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Diagnosing Strep Throat: What You Need To Know About Rapid Tests

Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) is one of the most important causes of acute upper respiratory tract infection. “Early diagnosis and treatment of Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and further complications such as rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis. “

Current Strep A Testing Methods

Labs have traditionally used conventional identification procedures for Group A Streptococcus from throat swabs, which involve the isolation and subsequent identification of viable pathogens by culture techniques that require 18-24 hours or longer.   (more…)

Molecular Lateral Flow Diagnostics- A New Era for Point-of-Care Testing

If you’re like many physicians and Point of Care (POC) laboratories, you may be dealing with suboptimal performance from some of your current diagnostic methods. For example, conventional Rapid Influenza Diagnostics Tests (RIDTs) vary in terms of sensitivity and specificity whenRapid Influenza Diagnostics Tests (RIDTs) vary in terms of sensitivity and specificity when compared with viral culture or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). compared with viral culture or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Product insert information and research publications indicate that in general, RIDTs sensitivities are approximately 50-70%. (more…)

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Infertility – Important Women’s Health Issues

April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month in the U.S., which aims to raise public awareness about the impact of STDs and the importance of preventing, testing for, and treating STDs. In addition, April 22-28 is National Infertility Awareness Week – a good time to talk about women’s health and the risks of infertility STDs can pose.

 Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are commonly spread from person to person via sexual contact. Also referred to as STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or venereal disease, they represent a significant women’s health issue – worldwide.

The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates there are more than 1 million new STIs acquired daily worldwide, with 1 in 4 sexually active adolescent females infected. (more…)

Automating RPR Syphilis Testing: Workflow and Patient Care Benefits

Automating RPR Syphilis TestingSyphilis: From Near-Eradication to Resurgence

When it comes to syphilis, most everyone has the same first thought: Wait, didn’t we solve that a while ago?

Syphilis was almost eradicated in the U.S., but is now on the rise – and it’s reaching 20 year highs.

Europe has also seen a resurgence of syphilis. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: “With the widespread use of penicillin, syphilis prevalence had significantly declined after World War II. However, in several industrialised countries a considerable resurgence occurred in the late 1980s.” In fact, the UK has recently reported ‘a 12% increase relative to the year prior and the largest number of diagnoses reported since 1949’ (more…)

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Vitamin D Deficiency: An Overview

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues. It predominantly impacts the lining of the joints, and affects up to 1% of adults worldwide.

What We Know About Vitamin D and Bone Health
Vitamin D (which isn’t actually a vitamin, but is instead considered a hormone) is essential to bone and muscle health. It helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorous – both of which are essential minerals for good bone health.

Is There a Link Between RA and Vitamin D Deficiency?
Over the last two decades, a number of studies have evaluated whether Vitamin D has an effect on rheumatoid arthritis – and what the correlation between the two may be. (more…)

Improved Colorectal Cancer Screening: Better Patient Compliance & Outcomes

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of death for both men and women – and is projected to be responsible 50,630 deaths in 2018. Odds of developing CRC are about 1 in 20. In most cases, it grows slowly – with few if any symptoms in the beginning. Early detection, however, can make a significant difference in helping patients survive. For example, patients diagnosed with Stage 1 have a far greater chance of survival than those diagnosed at Stage 4.

Effective Screening is a Big Part of Saving Patients’ Lives
New studies  suggest that starting at age 45, adults without symptoms should have routine screenings for CRC and adenomatous polyps. The guidelines vary when it comes to how frequently someone should be screened, what age they can stop screenings, and the best method to use. Factors that may raise the risk level are family history, diet, and smoking. (more…)

From CLIA-Waived to Moderately Complex Testing: A POL Review

In a post on Using Point-of-Care Testing in the Physician’s Office, we discussed the advantages of performing routine lab testing in a Physician Office Lab (POL), rather than sending out samples to centralized laboratories.

Performing lab tests in your office helps avoid one of the few still-unaddressed-inefficiencies in patient healthcare: the sending out of samples and then waiting for results to come in.

But for many doctor’s offices there is concern and uncertainty surrounding the time, costs and process of making the switch to in-house moderately complex testing (more…)

Cardiovascular Disease & Your Heart’s Health- What You Need to Know

February is National Heart Month!
Heart disease – often referred to as cardiovascular disease – includes a number of conditions that affect your heart. One of the most common conditions is coronary artery disease (CAD). Others include heart or heart valve defects, narrowed or blocked blood vessels, and problems with heart rhythm.

Know Your Risks, Know Your Numbers…and Talk to Your Doctor
It is easier to treat heart disease when detected early, so discuss any concerns you may have about your heart health with your physician. There are also a number of actions you can take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease (see Lowering Your Risk of Heart Disease, below). (more…)

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