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Some editors have it rough. My editor, for example. A couple of weeks ago, he was telling me about his madcap San Francisco Bay Area weekend in the company of Francophile wine snobs. “Oh, no,” he recalls thinking to himself, “not more foie gras.” So he was probably feeling just a tad guilty for his cholesterol-laden way of life when this genial if pushy PR guy mercilessly pursued him about new computer tomography (CT) scan technology that finds early signs of potential heart trouble. We know the litany: 150,000 men die each year from their first — and only — heart attack. The flack represents a clinic on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that wants to save some hard-charging lawyers’ lives. Don’t you want a free scan, the flack asked? My middle-aged, foie gras-munching, Chambertin-swilling editor demurred. “You do it,” he said to me. “It’ll be fun.” Yeah, fun. I’ve spent most of my adult life avoiding doctors. When I’m forced to see one, as in when I had a freak summertime strep throat a couple of years ago, he lectured me about my obviously decadent lifestyle. He gave me scripts for blood work. He made me promise to go. I never did. I don’t dare get sick again. But duty called. I felt my blood pressure (yes, I’m middle-aged and out of shape — but not as middle-aged as my editor) rise as I took the subway up to the lab. The day before, I faxed over a questionnaire about my medical history. I tried not to lie too much when answering questions like “How much exercise do you get weekly?” My throat tightened as the friendly receptionist welcomed me. A minute later, the lab tech showed up. We walked to the CT-scan room. I wanted to bolt. “Please loosen the bottom of your shirt and lie down there,” she said, as I warily studied the apparatus. It didn’t look as scary as I’d imagined, just this movable gurney in the middle of an arch. I did, and she painlessly attached some electrodes. There was no tube, like the old CT scans, and I could just look over through the arch at the technician. “Just hold your breath when I tell you,” she added, pointing to a little speaker in the middle of the arch. I felt like a document in a copy machine as the gurney moved back and forth, one, two, three times. No claustrophobia, and virtually no noise. We were done, in under five minutes. I was impressed. “This is the single best predictor” of heart disease, says Dr. Allen Rubenstein, University HeartScan’s founder and chairman. Rubenstein, who looks like a less unhinged Steve Forbes, exudes doctorly authoritativeness. Other tests only find trouble once it’s already turned serious, he adds, unlike UHS’ scan, which displays early evidence of arterial blockage. Rubenstein was going over my test results. As he spoke, I gazed at what appeared to be Polaroid shots of my arteries. “See these?” he said. “Some early calcification.” He then talked about the typical things doctors talk about: Exercise more, watch your diet, etc. I nodded appreciatively. The doctor has more than just a financial interest in all of this. He’s part of the at-risk group; his father died at age 57, when Rubenstein was only 17 years old. Now 56, Rubenstein says he tries to minimize the risk by exercising regularly; his regimen includes jogging and not smoking. About his clinic, he stresses that “it isn’t some New Age thing,” and takes pains to add that it is affiliated with the respectable Mt. Sinai hospital down the street. UHS would like nothing more than all of you over 40 reading this to pay it a visit. Rubenstein says he’s made pitches to “all the big law firms in the city” to send their middle-aged partners for tests. He’ll even offer a package deal. So far, he’s received no bites. They might be wary of the cost — $495 a pop for the heart scan, though Rubenstein says he’d consider discounts for package deals. The clinic has just added a “virtual colonoscopy” to its services as of press time, for an additional fee. (Most insurance plans don’t cover this sort of test.) It may take a while. New Yorkers might be adventurous when it comes to restaurants and art, but they aren’t always early adapters. But the law firms that were approached might want to look at their colleagues in Houston. There, 340-lawyer Bracewell & Patterson includes a heart scan (from a lab in Texas) as part of the annual physical exam that partners and new hires are required to take. “It’s been very helpful in helping us learn of occlusions, get the medication we need, and in one case, former [Texas] Supreme Court justice Eugene Cook, he had the bypass surgery he needed,” says Bracewell’s managing partner, Kelly Frels. As for myself, I think I’ll exercise a bit more, eat less red meat, and drink more red wine — all in moderation, of course. Information in Brief: � University HeartScan, 307 E. 63rd St., New York, N.Y. 11021 � For appointment, call (212) 546-9292 � Rates: Heart scan, $495; complete body scan (with new “virtual colonoscopy”), $1,395 � For more information, visit www.universityheartscan.com or e-mail [email protected]

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