BODY WATCH : Get Your Mammogram at a Certified Facility

Women should be selective about where to go for mammography, the only diagnostic imaging test to be federally regulated.

The Mammography Quality Standards Act, enacted by the Food and Drug Administration, sets the criterion for mammography equipment. Moreover, standards have been established for technicians who operate the equipment and doctors who interpret the mammogram. Facilities that qualify on all counts receive FDA certification.

Either ask your physician to locate a certified facility or call the National Cancer Institute's Information Service at (800) 4-CANCER. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research will also send a free copy of "Things to Know About Quality Mammograms" by calling (800) 358-9295.

Older Pets Need More Visits to the Veterinarian

Someone must tip off the cats when their annual trip to the eterinarian is scheduled. That's the one day when we tussle. A little blood is drawn (ours). We used to console ourselves that the ordeal was only once a year. Not anymore. The folks at the Veterinary Centers of America out in Santa Monica inform us that geriatric checkups should be given by a veterinarian twice a year to older pets.

An animal's "age" is determined by a number of factors, including size and weight:

* Small dogs (less than 20 pounds) are considered old if they are 9 to 13 years old.

* Medium dogs (21-50 pounds), 9 to 11 1/2 years.

* Large dogs (51-90 pounds), 7 1/2 to 10 1/2 years.

* Giant dogs (more than 90 pounds), 6 to 9 years.

* Cats (most breeds), 8 to 10 years.

Briefly . . .

Women with HIV can call (213) 342-2855 to participate in a USC study on normal daily activities and the immune system . . . The Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center is looking for African American women, ages 40-64 and 50 to 100 pounds overweight, for a study on long-term control of weight. Information: (213) 563-4883 . . . Stanford's Donald Nagel, professor of functional restoration, says magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps with treatment strategy, such as exercising, by determining if a painful injury to a joint was caused by a torn ligament or a bruise . . . An international registry has been formed for patients with the eye disease keratoconus. Contact The National Keratoconus Foundation at (800) 521-2524.

* This health roundup, compiled by Candace A. Wedlan from wire service reports, appears in Life & Style on Tuesdays.

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