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Two steps forward in field of osteoporosis
February 22nd, 2011
05:27 PM ET

Two steps forward in field of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become weak, affects 10 million people in the U.S. Two studies released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at osteoporosis prevention and treatment. One found a nitroglycerin ointment may someday be an inexpensive, widely available means of prevention. The other found a small increase in the risk of atypical fractures associated with the long-term use of the class of drugs known as bisphosphonates.

The nitroglycerin ointment, applied to one part of the skin, was shown to have effects all over the body.

"It differs from current drugs, which either inhibit the breakdown of bone or stimulate the formation of new bone," said Dr. Sundeep Khosla of the Mayo Clinic, who wrote an accompanying editorial. "Nitroglycerin tends to do a little bit of both, which would put it in a unique class by itself."

How healthy are your bones? Take this test FULL POST


Get Some Sleep: When people act out their dreams
February 22nd, 2011
03:50 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: When people act out their dreams

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.

The second time Charlie was awakened by his wife’s screams because he was slapping her in his sleep, he decided to move into the guest bedroom.  The third time he hurled himself from his bed and put a big gash in his forehead, he decided to come to the sleep center.

Charlie has REM behavior disorder, or RBD.  For each violent episode, he could recall the dream that he was having that prompted him to action. It is very common, and was true in this case, that when the person with RBD attacks his bed partner, usually he is dreaming that he is saving his spouse.  In the dream, it is the bad guy he is hitting.

RBD occurs when people are able to act out their dreams or usually their nightmares.  Most of us are not able to do this because in REM sleep, which is where we have our vivid dreams, our muscles are very relaxed, almost paralyzed.   If we reason backwards from what happens in RBD, we see that this is a self-protection mechanism so that we don’t throw ourselves off a cliff fighting the saber tooth tiger.

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Filed under: Sleep

February 22nd, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Human Factor: 'Animals saved me'

In the Human Factor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces you to survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle - injury, illness or other hardship –- they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed.  Dr. Alan Rabinowitz suffered from a severe stutter as a child and worked through his hardships in a most unusual way. Here is his story in his own words.

No one steps into another’s head and feels life as they do.  Really, who would want that?  For me, life was defined by a terrible childhood stutter in a world that had no idea what to do with me.

As a youth my stuttering blocks were so severe that my body would twist and spasm in trying to get a word out.  So I just stopped trying.  In retrospect, my stuttering was a gift.  But retrospect comes with healed scars, dark buried secrets, and the gradual lessening of intense pain that gets paved over with the years.

FULL POST


February 22nd, 2011
09:07 AM ET

Can antidepressants jump-start bipolar disorder?

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.

Asked by Michelle, Michigan

I had an untreated health issue for a couple of years that threw me into a mild depression. I have a mother and brother who are bipolar and one of the things my therapist told me is that studies show that if you go on an antidepressant and there is a history of bipolar in your family that this can sometimes "kick in" the bipolar. I am lucky and was able to get past my depression with therapy, exercise, etc. I was just wondering what your thoughts were. FULL POST


Brain scans may someday detect autism
February 22nd, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Brain scans may someday detect autism

Researchers are hoping that by using a common tool for measuring of brain activity in a new way, they may be one step closer to identifying whether  a child is a greater risk for autism.

"We haven't diagnosed autism at this point," says William Bosl, Ph.D., lead author and a research scientist at Children's Hospital Boston. But he says by using an electroencephalogram and new, sophisticated computer programs to analyze the EEGs, he and his co-authors were able to correctly identify with 80% accuracy, which babies were at higher risk for autism and which were not.

FULL POST


Breast cancer ID'd more accurately by docs who see more scans
February 22nd, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Breast cancer ID'd more accurately by docs who see more scans

The more mammograms your doctor interprets every year, the better your doctor becomes at determining whether there’s really breast cancer present, according to a new study to be published in the journal Radiology.

The study finds that doctors who interpret a higher yearly volume of mammograms have fewer false-positives, meaning they call fewer patients back in for additional testing.

Perhaps surprising to many people, low volume and high volume radiologists were equally good at catching breast cancer; it’s just that low volume doctors sounded more false alarms so to speak.

FULL POST


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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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