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September 1st, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Douglas: I have stage 4 cancer

Actor Michael Douglas revealed he is suffering from stage 4 throat cancer in an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" Tuesday night.

Douglas, who has not released any details of his cancer since the initial announcement last month - said he has a tumor at the base of his tongue, and has just completed his first week of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He also told Letterman that while the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes, it has not spread below his neck.

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September 1st, 2010
05:34 PM ET

Cancer drug may offer clue to Alzheimer's cure

Treatments modeled on the blockbuster cancer drug Gleevec may be the key to finding a cure for Alzheimer's, suggest new data reported in the journal Nature.

Scientists theorize that a protein that accumulates in the brain, called beta-amyloid, develops plaque that weakens certain nerve cells, causing them to die. This creates the breakdown of cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. The key for scientists is to find a way to eliminate this plaque. Although there are drugs on the market that work at ridding the brain of beta-amyloid, the treatments can also destroy healthy brain cells in the process.

So how do you create this delicate balance? New research from the laboratory of Nobel Prize-winner Paul Greengard, suggests that treatments modeled on Gleevec, a drug used in leukemia and gastrointestinal cancers, could be the solution. It turns out that when scientists modified Gleevec, it had the ability to bind to a protein that triggers the production of beta-amyloid plaques.

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Brain exercises delay, speed up dementia?
September 1st, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Brain exercises delay, speed up dementia?

A study of more than 1,100 participants aged 65 and older, none of whom had dementia when the research began, finds that people who regularly engage in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, doing puzzles, and going to museums  may stave off the onset of dementia longer than people who don't. This has been shown in several other studies in the past.

But here's the flip side: Those who are cognitively active also decline more rapidly when they do develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, the new study in the journal Neurology found.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, if you consider quality of life issues, researchers say.

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September 1st, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Autism-vaccine appeal ruling disappoints family

The family representing thousands of families who believe the measles vaccine caused their children's autism are "extremely disappointed" a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  It upheld a special vaccine court’s ruling denying a link between vaccines and autism.

The vaccine court’s decision was  found to be “rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated and reasonable.”

Theresa and Michael Cedillo filed the appeal on behalf of their now 16-year-old daughter, Michelle, who suffers from autism.

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Money and happiness: Over $75K doesn't matter
September 1st, 2010
02:13 PM ET

Money and happiness: Over $75K doesn't matter

Who are the happiest Americans? According to a new study, they may be extroverted, earning more than $75,000 a year, healthy, and engaged.

The analysis was conducted by Keirsey Research, an organization that looks at how personality relates to a person's preferences in  consumer choices, political opinion, and a variety of other factors.

The survey looked at 3,900 adults ages 18 to 70 who had completed the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II, a personality test. Participants answered questions about how happy they were with life overall, then provided a variety of information about their gender, employment, marital status, and other elements of their lives. Because they had also completed a personality test, survey analysts were able to also look at that in relation to happiness.

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September 1st, 2010
02:00 PM ET

Differences found in individuals' immune systems

Humans’ immune systems are not as different from person to person as previously thought, according to scientists at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center reported Wednesday. The findings, the researchers say, could help pave the way for new drugs or immunotherapies to treat disease and infection in a host of patients, including organ transplant and skin graft recipients.

The crux of the research is the realization that of the tens of millions of T cell receptors that make up what’s known as the adaptive immune system, a small fraction of them are the same. It's called the variable region of our cells and it may not sound like a big deal but its practical applications are impressive.

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September 1st, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Better understanding of dementia leading to more effective therapies

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the
American Cancer Society.

Last week, I answered a question about the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Today I want to talk a little about how dementia is treated.

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September 1st, 2010
12:15 AM ET

Ethnic differences seen in youth drug use

Teens of different ethnic groups use alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes for different reasons and educators should use different strategies to keep them clean, according to a new study that was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Researchers analyzed roughly 5,500  responses from seventh- and eighth-graders in Southern California to surveys that were distributed by researchers from the RAND Corporation. The overall rates of substance use were similar to findings from other studies – about 22 percent had tried alcohol, including about 9 percent who drank in the previous month. Ten percent had tried cigarettes, including 2.6 percent in the previous month. Seven percent had tried marijuana, including 3.2 percent in the month just before the survey.

Hispanic students were the most likely to report having tried alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. Next most likely were African-American students, followed by Caucasians. Asian-American seventh- and eighth-graders were substantially less likely to have tried any substance.

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September 1st, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Study: Insomnia is deadly for men

Insomnia kills. That’s the central finding of a large study looking at men who complained of chronic insomnia and slept fewer than six hours a night.

Men with insomnia were more than four times as likely to die as “good sleepers” during the 14-year study, published Wednesday in the journal Sleep.

Add hypertension or diabetes, and men with insomnia were seven times as likely to die as those not suffering from sleep problems, the study found.

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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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