Monday, April 9, 2012

Odds and Ends (2 of 3)

Early Dx of Breast Cancer – If you are a person who had an early diagnosis of a disease that led to prompt treatment and the preservation of your life, than you are the exception – but you are alive and that is what matters to you..  New studies released this past week argue against early and frequent screens for breast cancer and possibly some others because on a population level, very little difference occurs in the outcome.  The outcome is survival.  Does early diagnosis change survival rates?  In many cases it does not, perhaps the difference is that one spends more time worried about the disease and being treated for it, than someone diagnosed later.

HPV Vaccine – Just another example of misleading words.  I don’t recall the story in full but it was about the two vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.  The vaccines are recommended for men and women at increasingly, younger ages, i.e. before either one becomes sexually active.  My problem with the story was that the writer referred to the immunizations as cervical cancer vaccines, which they are NOT. 

Gene Mapping – Not helpful.  Really – there isn’t more to say.  Disease and weight, for that matter, have complex mechanisms for development and environment plays the predominant role.  Further, how can a gene map predict the exposures you are going to have??  Or the behaviors you’ll engage in?  Not gonna happen folks, you just have to take care of yourselves.

Radioactive Dye and Brain Imaging – A few years ago, I wrote about the President's Cancer Panel report which led to calls for reducing radiation, but I cannot remember what the risks associated with radioactive dye was.  I am curious because a pharmaceutical company has been approved to sell a special dye which can ‘light” up plaque in the brain – that may be associated with Alzheimer’s Dementia.
Here is the link to the report  - I refer you again to table 7 which lists the dose of radiation by medical imaging type (i.e X ray, CT and location) and includes nuclear medicine or radiopharmaceuticals - which is what this dye would be.  I feel that the consequences of the procedure, of similar procedures has not been adequately studied.

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