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Sep 10, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- COLONOSCOPY STILL THE BEST

Researchers report a colonoscopy is still the most sensitive, accurate screening test for colorectal cancer. The scientists say their study, published the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows only 10 percent of large precancerous polyps is missed during conventional colonoscopy, which prevents about 80 percent of colorectal cancers from developing by removing precancerous polyps. The study authors say there is no evidence any radiographic test, including CT colonography, also called virtual colonoscopy, prevents cancer development. "It has been clear for some time that colonoscopy is not a perfect test," said Dr. Douglas Rex, president of the American College of Gastroenterology. "On the other hand, based upon the literature to date, colonoscopy is still the best test and the current gold standard for colorectal cancer screening and prevention."

DRUG THERAPY CUTS STROKE RISK

Treating patients with the drug aprotinin can reduce the risk of stroke by 47 percent in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The finding comes in a study, published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, which showed use of aprotinin reduced the need for a blood transfusion by 39 percent. Blood transfusions during CABG surgery have been associated with an increased risk of stroke. Stroke and neurological injury occur in 5 percent of the more than 300,000 such surgeries performed annually. "Our results highlight that aprotinin therapy might be recommended in all primary CABG surgeries after applicability to individual centers and patients is considered," said lead investigator Dr. Artyom Sedrakyan of the Yale School of Medicine. "About 10 strokes could be avoided in every 1,000 CABG patients with the use of aprotinin, which is a substantial stroke reduction benefit."

DOCTORS URGE HEART SCREEN FOR SICK INFANT'S FAMILY

Doctors recommend heart screenings for the brothers, sisters and parents of infants born with life-threatening abnormalities of the left side of the heart. The scientists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say in the journal Pediatrics the relatives could have less severe, but related, heart problems the test could uncover. Dr. Jeffrey Towbin, professor of pediatrics, and Dr. John Belmont, professor of molecular and human genetics, found the parents and siblings of children with such heart defects have a fivefold increased risk of having an abnormality called bicuspid aortic valve. "What this tells us, is that multiple other relatives, including parents and siblings, are at risk for progressive heart disease and that they should be screened by a cardiologist," Towbin said.

DOCTORS QUAKE AT SOME BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS

Doctors say they do not always feel comfortable or sufficiently trained for a new role, treating an increasing number of children with behavioral issues. The study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, published in Pediatrics, notes community pediatricians estimate some 15 percent of the children they see have behavioral health problems. Lead author Jane Williams says Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the most common of these. Pediatricians feel confident in diagnosing and prescribing treatment for the condition. However, when a child is suffering from anxiety or depression, they feel less secure, the study shows. Fewer than half the pediatricians said they frequently diagnose anxiety and depression. Those that did typically use questionnaires in making the diagnosis and prescribe drugs from a class that includes Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.

(Editors: For more information COLONOSCOPY, contact Thomas Fise at (703) 820-7400 or info@acg.gi.org. For STROKE, Karen Peart at (203) 432-1326 or karen.peart@yale.edu. For HEART, Kimberlee Barbour at (713) 798-7971 or kbarbour@bcm.tmc.edu. For BEHAVIORAL, Robert Conn at (336) 716-4587 or rconn@wfubmc.edu)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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