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Walmart pledges to make food healthier, more affordable
January 20th, 2011
06:40 PM ET

Walmart pledges to make food healthier, more affordable

The largest grocery chain in the country has announced an extensive five-year plan to make its food healthier and more affordable. Walmart, which serves roughly 140 million consumers a week, announced the initiative as a collaboration between its corporation and first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.

"To more and more of our customers, living better means the ability to walk into our stores and find foods that will help their families live healthier lives," said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart. "And importantly, to find these foods at prices they can afford."

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FDA on new Alzheimer's test: No, or at least not yet
January 20th, 2011
06:11 PM ET

FDA on new Alzheimer's test: No, or at least not yet

A new test to detect or rule out Alzheimer’s is not quite ready for prime time, an FDA advisory panel said Thursday afternoon. The test, a type of PET scan developed by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, is designed to detect the telltale buildups of amyloid plaque in the brain that signify Alzheimer’s disease. While PET scans aren’t new, this one uses a special radioactive marker known as florbetapir F 18 and developed under the brand name Amyvid. It’s meant to be used when a doctor suspects Alzheimer's; a negative test – meaning no detectable plaque – would tell the doctor to consider a different diagnosis.

While the test is considered safe, members of the FDA's Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said Avid needs to do more work training the medical professionals who would administer it. Panel members also voiced concern that there would be too many "false-positive" tests – in other words, too many patients told they have Alzheimer's when in fact they don't. Dr. James Tatum of the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond cited data suggesting that in patients older than 80, as many as a third of "positive" test results would be wrong.

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Malaria not spread by casual contact
January 20th, 2011
04:24 PM ET

Malaria not spread by casual contact

Mosquitos, those pesky insects that feed on human blood, are more than just a summertime nuisance. They are also the source of a very serious public health problem–malaria.  Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite that infects the mosquito. The infected mosquito transmits the parasite to humans through a bite.

George Clooney contracted malaria on a recent visit to Sudan, the actor told CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when a mosquito bites an infected person, the bug takes in a small amount of blood that contains microscopic malaria parasites. When it bites the next person, the parasites mix with the mosquito's saliva, which is  injected into that person.

You can't get malaria from casual contact with someone who's infected. It's not contagious and can't be transmitted sexually. Malaria is preventable and curable, but it can be deadly.

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One mom's extreme search for healthy living
January 20th, 2011
01:20 PM ET

One mom's extreme search for healthy living

One of the most profound  byproducts of a serious health challenge can be a patient’s need to seize control over some aspects of his or her life, hoping those changes may affect the outcome of illness. Today, in the first of three parts, writer, cancer survivor and mother of two young children,  Amanda Enayati reflects on her newfound vigilance - some might say obsession - with achieving a healthier lifestyle for herself and her family.

Prologue

“Why did I get cancer?”

I think in the first years after diagnosis, I asked anyone and everyone who crossed my path: doctors, surgeons, oncologists, specialists, nurses, orderlies and receptionists. All I ever heard was: “We just don’t know.”

I tried to make a case for myself, as if somehow that would undo that which was already done: But I am young. I have no family history. I have no genetic predisposition. Zero high-risk lifestyle habits. Nothing! The disease just showed up one day like a nightmare houseguest no one was expecting or was happy to see.

“So why did I get cancer?”

Eventually, when they were all good and tired of me, I was greeted with blank smiles and an imaginary chorus of crickets chirping.

But an unanswered question of that magnitude does not just go away. It replays in your mind over and over again. It makes you suspect things that appeared innocent just a few short months ago. It makes you, well, paranoid.

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Filed under: Children's Health • Healthy Eating

Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms
January 20th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms

Breastfeeding seems to be the most natural thing in the world and is recommended as the optimal form of nutrition for newborns, yet many moms find it difficult to do for a variety of reasons.  This is why the Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin is launching a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin talks with CNN's Kiran Chetry about the call for breastfeeding support

Benjamin says the number of women breastfeeding in the United States is low compared with other countries, and “we'd like to change that.” Her plan identifies 20 different things families, employers, health care professionals and communities can do “to help encourage women to breastfeed and give them the support they need.”

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, 75% of new moms initiate breastfeeding. At 3 months only 33% of moms are only feeding their infants breast milk and at 6 months only 13% are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies.  Benjamin points out that the numbers for African-American women are even lower – 22% at 3 months and only 8% are still exclusively breastfeeding by the time their little one is 6 months old.

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How porn is changing our sex lives
January 20th, 2011
08:12 AM ET

How porn is changing our sex lives

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

Porn, schmorn.

I don’t care what anybody says, real sex with a real person is better than porn any day of the week.  At Good in Bed, we believe that porn is the equivalent of professional wrestling: phony and superficial. It’s like subsisting on a junk-food diet of Gummi bears and Gatorade when you could be having a gourmet meal.

But when you’re living la vida loca, there isn’t always time for a balanced meal, and for lots of guys, that’s where porn comes in. It’s easy, it’s lazy, it’s fun, and, oh yeah, it’s there. It’s always right there—even when we don’t want it to be.

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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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