Mammograms Pointless in Women Under 40?
The mammography controversy has ignited again, with a new study finding that mammograms frequently result in false positives when used to screen women under age 40, Reuters reports. In the study of more than 117,000 women ages 18 to 39, researchers found that mammography often detects lesions that are not cancerous, but require follow-up testing. Follow-up testing is associated with harms such as radiation exposure, the researchers noted. In women ages 35 to 39, 12.7 per 1,000 required a follow-up test after their initial mammogram. But few lesions detected by mammograms were cancerous in this group, according to Reuters. The results were published yesterday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. [Read more: Mammograms catch few cancers in young women: study.]
8 Ways to Prevent Medication Errors in Kids
A child with a chronic medical condition, such as sickle cell anemia, cancer, or epilepsy, may require several doses of medication per day—a routine that can be tough to keep up with. So tough, in fact, that a new study, presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver finds that errors in giving medications to children at home are not uncommon. Researchers identified 128 medication errors—such as giving too much or too little of a drug—during visits to the homes of 83 children between December 2007 and September 2009. Seventy three of those errors had the potential to harm the child, while 10 errors actually caused injury, U.S. News's January Payne reports.
"In some homes, we found up to six errors," says lead study author Kathleen Walsh, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Homes that didn't have a centralized location for medication and those where children were responsible for administering their own medications, with no parental oversight, were more likely to have errors, she says.
But Walsh emphasizes that such mistakes are preventable—if parents take precautions. [Read more: 8 Ways to Prevent Medication Errors in Kids.]
- Keeping Your Child Safe in the Hospital: Avoiding Medical Errors
- Worried About the Recall? 3 Non-Drug Alternatives to Children's Medications
Treating Depression When Medication Won't Work
For those with intractable depression, there may be relief, according to a new study published in Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers tested transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, on 95 adults whose depression was not alleviated by medication. After three weeks of therapy, about 14 percent of participants no longer had depression, HealthDay reports. In a comparison group that received a sham treatment, only 5 percent improved. Study author Mark George of the Medical University of South Carolina told HealthDay: "We have settled a fundamental question about [TMS] therapy, which is: 'Does it work?'" The answer, he says, is yes.
Last year, U.S. News contributor Ford Vox wrote about George's magnetic therapy research. In TMS, intense magnetic pulses are aimed at a particular part of the brain to induce a burst of electrical activity. The only side effect that bothers some patients is a sensation akin to tapping on the skull, Vox wrote.
George didn't invent the TMS machine (essentially a powerful electromagnet). More than 20 years ago, scientists were beaming TMS pulses at different locations in the brain to observe how the body reacted. TMS, George came to realize, could be more than a tool for studying the brain. [Read more: Mark George: Treating Depression With an Electromagnet.]
- Chronically Depressed? What to Do When Antidepressants Don't Work
- Brain Stimulation: Can Magnetic or Electrical Pulses Help You?
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