Angelina Jolie's Announcement Heightens Interest in BRCA, But This Testing Is Not for Everyone
A test for mutations in the BRCA1 gene helped inform actress Angelina Jolie's recent headline-making decision to undergo a double mastectomy to mitigate what doctors estimated to be an 87% risk of developing breast cancer. The test confirmed she has a mutated BRCA1 gene, one of two genes for which mutations are linked with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. However, the test is not useful for everyone – only 0.2% of the U.S. population carries a BRCA mutation. Those who should consider testing include people at higher risk due to family history or certain other risk factors. Read more...
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A new strain of avian influenza A H7N9 has infected 131 people and caused 36 deaths, as of May 17, in China since the first cases were reported in March. The virus is raising concern because it does not typically infect humans; however, evidence suggests the majority of those affected came into contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments. While no cases have been found in the U.S. or in travelers returning to the U.S., the CDC is providing information about the virus to healthcare practitioners and public health professionals in an effort to protect against spread of the infection.
Far too few Americans with prediabetes know they have the condition, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, about one in three U.S. adults 20 and older (about 79 million people) had prediabetes, which can lead to full-blown type 2 diabetes, but only about 11% were aware of it. Treating prediabetes early with dietary changes, weight loss, and increased physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The CDC announced that recent data analysis shows more than half a million U.S. children exceed the agency's current threshold for lead exposure. This report comes after the CDC reduced the "level of concern" by half last year and replaced it with a new reference value. While progress has been made in reducing blood lead levels of young children in the U.S., the CDC recognizes that there is more yet to be accomplished.