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FDA to consider Alzheimer's test for living patients
January 18th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

FDA to consider Alzheimer's test for living patients

One of the many frustrations of Alzheimer’s disease is the difficulty in pinpointing just who has it. According to published research, as many as one in five people told they have Alzheimer’s are mislabeled. A definitive diagnosis can  be made only after death, by an autopsy that reveals a distinctive buildup – known as amyloid plaques – in the patient’s brain. This week, however, the FDA will consider a new diagnostic test that may be able to identify those plaques through PET scans – a type of brain scan – on living patients.

In a small study run by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals and made public Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association , PET scans identified the telltale plaques in 97 % of patients who actually had them, as determined by a subsequent autopsy. The 35 patients in this part of the study were terminally ill, and agreed to both a brain scan and an autopsy.

The researchers also performed PET scans on presumably healthy people to try to ensure that the test could tell the difference. It could. Of 74 young and healthy people tested, none had scans indicating Alzheimer’s.

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Men have upper hand in sexual economy
January 18th, 2011
04:54 PM ET

Men have upper hand in sexual economy

It's not a new theory:  As women progress in educational and professional opportunities, their odds of finding a committed man appear to go down. Women in their 40s and 50s have long heard this, but new research finds it's true for women just entering adulthood as well.

That's one of the findings in the new book "Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying," by researchers Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Alcohol delays, breaks marriages, study finds
January 18th, 2011
04:50 PM ET

Alcohol delays, breaks marriages, study finds

Alcohol dependency not only affects people who drink excessively, but also spouses, friends and family. Now a new study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research finds that alcoholism has a strong connection to when people get married and whether those marriages are successful.

"For young adults who are drinking, if their drinking continues to levels of problem use, it could impact their likelihood of marriage as well as likelihood of having a really lasting marriage," said study author Mary Waldron, assistant professor in human development at Indiana University. "What we found is yes, it's true that alcohol dependence is a strong predictor of separation and we've known that for quite a while, it was really the predictor of delayed marriage that was surprising to us." FULL POST


Many surgeons not seeking help for suicidal thoughts
January 18th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Many surgeons not seeking help for suicidal thoughts

Many surgeons with thoughts of suicide aren't asking for help, according to a new study in the Archives of Surgery. Researchers found one in 16  surgeons reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous year, but only a few of them actually asked for help from a mental health provider.

"Physicians don't fully understand or trust how that information is being used," says lead study author Dr. Tait D. Shanafelt. He says they fear their medical license will be harmed. "Eighty percent of state licensing boards actually ask if they are under the care of a mental health professional and when you renew your medical license 50 percent of licensing boards ask the same thing," says Shanafelt. But he says most of the licensing boards are not using this information in a negative way.  He wants surgeons to get the help they need if they are depressed or having thoughts of suicide so that they can recover.

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Get Some Sleep: Tired, crabby, snoring? Might be apnea
January 18th, 2011
03:41 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Tired, crabby, snoring? Might be apnea

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs on Tuesdays on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

If you’re not sleeping well, if your partner complains that you snore loudly or you’re finding yourself excessively tired and having trouble concentrating during the day, you may have sleep apnea. It’s a common disorder that should be diagnosed by a doctor.

The two most-often diagnosed types are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The bottom line for both is that your breathing is disrupted while you sleep, waking you up sometimes dozens of time during the night, depriving your brain of oxygen and often resulting in fatigue, difficulty focusing and even worse physical problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

If you have sleep apnea, chances are, you’ll be told you need to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP.

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Filed under: Sleep

Study: Sex, race and location may influence HIV outcomes
January 18th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Study: Sex, race and location may influence HIV outcomes

Women in the United States suffer from HIV-related illnesses more than twice as much as men according to a new study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The study also found minorities and people living in the South shoulder a much higher burden of HIV/AIDS related disease than anyone else in the country. Minority women have worse outcomes, according to the study.

During a ten-year period starting in 1997, researchers followed more than 2,000 patients within a year of diagnosis. Patients were tracked an average of four years. Researchers say they were surprised to find that women had the worst outcomes even though after diagnosis they had lower viral loads and higher CD4+ T cell counts than the men.
Viral load is the concentration of the virus in the blood. T cells help the immune system in fight infections.

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Big breakfasts won’t help you lose weight, study says
January 18th, 2011
01:08 PM ET

Big breakfasts won’t help you lose weight, study says

We’ve all heard this much-repeated advice: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Eat a big, hearty one and it’ll stave off hunger later in the day.

But a recent German study challenges this notion.

Research published in BioMed Central's open access Nutrition Journal, found that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of how much they ate for breakfast. FULL POST


January 18th, 2011
01:06 PM ET

Does depression mean I'll be on meds for life?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by Stan from Brooklyn

I was recently scared by someone who told me that they have a depression that has "no cure," meaning they have to be on medication for life. This scared me because I am currently going through a depression and I DO NOT wish to take any medication. FULL POST


Customers pay little heed to calories on menus
January 18th, 2011
09:34 AM ET

Customers pay little heed to calories on menus

Posting calories on menus has little effect on what customers buy, according to a recent study.

Customers at TacoTime (a western Washington chain)  who read how many calories are in their chimichangas, burritos and tacos on the restaurant's menu were just as likely to order them as people who don’t have that information.

For 13 months, researchers recorded food purchases at seven suburban TacoTimes and seven inside Seattle, Washington. Seattle passed a law requiring that all fast food chains post their calories, fat and sodium content to the menus in 2009. FULL POST


January 18th, 2011
08:15 AM ET

Human Factor: Transcending pain, for a passion

In the Human Factor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces you to survivors who have overcome tremendous odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. Be inspired by their successes, as we have been. Today we hear from acclaimed pianist Byron Janis.

When I was 11, an injury to my little finger left it permanently numb and almost ended my budding musical career. Since that day,  I have understood what it means to overcome adversity.

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Filed under: Arthritis • Human Factor

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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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