Mammography Patient Teaching-Aid Video

Mammography Training

Mammography

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Mammography Patient Teaching Aid Video

Mammography Detects Early Breast Cancer

The earlier cancer is found, the better the chance of a cure. Breast cancer is no exception because small breast cancers are less likely to spread to lymph nodes and vital organs such as the lungs and the brain. Mammography is an early screening test that can detect very small changes in breast tissue before a lump is felt. The low-dose x-ray of the mammogram shows abnormalities in breast tissue, such as masses or calcium deposits. Because an abnormality detected by a mammogram may not be cancerous, some follow-up testing is often required by a physician for a final diagnosis.

Capturing Clear Tissue Images

A mammogram is a simple test that uses a machine designed specifically to observe breast tissue. During the x-ray, the breast is positioned on the machine’s flat surface while it is compressed by another flat surface. Flattening the breast tissue allows the radiologist to see a clearer image of the tissue. The compression of the breast between the plates is done twice—once vertically and once horizontally.

Tutorial on Mammography Types

There are three basic types of x-ray mammography: standard, digital, and three-dimensional (3D). The standard mammogram takes an x-ray, and the image is printed on a large sheet of film for review by a radiologist using a light box. A digital mammogram (called full-field digital mammography, or FFDM) takes a low-dose x-ray image that is stored digitally on a computer and reviewed on a digital screen. Because the x-ray images are easier to store and retrieve with digital mammograms, they are becoming more common. The newest type of mammogram is 3D mammography (or breast tomosynthesis). For this x-ray, the breast is compressed between the two flat plates only once, and the machine takes many low-dose x-rays as it moves around the breast. A computer then arranges the images  into a 3D picture. Three-dimensional mammography is not covered under all health insurance policies, but it may allow doctors to see the breast tissues more clearly.

Screening Recommendation Depends on Risk Factors

Approximately one in every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, and the risk of breast cancer increases dramatically with age. Regular screening mammograms in women over age 40 years have been proven to lower the number of deaths due to breast cancer.

Your doctor will recommend a breast cancer–screening schedule after taking into account your age and specific risk factors. The general recommendation for women with an average risk of breast cancer is for mammograms to begin at age 45 years, or as early as age 40 years if the patient chooses. For these women, follow-up mammograms should occur every 1 to 2 years. Women with a higher risk of breast cancer, such as those with a family history of breast cancer or with certain genetic markers for breast cancer, may need to start screening earlier and receive screening more often. Unfortunately, mammography is not a perfect testing procedure. X-rays of breast tissue may not show all cancers, or they may falsely show an abnormality that is not present. This imperfection is why repeated screening on an agreed-upon schedule is important.

Preparing for a Successful Mammogram

If you are going to a mammography facility for the first time, bring a list of the places and dates of mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you have had before. On the day of the mammogram, refrain from using creams, deodorants, powders, and perfumes under the arms or near the breasts. In some women, the pressure used to flatten the breast causes some temporary discomfort, but most women do not consider mammograms painful. To minimize the discomfort of a mammogram, schedule your appointment when your breasts are not tender or swollen and try to avoid the week just before your period.

If you have any questions about mammograms for breast-cancer screenings or community resources that provide affordable low or no-cost screenings for women, speak with your trusted local pharmacist or another healthcare provider.

Link to Original Article in US Pharmacist Magazine

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Upping coffee consumption could help you live longer

A new study suggests that higher coffee consumption could reduce the risk of death from all causes

As one of the world’s most popular beverages, it is clear that us humans do love a good cup of coffee. And a new study drawing on data from over half a million Europeans suggests that this penchant for a little pick-me-up could have a range of health benefits, by revealing an association between higher coffee consumption and a reduced risk of death from all causes.

The research was carried out by scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London, who analyzed cancer and nutrition data from more than 500,000 Europeans over the age of 35. These subjects hailed from 10 different European countries, each with their distinctive styles of coffee consumption, such as the espresso sippers of Italy and the cappuccino-lovers of the UK.

This in itself revealed a few interesting insights. The people of Denmark, it was found, boast the highest level of coffee consumption by volume, at 900 mL (30 oz) per person per day, while the Italians consumed the least at around 92 mL (3.04 oz). The more coffee people drank, the more likely they were to be smokers, drinkers, meat-eaters, younger and not huge fans of fruit and vegetables.

Following up with the same participants 16 years later, the study found that 42,000 deaths had occurred from causes including cancer, circulatory diseases, heart failure and stroke. Adjusting for factors such as diet and smoking, the team says that subjects in the highest quartile of coffee consumption had significantly lower mortality rates than those that didn’t drink coffee.

“We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases,” said lead author Dr. Marc Gunter of the IARC. “Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”

Among these insights was evidence that coffee drinkers may have healthier livers and better glucose control, something the researchers uncovered by analyzing metabolic biomarkers in a subset of 14,000 people. While coffee is know to contain compounds that interact with the body such as caffeine, diterpenes and antioxidants, the researchers say further research is needed pin down which ones in particular offer these apparent health benefits, along with how much would actually be a healthy amount to consume.

