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January 2009 Mayo Clinic Health Letter Highlights Improved PSA Tests, Dry Eyes and Colds
Date:1/20/2009

also can be indicated by increased PSA levels. Velocity testing is a reason why annual or more frequent PSA measures are important, because it shows subtle changes that can lead to early intervention and better outcomes.

PSA doubling time: Similar to PSA velocity, this test looks at how quickly PSA levels double. The risk of prostate cancer is particularly acute when PSA levels double within 18 months.

PSA density: Using ultrasound imaging, the physician determines the size of the prostate gland. With this data, the physician can evaluate the PSA number based on the gland's size. For example, larger prostate glands produce more PSA.

Free versus total PSA: This test separates PSA in the bloodstream into two types. Bound or total PSA is attached to certain blood proteins, and free PSA isn't. Prostate cancer is more likely to result from bound PSA. So, a lower percentage of free PSA compared to bound indicates an increased likelihood of cancer.

No More Dry Eyes -- Tips to Get the Grit Out

Dry eyes can be a nuisance. But when severe cases are not treated, the condition becomes more than an irritation. The surface of the eye is susceptible to infection and scarring. The January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers the causes of dry eyes and treatment options.

Healthy eyes are continuously covered by layers of fluids. The outermost layer includes fatty acids that smooth the tear surface and slow evaporation of the thicker, middle layer, which is mostly water. Mucus makes up the innermost layer, which allows tears to be evenly spread over the eye surface. Dry eyes happen when any of these three components is out of balance.

For example, dry eyes occur when tear glands don't produce enough fluids or when problems with blinking hamper tear distribution. Also, several commonly used medications, including diuretic
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