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Sep 29, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- PREPARING FOR DOCTOR'S VISIT CAN PAY OFF

A survey shows only one in three people gather information to prepare for a visit to the doctor while two in three seek out information afterwards. "There is tremendous value in preparing for a doctor's visit," said Dr. Marie Savard, a Philadelphia internist, author and patient advocate. "Studies show that doctors base up to 80 percent of their diagnoses on what patients tell them about their symptoms, history and lifestyle." Preparing in advance helps a patient feel more confident in describing symptoms and raising issues or questions, particularly in cases where he does not understand the doctor's advice. "My advice to all patients is to be informed about your health," Savard said. "The more you are involved in your health care rather than relying solely on your doctor, the healthier you could be." The survey of 1,000 Americans shows seven in 10 leave their doctor's office wishing they had asked more questions.


Advances in the field of plastic surgery have led to improvements in beauty-enhancing procedures, says plastic surgery Dr. Sherrell Aston. Aston is chair of plastic surgery at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Asto says a short-scar facelift, for example, involves only half as much cutting as a traditional lift, meaning shorter recovery, local instead of general anesthesia and an unstretched look. A cheek lift is intended for patients in their 30s and 40s who begin to notice a hollow look below their eyes, fat bulges and a tired appearance. Most lower eyelid surgeries, with or without the laser, involve removing fat alone. The new superficial cheek lift raises the cheek skin underneath the eye to a position it once occupied. No implants or plastic are used. The cheek pad is tied with invisible stitches to tough tissue beside the eye, and does not rely on the weak lower eyelid, Aston said. Most patients are back to work after a long weekend, with no stitches showing, the surgeon said.


Doctors say millions of Americans face declining eyesight after age 40, and many are averse to having their vision problems corrected. A survey shows safety concerns and/or a lack of information keep many people away from vision correction procedures. "Safety was cited by 44 percent of our over-40 respondents as the number-one reason they would not have an elective procedure to get rid of their reading glasses," said Liz Segre, editor of , which conducted the study. "Even the two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents who said they would opt for a vision correction procedure, made one of their first choices (42 percent) the least invasive (CK/Conductive Keratoplasty), and their last choice (68 percent) the most invasive (traditional intraocular implant). "Thirty-eight percent also said lack of information keeps them from considering a vision correction procedure, reinforcing the need to educate and inform Baby Boomers of the safe options that are now available for dealing with their after-40 vision problems," Segre said.


Doctors say a new protein-detection method could be used to monitor prostate cancer patients following surgery and to detect the early signs of breast cancer. The sensitive technique, developed by scientists at Northwestern University, is based on gold nanoparticles and DNA. It can detect prostate specific antigen when present at extremely low levels in a blood sample, researchers said. Prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women are the second leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States. Only lung cancer is more deadly. The scientists said their studies show their method is a million times more sensitive than conventional approaches. The results are published in the journal Science. "The polymerase chain reaction, which duplicates DNA so it can be analyzed, revolutionized forensics, medicine and biotechnology, but we haven't had anything of comparable sensitivity for proteins," said lead researcher Chad Mirkin, director of the Institute for Nanotechnology. "Now we do. This technology will change the way we do cancer diagnostics and treatment."

(Editors: For more information about VISITS, contact John Carney at 212-477-0472. For COSMETIC, Michael Kaplan at 212-537-8295. For VISION, Ramune Carothers at 949-218-0944 or For DIAGNOSIS, Megan Fellman at 847-491-3115 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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