that over 960 lives were saved by the screening, so the benefits far outweighed the risks involved with the radiation. In women with larger breasts, it is sometimes recommended that they get a mammogram every other year until age 74—when most doctors agree that mammograms can stop altogether—instead of every year. This is because larger breasts require more x-ray views than women with normal-sized breasts. A regular mammogram uses two views, but women with larger breasts usually require four views—which means they are exposed to more radiation during a mammogram. In this case, many doctors are now telling women with large breasts to get a mammogram every other year, unless there is a family history of breast cancer or some other high-risk factor. Women with normal-sized breasts can get regular mammograms every year from age 50 to 74. 2. Mammograms and Sagging Breasts Women also may worry about mammograms causing sagging breasts, but there has been no research to support this. Saggy breasts have been associated with many things, including a high-fat diet, smoking, aging, and regular sun-tanning; however, having mammograms does not make your breasts sag. Some women try exercises to increase their breast size and firm up their breasts, but since breasts are made completely of fat, this doesn’t help much. If you are looking to prevent saggy breasts, exercises to strengthen the underlying chest muscles can give the appearance of upright breasts, so these types of exercises are not a bad idea. Just don’t expect your breasts to look perfect just because you’re exercising them! 3. Mammograms and Breast Implants Women may also think that, because they have breast implants, they can forgo their mammograms—but that is simply not the case. Of course, your doctor may recommend the every-other-year rule if you have implants, just as they do for women with large breasts, but whether you have implants or not, mammograms are essential to most women. Even for women who have had a mastectomy, it is recommended that they have regular mammograms to view the remaining underlying breast tissue. 4. Some Final Thoughts Most women should not be afraid to get mammograms, but if you have any questions about your particular situation, it is highly recommended that you speak to your ... Read more

Radiological & Non Radiological Testing in Herpes …

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If you have had a cold sore, then you are familiar with the Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two types of the virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the virus that produces cold sores on the lips, but it can also cause sores around the genitals. HSV-2, ... Read more


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Neuroscientists Xu L, Wu X, et al. at the College of Information Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China provide evidence that discrimination between patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be improved via extending a multi-modality algorithm associated with multi-modality use. In their study published in the journal: Comput Methods Programs Biomed, 2015, a well-developed method in pattern recognition and machine learning, termed ‘sparse representation-based classification (SRC) was applied to a multi-modality classification framework named the ‘weighted multi-modality SRC (wmSRC).  The data from the latter system includes three modalities of volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) and florbetapir PET previously used to classify AD/MCI patients. What was found was that using this expanded algorithm an accuracy of 94.8 was achieved for AD versus controls, 74.5% for MCI versus controls, and 77.8 percent for progressive MCI versus stable MCI.  These values are reported to be superior or comparable with results of other current models used in other recent multi-modality research. The complete article is available at:  Elsevier Ireland Ltd. And Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2015 Aug 10. pii: S0169-2607(15)00201-1. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2015.08.004. [Epub ahead of ... Read more

MRI Assessment May Help to Define Pancreatic …

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A recent pilot study suggests that MRI assessment may be useful in defining pancreatic inflammation that is associated with type 1 diabetes.  The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and authored by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center, involved the use of coated iron nanoparticle approved by the FDA as an iron replacement therapy: ferumoxytol.  It is useful for this purpose because it leaks out of blood vessels when inflammation is present and then is taken up by the macrophages involved in the inflammatory process which is autoimmune in nature.  MRI assessment may provide additional information in addition to blood tests for autoantibodies which are now used to mark the possibility of disease. As explained by Jason Gaglia, MD, MMSc, one of the investigators in the section of immunobiology at Joslin: “"Many people have genetic variants that put them at risk for type 1 diabetes", but there is, at present, no perfect marker for predicting whether someone will develop full-blown diabetes.  Another way in which MRI assessment may be useful is in following possible progression of inflammation to autoimmune disease.  Instead of years of measurements, Gaglia states that “you could have an answer in a matter of months. This pilot study involved a limited number of subjects – 11 patients and 10 controls so will need to be repeated with larger numbers before the evidence can be considered reliable and valid, particularly since inflammation was observed to vary across the pancreas between and within individuals.  But the authors believe that this imaging technique utilizing Ferumoxytol-MRI could have a many applications in diabetes research and improve the understanding of the natural history of type 1 diabetes.  It may also have clinical applicability in screening certain individuals susceptible to disease.  See more at: ... Read more

