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FDA launches program to develop new AEDs
November 15th, 2010
05:26 PM ET

FDA launches program to develop new AEDs

The Food and Drug Administration wants to strengthen automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.  They are the lifesaving devices used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. The FDA plan, dubbed the "External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative", aims to improve the safety and effectiveness of AEDs currently available and to work with manufacturers to create newer models that are more effective.

"There have been more than 28,000 adverse event reports [associated with AEDs]," says Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. There also have been more than 700 deaths, although Shuren cautions that it's difficult to link cause of death to external defibrillators because the patients being treated with them are already extremely ill.

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Even short-term poverty can hurt kids' health
November 15th, 2010
04:32 PM ET

Even short-term poverty can hurt kids' health

Being poor for even a short period of time can have lasting health implications for children, according to a new report by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 15.5 million children are living in poverty in the United States, that's one in five children according to the Census Bureau.

Researchers looked at data surrounding four topics: Health, food security, housing stability and maltreatment. They examined each in relation to past and present recessions.  During childhood, the body is growing quickly and researchers say even a brief period of poor nutrition could lead to lifelong issues.

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November 15th, 2010
02:40 PM ET

AEDs don't extend life in hospitals

With heart disease remaining the leading killer in the United States, scientists are looking at ways to improve heart health.  Researchers presenting at this week's American Heart Association meeting  found that defibrillators in hospitals are not effective, a common heart imaging technique may expose patients to radiation and that an experimental pump can help heart patients who are waiting for transplants.

AEDs in hospitals not very effective

Automated external defibrillators help people when they’re outside the hospital – but don’t seem to help survival for people who are already hospitalized.

A study that will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week found that using the AED lowered survival overall in the hospital.  This could be because only one in five hospitalized patients has the type of cardiac arrest that responds to defibrillation. FULL POST


Teen brain more prone to drug, alcohol damage
November 15th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Teen brain more prone to drug, alcohol damage

Teens may act invincible, but when it comes to drugs and alcohol, they're actually more vulnerable than adults to harmful effects on the brain, researchers said at Neuroscience 2010, the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, California, on Monday.

"Brain development is actively transpiring even in the teen brain, and [if] you throw in a drug on top of that, you could change the trajectory of brain development." said Dr. Frances Jensen of Children's Hospital Boston.

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Allergic to kissing? Cell phones? Bed Bugs?
November 15th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

Allergic to kissing? Cell phones? Bed Bugs?

People can have allergic reactions in bizarre ways: kissing, using a cell phone, and getting bitten by bed bugs. There are just a few things being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

Love vs. allergies
Most people with severe food allergies, which are on the rise, know to warn their partners about smooching after eating offending foods such as peanuts. But apparently if your honey brushes his teeth or waits several hours, that may not be good enough, researchers say. Even hours after the problem food has been absorbed by his body, his saliva may still excrete it, and cause problems such as itching and swelling, says Dr. Sami Bahna, president of ACAAI. This can also happen with medications to which people are allergic.

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Get some sleep: Light – or lack of it – is key
November 15th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Get some sleep: Light – or lack of it – is key

By the time Nancy arrived at the sleep center, she had been struggling for years to get a good night’s sleep.  Her problems began when she was laid off work, but even when she was back on a regular work schedule, she could not keep a normal sleep/wake rhythm.  It turns out that because she had trouble getting to sleep, she got in the habit of getting some work done on her laptop in bed and then she usually watches television or reads until it gets so late that she turns off the lights and tries to force herself to get to sleep.  Often she gets so frustrated she just gets up and makes herself a snack or does the laundry.

So what is typical in this story? I think that many aspects of Nancy’s story will ring true for anyone who has suffered from insomnia. One key feature stands out:  You cannot make yourself sleep and you should not try. The harder you “work” at trying to sleep, the more elusive those sweet dreams become. What you can do is try to relax.

Now, everyone knows that sleep specialists recommend removing the TV and computer from the bedroom because these things stimulate the mind and keep people from sleeping.  But we give this advice not only because it will help relax their minds but because it will also help relax their brains.  When you are watching TV at night or using the computer or walking around your house with all the lights on, you are stimulating that part of the brain that controls your sleep/wake cycle.

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Filed under: Sleep

November 15th, 2010
09:20 AM ET

Why do kids always get fevers on Sunday nights?

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

Question asked by Jo of Kennesaw, Georgia

Why do my kids always seem to get sick on Sunday nights? They love school; it's not that they're trying to stay home. But they get random fevers - as high as 102 - out of the blue, and it seems to happen a lot on Sunday nights. Have you seen this in other patients?

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Heart drugs and supplements a risky mix
November 15th, 2010
08:30 AM ET

Heart drugs and supplements a risky mix

Herbal and dietary supplements are found in the aisles of supermarkets and health-food stores rather than behind a pharmacy counter, and they can be  dangerous when mixed with the wrong drug.

A new survey suggests that a majority of heart patients taking the popular blood-thinning drug warfarin are risking potentially dangerous complications by combining it with supplements such as fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin, coenzyme Q10, and multivitamins.

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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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