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Improvements in diagnosing diabetes patients

When Pennsylvania residents have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are several medical conditions that they may be more susceptible to than the average person. In particular, people with these types of diabetes may end up developing end-stage renal disease or chronic kidney disease. These are serious medical conditions, and diagnosing them in a timely manner is an important part of keeping kidneys functioning properly.

Due to the fact that the standard methods of determining if a diabetes sufferer might have either kidney condition left room for improvement, doctors started looking for methods other than a person's albumin to creatinine ratio or estimated glomerular filtration rate to diagnose kidney issues. In 2012, two doctors determined that weakening renal function appeared to correlate with a the tumor necrosis factor receptor.

Common problems with diagnosing lupus

Lupus is a disease where the body's immune system attacks a person's tissues, and it is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disease. This disease is frequently misdiagnosed as other conditions, and one reason for this is because there is no definitive test that confirms that a person has lupus. When Pennsylvania doctors determine if patients have lupus, they will look at the symptoms and attempt to rule out other medical conditions.

Along with the fact that there is no definitive way to determine if someone has lupus through a test, this condition is difficult to diagnose because people's symptoms may come and go. Further, lupus has many of the same symptoms as a number of other common medical conditions.

Skilled workers more prone to errors when interrupted

Highly skilled workers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are more prone to make mistakes when interrupted than less skilled ones, according to research. A study on the subject, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and funded by the Office of Naval Research.

According to the study, experienced workers typically complete procedural tasks at a faster rate than less experienced workers. This means that their actions are more closely spaced together and potentially more confusable if interrupted. For example, if experienced nurses are interrupted while preparing to administer a dose of medication, it may be more difficult for them to later remember if the dose was actually administered. Meanwhile, a less experienced nurse may work more slowly and have an easier time remembering.

Misdiagnosing a brown recluse spider bite

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to learn that there are about 40 different conditions that can be misdiagnosed as a brown recluse spider bite. Because these conditions can include skin cancer, Lyme disease, herpes, diabetic ulcers and even antibiotic-resistant staph infection, getting a proper diagnosis is important.

One way medical professionals can determine if a skin lesion was caused by a brown recluse is to use the mnemonic "NOT RECLUSE". For example, doctors look to see if there are numerous bites, the circumstances surrounding where the alleged bite occurred and the time of year. Only about 10 percent of brown recluse bites actually need medical attention, especially if there is pus or rotting skin around the area of the bite.

Health risks associated with truck crashes in Pennsylvania

A recent study by the University of Utah School of Medicine indicates that the health of a truck driver may influence how likely it is that they will be involved in an accident. Researchers looked at the medical records of almost 50,000 commercial truck drivers and their crash histories.

Of the commercial truckers that researchers studied, 34 percent had a health issue associated with poor driving performance. Health issues of these types include diabetes, heart conditions and lower back pain. Many truckers find it difficult to stay healthy since their job requires spending a lot of time sitting. Additionally, it is not uncommon for truckers to eat poor diets.

Women don't go back for mammograms after false positives

Many Pennsylvania women undergo regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer. If a woman receives a false-positive result from a mammogram, she may believe that she has cancer until further tests reveal that she does not. A study has found that the trauma of such a false-positive result may cause many women to skip subsequent mammograms.

A team of researchers from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois conducted the study on false-positive mammograms. The researchers looked at over 741,000 mammograms that were performed in the Chicago area for nearly 262,000 women. According to the study, over 12 percent of the mammograms had yielded a result that turned out to be a false positive. Mammograms may produce false-positive results when they show an abnormality that looks like cancer but is not.

Prostate cancer treatment declines as PSA tests become rarer

Fewer men in Pennsylvania and around the country are being treated for prostate cancer as more and more physicians question the merits of a controversial blood test. Prostate-specific antigen testing has been widely used to detect early-stage prostate cancer in men over the age of 50, but critics of the procedure say that it often signals the presence of cancer when there is none. This leads to unnecessary anxiety and invasive treatments that sometimes do more harm than good according to a University of Michigan researcher who studied the Medicare records of more than 67,000 men diagnosed with the disease.

The research, which was published in the January 2017 edition of the peer-reviewed medical journal Health Affairs, found that the population-based rate of prostate cancer treatment fell by 42 percent between 2007 and 2012. Population-based rates were studied because they reflect changes in both diagnostic and treatment trends. Prostate cancer usually develops very slowly, and a growing number of doctors are saying that it may be advisable for older men diagnosed with the disease to take a wait-and-see approach rather than undergoing debilitating treatments that have been known to cause incontinence and impotence.

American Cancer Society says cancer death rates are down

Pennsylvania residents may be less likely to die from cancer than they used to be, according to the American Cancer Society. The health organization released a report on Jan. 5 showing evidence that cancer death rates have gone down by 25 percent since 1991. The declining rate has resulted in over 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths.

There are several different factors that may be contributing to the declining rates of cancer deaths. The ACS says that two of the major contributing influences are improved cancer screenings and declines in smoking. Declining prostate cancer deaths were attributed to the fact that doctors are no longer recommending PSA blood tests while declining colorectal cancer cases were linked to the increased use of colonoscopies.

Pennsylvania roads may grow safer without cellphones

In December 2016, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration sought public feedback and commentary on rules that it proposed as part of its Driver Distraction Guidelines. In the proposal, the agency sought to combat the fact that despite its prior efforts at education, many people continue creating hazardous road conditions by using their cellphones and other devices while driving. By asking cellphone manufacturers to help combat the problem, the NHTSA hopes to decrease the likelihood that motorists will get distracted this way.

The new proposal works by asking manufacturers to include a driver mode in their phones. This would prevent users from engaging in activities like texting, browsing the web and using certain app functionality when behind the wheel of a car or truck. As a stronger alternative, the agency also recommended the institution of device pairing functions that would disable the screens of any phones that were paired with vehicles.

Symptoms of testicular mesothelioma

Mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. For most patients in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., the disease develops in the lungs, but it can also occur in the heart, abdomen or testicles. Testicular mesothelioma is rare, with only around 100 known cases. That means it is also frequently misdiagnosed.

Asbestos is a natural mineral that is used in several industries. When asbestos fibers are released in the air, they can enter the lungs and become lodged within the body's mesothelial cells. Sometimes they spread to the membrane lining covering the testicles, which contains mesothelial cells. Typical symptoms of testicular mesothelioma include pain, swelling and lumps in the scrotum. Doctors will frequently order an ultrasound or CT scan to diagnose the problem, but the condition is often mistaken for a hernia. Proper diagnosis may come after blood tests, biopsy and/or surgery.