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June 30th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Why HIV exposure at hospital may have happened

A lapse in protocol for cleaning dental tools is linked to possible HIV and hepatitis exposure at a Missouri veterans hospital.

At issue, reportedly, is that the instruments were hand-washed before being put in a sterilizing machine. But how is that bad?

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June 30th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Group urges ban of 3 common dyes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says food dyes pose a number of risks to the American public and is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban three of the most commonly used dyes: Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.  A new CSPI report says those dyes contain known carcinogens and contaminants that unnecessarily increase the risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children and allergic reactions.

"These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody," said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson, co-author of the report. "The Food and Drug Administration should ban dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not toxic petrochemicals."

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June 30th, 2010
01:08 PM ET

Researchers find gene linked to hair loss

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center believe they have found the genetic basis of alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles and causes people to lose their hair.

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June 30th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

How to stay safe in a hurricane

Hurricane Alex has already hit part of South Texas, ahead of schedule.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has these resources for preparing for hurricanes and other extreme environmental events.

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June 30th, 2010
11:29 AM ET

Drinking during pregnancy may hurt sons' fertility

Scientists have found another reason that women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy: It could affect their sons’ ability to father their own children in the future.

Researchers in Denmark found prenatal exposure to alcohol may lead to long effects on a fetus’ sperm quality.

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June 29th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Diana Nyad chases a dream

If the name Diana Nyad sounds familiar, it's probably because you've heard of her incredible feats of human performance. Before there was Lance Armstrong, before there was Michael Phelps there was Diana Nyad. (Watch Video)

Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad showing off the headlines from her world record setting swim

When you meet Diana, you can instantly tell there's something different about her.  If you spend 5 minutes with her - better yet, if you watch this 60 year old swim - you'll be able to tell you're in the presence of an amazing athlete.

In the 1970s, she was unstoppable. In addition to winning multiple swimming marathons, she was the first woman ever to encircle the island of Manhattan, and she holds the World's record for longest ocean swim – 102.5 miles from the island of Bimini in the Bahamas to Jupiter, FL. But there was one goal that eluded her.

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June 29th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

Rodent droppings, roaches found in airline food prep

Not only do airlines charge you for it… it’s infested with roaches and mice droppings, according to a report by USA Today.

The newspaper reports that the major facilities that prepare airline food had numerous health and sanitation violations. Among them: improper temperatures, use of unclean equipments, poor hygiene by employees, cockroaches, flies, mice (including their nesting materials) and inadequate pest control.  These included airline caterers, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, according to its report. FULL POST


June 29th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Obesity rising; Southern states have highest rates

The Southern states of the U.S. have some of the highest rates of obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report found that adult obesity rates rose in 28 states over the past year, with Washington, D.C. as the only area that showed a decline. Ten out of 11 states with the highest rates are located in the South; Mississippi has the highest for the sixth year in a row.

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June 28th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

State wants BP to fund mental health services

On Monday, Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine requested $10 million from BP to provide mental health services to Louisiana residents affected by the oil spill.  The request comes after an Alabama fisherman committed suicide Wednesday.

In a letter to BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, Levine said, "There exists anger, anxiety and uncertainty among the families and communities affected by the spill, which will easily manifest into addiction and various forms of mental health crisis if not confronted."  Levine also says almost 2,000 people have undergone counseling by state crisis teams.  He says there are reports of a range of behaviors from anxiety to excessive drinking to thoughts of suicide.

Levine says the $10 million dollars will support six months of continued outreach activities by Louisiana's DHH's Louisiana Spirit outreach teams and local mental health programs.

BP press officer Tom Mueller says they received a request for funding and that BP is " is discussing the request with several stakeholder groups to better understand their plans and strategy."


June 28th, 2010
03:52 PM ET

West Nile virus found in California

Jerry Davis spends a lot of time thinking about mosquitoes.  Davis is the manager of the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District in Turlock, California.  The West Nile virus has started showing up in his central California community.  So far, three dead birds have tested positive for the virus.  It's hard to catch Davis in the office.  This is his "busy season."  "It's like Christmas or tax day," he says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 when West Nile was first discovered in the United States, over 29,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease.  Of  those, more than 12,000 people have been seriously ill.  Just over a thousand people have died.  Here are the three things you need to know about the West Nile virus.

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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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