Sunday, 7 October 2007

Mini-scanner searches out hidden heart disease

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A new futuristic-looking device is able to find symptoms of heart disease in a painless and non-invasive way. These new scanners, which are actually minature ultrasound machines, can be used to scan the head and neck area to look for blocked neck arteries. Chances are, say doctors, if these arteries show signs of trouble, you can be sure that the heart needs some attention as well.

There are pros and cons to using the device. It can spot trouble in patients who are not yet having symptoms, for instance. But some health experts say that the benefit of using the ultrasound as a screening tool has not been established. Still, heart experts are excited, and one even compared it to a "mammogram of the head." Awkward to imagine, but I think I get the picture.

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