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October 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET

Was cholera in Haiti before the earthquake?

The fast moving cholera outbreak has sickened more than 3,000 people and resulted in more than 250 deaths in the island nation of Haiti. This infectious disease has not been seen on the island since the 1960s and doctors are working around the clock to get the outbreak under control.

"We expect these cases to increase and infection to emerge," said Dr. Jon Andrus, deputy director of Pan American Health Organization. "We had put in an early warning system to watch for these consequences, since the earthquake on January 12. So we are prepared if the numbers become more widespread. We are ready to handle this infection."

But according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, the bacteria must have been in Haiti already, beneath the surface, and poor sanitation helped trigger the outbreak.

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Smoking boosts risk for Alzheimer's
October 25th, 2010
04:52 PM ET

Smoking boosts risk for Alzheimer's

Here's yet another reason to stop smoking: It elevates the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, according to a new study.

An analysis of more than 20,000 men and women found a 157 percent heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease in people who had smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day. For vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia, these smokers had a 172 percent increased risk.

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October 25th, 2010
04:27 PM ET

How you react to lost sleep may be in your genes

Genetics may affect an individual's response to sleep deprivation, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studied 92 people who did not carry the gene DQB1*0602 and 37 people who were carriers of the gene, whom they considered to be healthy sleepers. The gene is closely associated with narcolepsy, a disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and caused by the brain's inability to normally regulate sleep-wake cycles. Not everyone who has the gene variant has narcolepsy.

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Meditation: Focus on now
October 25th, 2010
08:58 AM ET

Meditation: Focus on now

This week, The Chart and CNN's Belief blog take a deeper look at meditation, what it is and how it can change us physically and emotionally.

 

Everyone has busy, stressful days and feels distracted by a multitude of tasks and obligations. Many people find stress reduction, as well as physical benefits,  in meditation, as found in an ongoing study.

Here's the low-down on what meditation is and how to get started.

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October 25th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Why is my scalp so itchy?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Monday, it's Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician.

Question asked by Cindy of St. Louis, Missouri

My scalp has been itching really bad for about two months, I don't have lice or a flaky scalp, it's not even red. Any idea what would cause this? FULL POST


October 25th, 2010
12:05 AM ET

Teens (and parents) not always truthful about drug use

Although health experts and most parents know that some teens experiment with drugs, many kids often do not voluntarily admit to using illicit substances, even when they know they could undergo a drug test that could prove it.

In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, surveyed more than 400 high-risk urban teens and their parents or caretakers. After asking about drug use (marijuana, cocaine, opiates, alcohol, tobacco) in a questionnaire, teen and adult hair samples were taken and tested for cocaine and opiates. The data found that young people were 52 percent more likely to test positive for cocaine in their hair samples than they were to actually report using cocaine on their questionnaires.

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October 25th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

First four months critical for new baby's sleep habits

One of the challenges faced by new parents is getting their infant to sleep through the night and on to a sleep schedule similar to that of Mom and Dad. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that most babies will sleep five to eight hours per night by their fourth month of life.

"Sleep is important for optimal growth and development and also goes a long way towards a baby’s mood, " said Dr. Jennifer Shu, a practicing pediatrician and CNNHealth's Living Well expert. "Most newborn babies sleep about 16 to 20 hours per day (ie, more asleep than they are awake) and by a few weeks of age they already tend to sleep more at night than in the day. There can definitely be some differences, however, with some babies needing less sleep overall or less daytime sleep than others.

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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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