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Health Watch

Men urged to check for prostate cancer

More Utahns will be diagnosed with prostate cancer than with breast cancer this year. About 1,000 Utah men will learn they have this disease.That has prompted the society to encourage men 50 and older to discuss their risks and options with health-care providers.

Prostate cancer is a serious disease that can be successfully t5reated if detected early. So the agency encouraged doctors to take an active role in the awareness campaign and inform patients about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer intervention. The agency suggests that otherwise healthy men over age 50 should be offered Prostate-Specific Antigen blood tests and digital rectal examinations each year. And high-risk individuals such as those with a family history of prostate cancer or African-Americans should consider receiving the annual exam even earlier.

For additional prostate cancer guidelines or general cancer information, call the society at 1-800-227-2345.

Helping diabetics chart blood sugar levels

Diabetes Support Systems Inc. and Interactive Disease Management have introduced a new system for managing blood sugar information. The system, known as GlucoTrac, uses any touchtone phone to inpu6t blood sugar averages into a database. Typically, individuals with diabetes track their blood sugar information in logbooks, which often go unmonitored by health-care professionals.

With GlucoTrac, each month the patient and the physician are sent a report that charts the blood sugar levels, allowing the physician to identify trends, make adjustments in m edication and have a better picture of the patient's overall diabetes control.

While it's a simple process to understand, the technology that makes it work is sophisticated. Beyond gathering blood sugar averages, GlucoTrac has to be flexible enough to ask the patient quality of life and risk assessment questions and report the results.

For more information, contact Bryan McFurn, 1-800-252-0207, ext. 617.

Hearing loss study

Rockefeller University seeks families with a history of hearing impairment to participate in a study aimed at identifying the genetic cause of non-syndrome hearing loss. That condition is seen with a loss of hearing but not simultaneously ossurring medical conditions. "By focusing on families with a history of hearing loss, we are attempting to find gene that are involved in the process of hearing. This information could aid in the development of intervention strategies to prevent and treat hearing loss," said Suzanne Leal, principal investigator of the study.

Families in which at least two member have lost hearing before age 45 are being recruited for the study. They are asked for a copy of their hearing test results, medical records relevant to hearing loss and a small blood sample. If no medical records are available, arrangements will be made for the appropriate medical evaluations. All information is confidential.

For more information, call Leal at 212-327-7992.