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New guidelines urge tests for kidney disease



Published: Tue, February 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



New guidelines urgetests for kidney disease

WASHINGTON -- Almost 20 million adult Americans have chronic kidney disease, and most don't know it, says new research by the National Kidney Foundation. Another 20 million are at high risk of getting it.

Yet early diagnosis and treatment can slow progression of the often fatal disease, which usually displays no serious symptoms until the kidneys have suffered severe damage.

In the face of such facts, the foundation assembled a panel of kidney experts to determine how to catch the disease earlier and offer therapies that can help preserve patients' organs. The key: People at risk need easy urine and blood tests, say the new guidelines, published in this month's American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

"Our goal is to slow the rate of kidney disease worsening so people can live a long time" without dialysis or kidney transplants, Dr. Andrew Levey, chief of nephrology at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, said Monday.

Specialists have long warned that end-stage kidney failure is increasing by 2 percent a year in the United States. Already, 300,000 Americans are on dialysis, and 80,000 are living with transplanted kidneys.

Foundation withdrawspledge to Smithsonian

WASHINGTON -- A $38 million pledge to the Smithsonian Institution has been withdrawn after critics complained the exhibit it was to have financed would damage the institution's integrity.

The withdrawal announcement Monday came less than three weeks after 170 activists and scholars complained that Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, the institution's chief executive, has commercialized the museums.

The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation pledged the money in May, earmarked for a "Spirit of America" exhibition to honor as many as 100 prominent Americans. It had been scheduled to open in 2004.

The now-scrapped 10,000-square-foot exhibit was to highlight Americans that included ice skater Dorothy Hamill, basketball legend Michael Jordan and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. When the donation was announced, Small called it "an extraordinary gift."

The Washington Post quoted a letter from Catherine Reynolds as saying criticism of the exhibit's focus on individuals rather than groups by Smithsonian staff was the main reason she changed her mind about giving the money.

Passengers evacuatedfrom plane after threat

DENVER -- A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Salt Lake City was forced to return to Denver International Airport about an hour after takeoff because a suspicious note was discovered on board.

Delta spokeswoman Catherine Stengel would not give details about the note.

"The pilot returned to Denver as a precautionary measure," she said.

Passengers aboard Flight 1642 on Monday night said the pilot announced that a note containing a bomb threat had been found.

"If it was a huge enough threat to turn around, I thought it could be real," said passenger Edie Ferguson. "I was pretty nervous at that point."

When the plane landed, passengers were taken to the terminal and re-screened, and authorities searched the aircraft. The flight was canceled and another was planned for this morning.

The Boeing 737-800 had 56 passengers and six crew members who were headed to Salt Lake, the site of the Winter Olympics.

Limits set on raids

JERUSALEM -- The legal adviser of the Israeli military is reported to be limiting raids aimed at killing Palestinian militants -- a practice Palestinians and critics call assassination -- after five radicals died in the latest attack.

Near the town of Rafah on Monday, Palestinian security officers said Israeli helicopters picked out a Palestinian car and fired missiles at it, turning it into a mass of twisted, smoldering metal and killing four passengers instantly. A fifth died later.

The Israeli military had no comment on the attack.

The five were members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical wing of the PLO. The DFLP threatened revenge and Yasser Arafat angrily denounced the attack.

"The Israeli government does not want to calm down the situation," Arafat said at his Ramallah headquarters, where he has been trapped for two months by Israeli tanks. "They are continuing their aggression and military escalation against the Palestinian people."

The DFLP threatened a tough response.

"Retaliation will come very soon and will shake the land under the feet of the occupiers," a DFLP leaflet said.

Associated Press




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