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On the Brain: 'Cuddle' hormone not always positive
February 2nd, 2011
05:16 PM ET

On the Brain: 'Cuddle' hormone not always positive

This week we look at a brain chemical that can make you trust or suspect other people, the role of sleep in memory and other exciting new research and perspectives.

Rethinking oxytocin
You may have heard oxytocin described as the "cuddle hormone" because it's involved in the bond between romantic partners and between a mother and child. Studies have shown that it makes a person more trusting of others if he or she was already somewhat trusting. But now there's evidence that the chemical does not make everyone want to snuggle. New research finds that oxytocin can make someone who's suspicious of others even more hostile and uncooperative, reports ScienceNews.

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Mind-body: Psychotherapy helps your heart
February 2nd, 2011
11:54 AM ET

Mind-body: Psychotherapy helps your heart

Dr. Charles Raison, CNNHealth's Mental Health expert and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, writes regularly on the mind-body connection for better health.

God forbid, but suppose you’ve just had a heart attack. You’re about to leave the hospital. You’re going to live, but you have new stitches inside your chest and all sorts of new worries in your life.To make these worries worse, you’ve gone online and read that psychosocial factors like stress contribute 30% of the risk for having another cardiac event, and contributed at least as much to the event you just had. Depression is even more of a problem, at least as bad as continuing to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

As you mull these thoughts, a cheery young researcher comes into your room and encourages you to enroll in a study designed to examine treatments that might decrease your chance of having another heart attack and that might thus help you life longer. The researcher gives you a choice: You can go on an antidepressant medicine for protection or you can attend 20 hours of group psychotherapy. Which would you choose?

If you chose medications you may have made the wrong choice based on an important new study from Sweden published last week in the Archives of Internal Medicine that reported that group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) appears to have the ability to protect people with heart disease from dying of their illness. On the other hand, almost a decade ago the largest study ever to examine whether antidepressants have the same long-term, lifesaving effects in people who have had a cardiac event came up negative.

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February 2nd, 2011
08:51 AM ET

What is blurry vision a symptom of?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Question asked by Melinda of Oklahoma

I have had episodes of blurriness in my right eye and vertigo with difficulty walking. I have had five of these episodes within the past six months and most only last 5-10 minutes. There is no pain involved, just right eye blurriness and trouble walking. The worst episode lasted 30 minutes and was accompanied with nausea and the vertigo and walking was extremely impaired. I am a 51-year-old female in good health. FULL POST


February 2nd, 2011
08:46 AM ET

TEDMED: A meeting of minds

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert couldn't attend TEDMED this year, but the conference did benefit from the wit and expertise of its own hosts: Marc Hodosh and Richard Saul Wurman. Colbert talks about some of the 2010 highlights, including the results of Ozzy Osborne's genome mapping and David Blaine's magic tricks.

Hodosh moved to Boston, Massachusetts, originally to attend medical school, but didn't pursue that as a career. Instead, he started consumer products companies, selling to places like QVC and Toys R Us. And while he was leading the Archon Genomics X PRIZE, a challenge to create better ways of sequencing genomes, Wurman approached him about relaunching TEDMED, which hadn't taken place since 2004.

Wurman, an architect and the author of more than 80 books, created and chaired the TED conferences from 1984 to 2002. TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design," and it aims to bring together the world's most fascinating "thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)." These include inventors, scientists, physicians, entertainers and fashion designers. TEDMED, which focuses more on health, is a spin-off.

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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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