Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the university’s Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers is another step toward early detection.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer, killing more than 15,000 women a year, said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

The study employed high-density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, the alliance said.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection. Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.


Vision may depend on geography

Health officials say bad eyesight in the U.S. is most common in the South.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the South was home to three-quarters of the U.S. counties with the highest prevalence of severe vision loss.

The South also has higher rates of poverty, diabetes and chronic disease. Health officials believe those problems are all related to the vision loss. Overall, about 3 percent of people had severe vision loss. The highest rate was from Owsley County, Ky., which surpassed 18 percent.


Kids get mental health help

Contrary to public perception and horrific cases that make headlines, serious mental problems are declining among the nation’s youth, and there has been a big rise in how many are getting help, a study finds.

The study is mostly good news: More children and teens are taking mental health medicines than ever before, but more also are getting therapy, not just pills. The biggest rise in treatment rates has been among the most troubled kids.

“There’s a concern out there that a lot of children and adolescents are receiving mental health treatments, particularly medications, that they don’t need,” especially for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said the study’s leader, Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Instead, the results suggest “that at least in some ways, we’re moving in the right direction,” by getting help to kids who need it most, he said.

The dark cloud : More than half of severely troubled kids get no help at all.

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