Noteworthy new medical research

Two health-related articles caught my attention this weekend. The first is on a subject I’ve been loosely following for a while: the mammogram.

To mammogram or not to mammogram… I’ve long questioned the benefit of this test for women over 38, and have had doctors stare me down on this one. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a mammogram. Just don’t tell me that they’re the be-all-end-all test for women and that you’re going to send the mammogram police to arrest me if I refuse one.

I’m finally beginning to feel some vindication, however. Over the past year, I’ve noticed several new studies showing that mammograms are not all they’re claimed to be. The latest research out of Harvard and just published in the New England Journal of Medicine says they make only a “modest impact” on reducing death rates from breast cancer:

“By highlighting that the mortality benefit is modest, Kalager et al. help confirm that the decision about whether to undergo screening mammography is, in fact, a close call,” he writes…

Again, not to say mammograms don’t save lives. But maybe doctors will get around to reading this research and stop looking at me like I’ve got three heads when I question their one-size fits all protocol.

The second article is also out of Harvard — Harvard Magazine— by Jonathan Shaw.  “Good Cells Gone Bad” is a short piece about how changes in our environment can actually cause disease. Good cells can turn “bad” and bad ones can possibly stop their badness if there’s a “good” environment. (I’m well-versed in the scientific terminology, as you can tell.)

This research certainly has ramifications for the future of cancer treatment and prevention. And yes, hopefully the stem cells they’re using in these experiments are not embryonic.

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants, urls, or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)