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Persistent John Mann acted as the symphony conductor in getting to the root of patient Neil Furst’s terrible pain.
Persistent John Mann acted as the symphony conductor in getting to the root of patient Neil Furst’s terrible pain.



Medical Updates Index

The Mystery of the Agonizing Back
Physicians sorting through vital signs, test results and hard-to-read symptoms in search of a diagnosis often get compared to detectives. Still, last autumn, when Neil Furst, a 54-year-old government worker from Washington, D.C., knocked on the door of much-touted Baltimore internist John Mann, it never entered his mind that he might be signing on with a private eye...

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The Deep Freeze for GI Tumors
Cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold to freeze and get rid of unwanted tissue, has for some time worked well in destroying lesions of the skin, liver and kidneys. But the freezing technique still hasn’t been used on tumors in the gastrointestinal tract, mainly because surgeons use an endoscope to visualize the inside of the body and there has been no cryotherapy delivery system that is thin, long and flexible enough to be passed through that surgical instrument. What’s more, traditional liquid-nitrogen-based cryotherapy posed the threat of...

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Detecting What Mammography May Miss
As a screening device for breast cancer, mammography is the single most effective method, asserts the American Cancer Society. Yet, despite its more than 90 percent level of accuracy in labeling a woman cancer-free, a mammogram still may miss 10 to 15 percent of malignancies, mostly in younger women who often have very dense breast tissue. “As you get older, the density of the breast on the mammogram decreases, and it’s easier to see tumors,” explains Hopkins radiologist David Bluemke, M.D. ...

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A Blood Vessel Disease that Can Be Lethal
Retired Baltimore policeman Tom Manzari is, well, hooked when it comes to fishing. So, last season, when his fingertips became too painful to manipulate the bait, he knew something was wrong...

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If Aneurysms Come in Multiples, Surgery Need Not
A couple of year ago, Gilbert Porter, a builder from Silver Spring, Md., was bothered by what he could only describe as “a pulsation” in his left ear. The 58-year-old had an MRI, and a local neurologist spotted a large, ripe aneurysm ballooning in a cerebral artery...

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The Psychological Side of Gene Testing
While the hum of DNA sequencer machines and their promise to pinpoint the genetic profile of every major cancer fills labs across the country, what to do with the ensuing information at the interface of physician and patient is a mostly unexplored issue. One genetic test, for instance, can pick up any of five mutated genes that confer a lifetime risk of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) approaching 80 percent. But given that HNPCC accounts for just 5 percent or less of all colorectal cancer, who should get the genetic test? ...

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A Plug for a Hole in the Heart
The tiny blood vessel near the pulmonary artery in a developing fetus that forms the ductus arteriosus and supplies blood to the unborn infant’s lower body (bypassing the non-functioning lungs) closes naturally soon after most newborns take their first breath. But for reasons unknown, in a small percentage the duct remains open—or patent—exposing them to risks of endocarditis and congestive heart failure.....

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Folding Away Cystic Fibrosis
It’s a folding problem that any homemaker would understand. That’s what School of Medicine biochemists have discovered goes awry inside the cells of cystic fibrosis patients at the most basic level. The advance promises to speed development of better drugs for the inherited lung-damaging disease that causes about 30,000 mostly white Americans to experience ongoing breathlessness and coughing and repeated bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia....

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