“Due to the limitations of observational research, we are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee,” says Gunter. “That said, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking – up to around three cups per day – is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits.”

The research was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source: Imperial College London

 

 

Common antibiotics help patients recover from MRSA skin abscesses

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded trial counters current thinking about treatment effectiveness.

MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics and commonly cause skin infections that can lead to more serious or life-threatening infection in other parts of the body. In new findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that two common, inexpensive antimicrobials can help patients heal from MRSA skin abscesses. The findings suggest that current treatment options for MRSA still have a role, even as scientists continue to search for new antimicrobial products. The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

The study was conducted at hospitals across the United States and involved 796 children and adults with small, uncomplicated skin abscesses.  All patients had their abscesses opened and drained as part of standard MRSA treatment. The patients were then sorted into three groups, each of which received a different, ten-day oral treatment regimen. One group received clindamycin, a second group received trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), and the third group received placebo.

The group treated with clindamycin had an 81.7 percent cure rate, and the group that received TMP-SMX had an 84.6 percent cure rate. The placebo group had a 62.9 percent cure rate. According to the researchers, the findings contradict a commonly held belief that antimicrobial treatment is little better than doing nothing for MRSA skin infections. It corroborates the findings of another NIAID-funded study(link is external) demonstrating that TMP-SMX treatment resulted in better clinical outcomes than placebo for MRSA skin abscesses, and also upholds other findings(link is external) that both clindamycin and TMP-SMX are equally beneficial in treating MRSA skin infections.

The researchers note, however, that the side effects of clindamycin and TMP-SMX (including nausea, diarrhea, and possible new Clostridium difficile infections) can be severe. In addition, some strains of Staphylococcus are resistant to clindamycin. The authors recommend that healthcare providers weigh the risks, but not dismiss these antimicrobials out of hand as viable treatment options for MRSA skin abscesses.

Additional funding for the study was provided in part by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Click here for a link to the National Institutes of Health article 

Enzyme could help fight against mid-life obesity and fitness loss

National Institutes of Health discovery of enzyme in mice could lead to new class of medications to fight mid-life obesity

A team of scientists led by researchers from the National Institutes of Health has identified an enzyme that could help in the continuous battle against mid-life obesity and fitness loss. The discovery in mice could upend current notions about why people gain weight as they age, and could one day lead to more effective weight-loss medications.

“Our society attributes the weight gain and lack of exercise at mid-life (approximately 30-60 years) primarily to poor lifestyle choices and lack of will power, but this study shows that there is a genetic program driven by an overactive enzyme that promotes weight gain and loss of exercise capacity at mid-life,” said lead study author Jay H. Chung, Ph.D., M.D., head of the Laboratory of Obesity and Aging Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH.

Chung and his team used mice to test the potentially key role this enzyme plays in obesity and exercise capacity. They administered an inhibitor that blocked the enzyme in one group being fed high-fat foods, but withheld it in another. The result was a 40 percent decrease in weight gain in the group that received the inhibitor.

The study, the first to link the increased activity of this enzyme to aging and obesity, appears in the current issue of Cell Metabolism. Its findings could have ramifications for several chronic illnesses. With lower rates of obesity, the researchers say, rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases that tend to increase with age, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, could fall as well.

Researchers have known for years that losing weight and maintaining the capacity to exercise tend to get harder beginning between ages 30 to 40 — the start of midlife. Scientists have developed new therapies for obesity, including fat-fighting pills. However, many of those therapies have failed because of a lack of understanding about the biological changes that cause middle-aged people to gain weight, particularly around their abdomen.

Click here to read the rest of this article originally published by National Institutes of Health

Kidney Stone Patient Guide

Kidney Stones

Painful Mineral Deposits in Urinary Tract

Kidney stones are formed from a combination of minerals and waste materials. The stones may not cause symptoms until they move from the kidneys through the ureters and into the bladder.

Even small kidney stones can cause intense pain until they pass out of the body. Larger stones may lodge in the urinary tract, leading to infection.

Most kidney stones pass on their own over several days, but some are too large and must be broken up with sound waves or be surgically removed. Patients who have kidney stones are at higher risk for future stone formation. Dietary changes and medications can help lower this risk.

Cause Intense Pain Over Several Days Until Passed Out of the Body

Kidney stones are a common urinary tract disorder, accounting for many emergency room visits in the United States each year.

Risk Factors

Kidney stones are almost twice as common in men as in women. Age is also important; the risk for men increases after age 40 years, while women are more affected during their 50s. Even children can develop kidney stones; teenage girls have the highest risk.

At any age, a diet high in salt, sugar, and protein increases the risk. Drinking an insufficient amount of water may also contribute to stone formation. Overweight or obese people are at higher risk, as are those with a family or personal history of kidney stones. Certain drugs, as well as diseases of the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract disorders, hyperparathyroidism, and gout, all increase the risk for kidney stone formation.