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October 19th, 2010
05:57 PM ET

Brain chemical may explain alcoholism gender differences

Dopamine released in the brain after alcohol consumption may contribute to the development of alcoholism and explain why more men than women are alcoholics, suggests a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

The small study examined 21 participants, men and women ages 21 to 27, over two days. The participants were all "social drinkers" with an established tolerance for alcohol. Half of the participants were given a drink containing the equivalent of three shots of vodka and the rest were given a placebo. The drinks were adjusted to the various heights and weights of the participants so that everyone received a comparable amount of alcohol. Neither group was aware of what they were drinking and the groups were switched on the second day of testing.

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Filed under: Addiction • Alcohol • Brain

October 19th, 2010
05:45 PM ET

Better teamwork save lives in the O.R.

Teamwork saves lives, concludes a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Veterans Affairs hospitals adopting surgical team training saw mortality rates drop from 17 deaths per 1,000 cases to 14 deaths per 1,000 cases, researchers found.

Dr. James Bagian, a study author and former NASA astronaut, said the VA training took a page from the aviation and the nuclear power industries, which have used checklists and improved communication to reduce risks.

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October 19th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

HRT increases breast cancer death risk, study confirms

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that postmenopausal women who take combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at an increased risk of dying from breast cancer.

"Women on combined hormone therapy with estrogen plus progestin were twice as likely to die from breast cancer compared to women receiving placebo," says medical oncologist and study author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski.

The researchers looked at more than 16,000 postmenopausal women who were part of a large government study called the Women's Health Initiative. The women took either Prempro, a drug made by Pfizer that combines both estrogen and progestin, or a placebo or sugar pill. In 2002 the study was stopped early after five and a half years of treatment because of concerns about heart health, breast cancer and other health problems. This latest research looks at 11 years of follow-up on the health of these women and the authors found that those who had used the therapy were not only more likely to develop but to die from breast cancer.

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October 19th, 2010
02:17 PM ET

Radiation oncologists will be in short supply, study finds

The demand for radiation therapy over the next decade will be 10 times higher than the number of practicing radiation oncologists according to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center say the number of cancer patients needing radiation therapy will rise by 22 percent but the number of new, full-time radiation oncologists will increase just 2 percent.

"Shortages mean double trouble," said Dr. Benjamin Smith, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at M.D. Anderson. "Since research has shown that a delay between diagnosis and the start of radiation therapy can reduce its effectiveness, oncologists and radiologists must collaborate even more so the quality of care doesn't break down at multiple points."

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October 19th, 2010
02:14 PM ET

Air Force wife opts to be surrogate mom

A few years ago, Darcy Schwartz was watching an episode of Lifetime's "Army Wives" when she had an epiphany. One of the wives on the program was pregnant and being paid to have another couple's baby.

"I knew that it sounded like something that I was able to do. I'd had four pregnancies without incident. Pregnancies are very easy for me," said Schwartz, whose husband, James, is a master sergeant in the Air Force.

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October 19th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Study: Secondhand smoke a risk of apartment living

Apartment buildings should be smoke-free zones just like workplaces, restaurants and bars. That’s what a new study suggests, which researchers say, for the first time, documents how secondhand smoke can transfer from one apartment to another.

Scientists at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, New York conducted a small study measuring air quality from 30 apartments in 11 different buildings. “This study suggests that individuals who live in apartment buildings are particularly susceptible to secondhand smoke exposure in their homes.” says Brian King in a press release. He is with the Department of Health Behavior at RPCI.

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October 19th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

Does your doc get money from drug companies?

There has long been mystery surrounding how much, and to whom, drug companies give money.

Now, ProPublica has put together all of these disclosures that have been appearing recently on the Web. The resulting project, called Dollars for Docs reveals that about $258 million worth of compensation from seven companies went to health care providers in 2009 and 2010.

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October 19th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Flooring, wallpaper tests uncover potential toxics

A new study of flooring and wallpaper products turned up lead, cadmium and other potentially dangerous chemicals, according to healthystuff.org, which conducted what the non-profit billed as the largest-ever study of chemicals in home improvement products.

Healthystuff tested 1,016 flooring products and 2,312 types of wallpaper. In addition to lead and cadmium, Healthystuff found phthalates, a type of chemical last year banned in children’s toys above minute levels.

“We know from research that chemicals are emitted from these products and contribute to overall exposure,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at Healthystuff.

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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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