December 6th, 2013
12:01 AM ET
New numbers out from the Center for Disease Control reveal that fewer women in the United States are having children.
Between 2000 and 2009, pregnancy rates for U.S. women have fallen by 12%, or nearly 6.4 million pregnancies. It's the lowest it has been in 12 years.
In fact, the rates for teenage pregnancy reached historic lows in 200, for all three major race groups – non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanic teenagers. In 2009, there were 39% fewer teen pregnancies than the 1991 peak rate of 61.8 teen pregnancies for every 1000 teens.
"Research suggests that more teens are delaying initiating sex, waiting longer to have sex." said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate with the Guttmacher Institute, who was not associated with the study.
Jones added: "More teens are using more contraceptives and using more effective methods of contraception."
But while pregnancy rates for women younger than 30 fell, rates for women older than 30 becoming pregnant has increased steadily since 1990. In fact, the number of women between the ages of 35 to 39 becoming pregnant has jumped by 30% since 1990.
"The expectation is that women in their 30s have considered career and education, delaying childbirth till their 30s, so they're making a conscientious decision to become pregnant and have a baby," added Jones.
Abortion rates overall have also dropped since 1980. There were 32% fewer abortions in 2009 than in 1990. The biggest drop is in the number of teen abortions. The rate of teen abortions in 2009 was less than one-half the rate it was in 1990.
"A lot of effort and lot of money have been spent on reducing teen pregnancy, and it shows that you can make a change and it shows that when you put the effort in it," said Jones.
The CDC also came out with birth rates for the past year. Between June 2012 and June 2013, nearly 4 million children were born. While the number of births has been dropping steadily since 2007, the number of children born this year has remained steady since the year before.
December 4th, 2013
09:03 AM ET
The debate around adolescents and psychotropic drug use may be quieted - ever so slightly - by new data.
More than 6% of adolescents reported using psychotropic medications during the past month, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Six percent is pretty much what I would expect for the prescription of psychotropic medications based on what we know about new disorders and how prevalent they would be among adolescents," said Bruce Jonas, a mental health epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, who compiled the data.
Psychotropic medications are used to alter the mood, behavior or overall functioning of persons with certain mental health conditions. FULL POST
December 3rd, 2013
03:04 PM ET
You've probably heard someone say, "I'm fat but fit." Several recent studies have suggested this statement could be true. But a new review of existing studies published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine may put a stop to the rumor.
"Healthy obesity" is just a myth, the study authors say.
Scientists know that overweight people can be what they call "metabolically healthy." This means that despite having a high body mass index, or BMI, someone can have a small waistline, normal blood pressure and low cholesterol levels, and show little to no risk for developing diabetes. The opposite is also true; thin people can be metabolically unhealthy, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fat that accumulates only around their middle, which is a known risk for heart disease.
This kind of paradox highlights "the complexity of the relationship between weight and mortality," the authors of this new meta-analysis write. A lot of factors impact a person's cardiovascular health, including how much they exercise and when they put on the weight.
November 25th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
Severe MRSA infections have decreased by 54.2% in U.S. hospitals since 2005, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggesting efforts to combat the deadly superbug are working.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a type of staph infection. While about one in three people carry staph on their skin, usually without getting sick, studies show approximately two in 100 people carry MRSA.
MRSA is called a "superbug" because it is one of the bacterial infections that has developed a resistance to commonly-used medications. The CDC attributes the rise of superbugs to the overuse of antibiotics in the general population.
Since 2005, the CDC has been tracking MRSA cases in nine cities across the United States. An estimated 80,400 invasive MRSA infections occurred in 2011, compared to about 111,200 in 2005, according to the public health organization. The results were published in one of the American Medical Association's scientific journals, JAMA Internal Medicine.
November 22nd, 2013
05:54 PM ET
The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continues to climb, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There has been a 42% increase in the number of reported cases of ADHD since 2003, according to a CDC-led study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Today, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 - 11% of kids in this age group - have received an ADHD diagnosis, according to the study, which is based on a survey of parents. That's 2 million more children than in 2007.
November 22nd, 2013
02:26 PM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published recently that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Breast milk + solid foods = allergy prevention?
With up to 8% of children in the United States dealing with food allergies, many parents want to know how they can prevent this condition. A new study suggests that babies who receive solid food while they are breast-feeding may be protected from food allergies.
November 19th, 2013
04:29 PM ET
Think fast. If you were in a public place, and someone suddenly collapsed, would you know what to do?
According to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 conference, this one-minute video could teach bystanders cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, even if they've had no previous instruction. FULL POST
November 18th, 2013
09:18 AM ET
Women who used birth control pills for three years or more have twice the risk of developing glaucoma later in life, according to new research.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
It’s been well documented that low-estrogen levels following menopause contribute to glaucoma in women. Scientists don’t know exactly why this happens. But years of using birth control pills, which can also lower estrogen levels, may add to the problem.
The study, conducted by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, Duke University School of Medicine and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China, did not differentiate between women who took low-estrogen or regular birth control pills. Investigators theorize that when women are not on the pill, their natural estrogen levels go up and down, which seems to prevent the eye from developing glaucoma. When women go on the pill, their estrogen levels are consistent, and in some cases consistently low, which could cause them to develop the condition.
This research project is the first to suggest an increased risk of glaucoma in women who have used oral contraceptives for three or more years. The researchers looked at data on more than 3,400 women aged 40 and older from across the United States, who answered questionnaires about their reproductive health and eye exams. FULL POST
November 15th, 2013
11:05 AM ET
Here are five medical studies published this week that may give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation, so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Forget the vitamins - focus on food
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of experts that reviews current scientific evidence and makes recommendations about screenings and preventive medications. This week the USPSTF (say that five times fast) decided there is not enough evidence to support taking vitamin supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and/or cancer.
The panel based its conclusion on a review of 26 studies from the last eight years. Experts say there has been relatively little research done on the link between supplements and prevention, so this recommendation could change in the future.
"In the absence of clear evidence about the impact of most vitamins and multivitamins on cardiovascular disease and cancer, health care professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients," USPSTF member Dr. Wanda Nicholson said in a statement.
November 14th, 2013
12:01 AM ET
On World Diabetes Day, news about the disease's global impact is dire.
An estimated 382 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to a new report from the International Diabetes Federation. The IDF expects that number to rise to 592 million by 2035, when one in every 10 people will have the disease.
"Diabetes in all its forms imposes unacceptably high human, social and economic costs on countries at all income levels," the report authors begin in the executive summary. They go on to say that this latest edition of the Diabetes Atlas "carries a bitter but unavoidable message: despite the array of tools at our disposal to tackle the disease... the battle to protect people from diabetes and its disabling, life-threatening complications is being lost."
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.