HealthWise at 5 From 4.18 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/18/03

HealthWise at 5 From 4.18

  • Thyroid Cancer

Researchers have uncovered a genetic mistake they say may be responsible for two-thirds of the most common form of thyroid cancer. Scientists at John's Hopkins say a mutation of a gene called B-raf showed up in nearly 70% of the 35 thyroid cancer samples they analyzed. Researchers say the mutation causes thyroid cells to grow out of control, eventually turning into cancer. The scientists say they hope the finding will help lead to better detection methods and treatments.

The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Thyroid cancer affects 22,000 Americans each year and makes up about half of all head and neck cancers. The thyroid gland essentially impacts all cells of the body by regulating metabolism, chemical balance, and hormone production.

  • Hearing Loss

Up to 40% of people over age 65 are hearing impaired. More than 80% of people over age 85 have hearing loss. Yet many still don't realize what they're missing. That's according to researchers at the Universtiy of Washington who are hoping their findings will encourage primary care doctodrs to routinely screen older patients for hearing loss.

"A lot of older americans who have hearing loss tend to blame their inability to understand conversation on their spouse's inability to speak loudly enough. I think people need to recognize that they may have hearing loss, it's a gradual process.  People with hearing loss have twice as high of rates of depressions. They're severely socially isolated and a lot of them have substantial loss of self- esteem," says Bevan Yueh, M.D. of the University of Washington.

The study also revealed that about a third of elderly hearing loss cases are caused by simple things like impacted ear wax or an ear infection things which could be treated by a doctor. In some cases, the patient may need a specialist, and possibly a hearing aid. But the researchers decided that the first step is screening because dealing with the problem can mean better quality of life. 

For more information ( click here).

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