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May 19th, 2010
05:49 PM ET

Clark: 'I am still scared to jump into the Hudson'

After finishing a training weekend in Austin, Texas, with the rest of the Fit Nation Challenge participants – affectionately known as "the 6-pack," Meredith Clark tells us how her training is going, how she's improving, and what still makes her apprehensive about the Nautica New York City Triathlon on July 18. Meredith and the rest of the 6-pack, along with several CNN employees will jump into the Hudson River to swim a mile, followed by a 25-mile bike ride, and a 6-mile run.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


May 19th, 2010
02:11 PM ET

Viagra associated with hearing loss

by Madison Park
CNNhealth.com writer/producer

Oh Viagra.

Sure, Pfizer’s wonder pill has side effects such as headaches, facial flushing, upset stomach, erections lasting more than four hours, bluish or sudden loss of vision.  There’s one more risk to the pill that grants erections: Hearing loss.

Research published this week in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery showed an association between long-term hearing loss and Viagra.

This side effect is already acknowledged by Viagra - especially after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration forced this labeling changes for oral erectile dysfunction medicines known as PDE5 inhibitors in 2007.

The research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked into the data based on 11,525 men.  Men who self-reported hearing problems were twice more likely to indicate that they used erectile dysfunction medication.

While it’s difficult to establish cause and effect in an observational study, these findings  indicate that the FDA labeling was warranted, said study author Gerald McGwin, a professor of epidemiology at the UAB School of Public Health, in a taped news release.

The association was present for long-term hearing loss after using Viagra, and to a lesser extent other ED drugs such as Cialis and Levitra.  The sample sizes for the two latter drugs were smaller.

Since Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, perhaps the drug increases blood flow to the ear causing damage, McGwin hypothesized.

For more facts about Viagra

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


May 19th, 2010
12:35 PM ET

Is drinking healthy, or do healthy people drink?

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

It seems as if there's always a new study claiming that alcohol is surprisingly good or bad for you. Various studies have suggested that alcohol may help the brain in an injury but, according to other research, shrink the brain.

The latest addition to the growing body of work on this subject suggests that moderate drinking - between one and three glasses of alcohol a day, with 10 grams per glass - is associated with lower anxiety and lower body mass index compared against people with heavier or lighter drinking habits (or who don't drink at all).

A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the drinking habits and health status of nearly 150,000 people in France. Researchers looked at a variety of factors related to cardiovascular health, including obesity and anxiety levels. They determined that moderate alcohol consumption was strongly associated with characteristics "that favor a superior overall health status and a lower risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease]."

But the authors raise the possibility that moderate consumption of alcohol does not cause people to achieve better health; rather, some other factors could be at play - in other words, physical activity and lower stress could be causing the lower risk in cardiovascular disease, and people with those characteristics coincidentally drink moderately.

"Our data suggest that it is clearly premature to promote alcohol consumption as the basis of CV [cardiovascular disease] protection" until it can be proved that alcohol causes those benefits, the authors wrote.

Moderate female drinkers were more likely to report engaging in regular physical activity than their counterparts who drank more or less; among men, those who never drank had the highest physical activity levels, the study found.

The study used self-reported data, meaning results may be skewed by people overstating and understating their actual alcohol consumption. Also, participants elected to join the study, and were not randomly chosen. The authors' analysis finds that these participants are representative of the population of the urban region of Paris-Ile-de-France, but it is unclear how applicable the findings particular to this group would be.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


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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.

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