FDA Approves Pacemaker with MRI Scanning Abilities…

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A pacemaker system enables patients to receive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans with a limited exclusion zone. Biotronik (Berlin, Germany), a manufacturer of cardiovascular medical devices, reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given their approval for its Entovis pacemaker system with ProMRI technology. FDA approval includes both single chamber (SR-T) and dual-chamber (DR-T) Entovis pacemakers when implanted with Setrox pacing leads. About 50,000 single-chamber pacemakers are presently implanted in the United States on an annual basis; until today, these patients have been unable to undergo MRI scans.  Biotronik is the very first company in the United States to offer both single- and dual-chamber pacemakers approved for use in an MRI setting. In addition, Biotronik is also the first company worldwide to offer the present generation of pacing leads with ProMRI pacemakers. Setrox, including versions released under other names, is the most used lead in MRI pacemakers on the market today with over 850,000 leads sold globally. “With the Entovis longevity and the history of lead reliability, this is a system that will serve a wide variety of pacemaker patients for the foreseeable, and unforeseen, future needs,” said electrophysiologist at John Muir Medical Center in Concord and Walnut Creek (CA, USA), and a participant in the ProMRI study, Carleton Nibley, MD. The Entovis system provides benefits over current pacemakers approved as MR-conditional. Patients with approved Entovis pacemakers and leads only require a dutiful radiology staff of their device and the staff will confirm the patient meets the standard to receive an MRI scan. FDA approval came only 16 months following the first clinical study commenced, and 5 months following the approval of that study’s development to include full-body MRI scans. Such studies are demanded by the FDA for product evaluation, and are used to assess the safety and efficacy of Biotronik’s existing single- and dual-chamber Entovis pacemaker systems and Setrox 53- and 60-cm leads during MRI scans. Such devices are already commercially available in the United States, but were not yet FDA approved for use in an MRI setting. “The Biotronik Biotronik Entovis ProMRI pacemaker system is the latest example of our commitment to excellence and meaningful innovation in supporting patient treatment and quality of life. We are proud to be able to satisfy the demand for state-of-the-art devices that allow physicians to deliver optimal care to the increasing number of pacemaker patients who may someday need an MRI," said Biotronik executive vice president of sales and marketing, Paul Woodstock. Entovis devices include Biotronik Home Monitoring technology, which offers surveillance of the patient’s device every day, and provides the most advanced physiologic therapy accessible using closed-loop stimulation (CLS). The Setrox active-fixation pacing leads have a lithe distal end, fractal coating, and steroid elution to guarantee excellent handling and stable fixation, as well as high electrical ... Read more

Weak Chemical Forces Combined to Fortify Novel Imaging …

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Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Hyunjoon Kong, graduate student and member of the Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering research theme at the Institute for Genomic Biology, Cartney Smith, and colleagues made it a ... Read more

Recovery Time Following Concussions Could be Longer …

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A study released on concussion patients employing diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) discovered that males took longer to recover following a concussion than females did. Results of the study, which demonstrate that DTI can be used as a bias-free way to ... Read more

Targeted Biopsy Neutralizes Low-risk Prostate Cancer…

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More men who are under the impression that they have low-risk prostate cancers are opting for active surveillance, abandoning treatment and observing the cancer closely with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, digital rectal exams, and ... Read more

Radiotherapy May Be Improved with New Agent…

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Researchers from The University of Manchester, a branch of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, have verified the potential of a drug that enhances the overall effectiveness of radiotherapy in halting tumor growth and progression. Utilizing the ... Read more
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