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Briefs: Doctors, patients divided on new mammogram recommendations

divided over mammogram guidelines

Confusion reigned late last year after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed its recommendations on mammography, suggesting most women start routine scans at age 50 rather than 40 and reduce frequency to every two years. Now an editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine suggests a divide has emerged between doctors and patients, with doctors more inclined to accept new recommendations. Most of the 345 doctors who responded to an online poll said they would stop suggesting routine mammograms to women in their 40s, and most would advise women 50 to 74 to have them only every other year. But most of the 241 patients who responded said they did not believe in giving up routine mammograms in one's 40s — even if the doctor recommended a change — and were not likely to switch to every other year. There is no indication insurers have cut back on coverage, a health insurance association official says.

Pipe, cigar smokers at risk

Pipe and cigar smokers may say they don't inhale, but a new study suggests otherwise. The study, based on breathing tests in people ages 48 to 90, found that the pipe and cigar smokers had more than double the risk for abnormal lung function that contributes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a leading cause of death — even if they abstained from cigarettes. Those who also smoked cigarettes were at more than triple the risk, according to the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Driving impairs our listening ability

You can drive while you talk and talk while you drive, but you will perform worse at both. It has long been proved that having a conversation, on the phone or with a passenger, while driving can make you a worse driver. But now researchers from the University of Illinois have found that driving can make you a worse listener. In a test using a driving simulator, drivers remembered 20 percent less of what they heard when they were driving compared with when they were sitting still and listening, said Gary Dell, a psychology professor and co-author of the study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

Times wires

More about zinc in denture adhesives

Many readers responded to a story in Monday's St. Petersburg Times about lawsuits claiming that zinc in denture adhesives creams such as Super Poligrip and Fixodent led to neurological problems. Among the questions:

Does the powder form of Super Poligrip contain zinc?

No. Two other Poligrip products also have no zinc — Super Poligrip Comfort Seal Strips and Super Poligrip Free.

Are there alternatives to denture adhesive creams?

Several readers called to say they like Sea Bond denture adhesive wafers and Ezo Denture Cushions.

Are products such as multivitamins that contain more zinc than the U.S. recommended daily allowance safe?

Although the recommended daily allowance for zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women, most adults can safely tolerate up to 40 mg of zinc per day.

Richard Martin, Times staff writer

Briefs: Doctors, patients divided on new mammogram recommendations 02/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:29pm]

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