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On the Brain: Does a full bladder free your mind?
March 2nd, 2011
06:03 PM ET

On the Brain: Does a full bladder free your mind?

This week there's a somewhat bizarre study about whether judgment improves after drinking copious amounts of water, as well as research in Alzheimer's disease and early childhood mental disorders.

A little self-control
Don't make a hard decision with an empty bladder, suggests new research from the Netherlands. In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, psychologists at the University of Twente demonstrate that bladder control is related to same part of the brain associated with feelings of desire and reward, the Telegraph reports. And people who drank five cups of water in the study made better decisions than those who took small sips. That's perhaps because feelings of inhibition are all connected in the brain so self-control about one thing can "spill over" (haha) into something else, Discover writes. But before you change your bathroom habits, consider that this  shows only  a correlation between drinking water and good choices; we don't know that a full bladder causes any mental advantages. (Frequent urination? Find out what's normal)

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Swimming, biking, and running his way off meds
March 2nd, 2011
05:44 PM ET

Swimming, biking, and running his way off meds

Three months ago I saw my personal physician and was started on three medications, two for high blood pressure and one for high LDL levels, the bad lipids. It was that day that I applied for the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge and decided that I needed to make a change in my life towards healthier living.

My family history is strong for hypertension on my dad’s side of the family. It was no surprise that I would have problems as well. For years I had had borderline hypertension, even medicated for a couple years. When I lost a few pounds the BP improved and I was able to come off medications. Over the years the weight came back and the high blood pressure returned. When I saw my primary care provider in November my blood pressure was 140/98. That is the highest that it has ever been and I was promptly started on my medications.

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Battle over 'Baby Joseph' intensifies
March 2nd, 2011
05:29 PM ET

Battle over 'Baby Joseph' intensifies

The hospital treating Joseph Maraachli – a 13 month old Canadian boy with a progressively deteriorating neurological condition whose parents are fighting to have him transferred to the U.S. for care- has launched a public information campaign to address what hospital officials  say are "outrageous and defamatory" allegations.

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Families haunted by end-of-life decisions
March 2nd, 2011
03:51 PM ET

Families haunted by end-of-life decisions

The burden of making medical decisions for a loved one can cause distress and even post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

When a patient is physically or mentally unable to make medical choices, his or her fate falls into the hands of others, usually family members or friends.  They ultimately choose whether to start dialysis, have a risky surgery or put a person on life support.

The prevailing logic is that family members know the patient best and can make the most appropriate medical decisions. FULL POST


FDA targets unapproved prescription cold meds
March 2nd, 2011
03:40 PM ET

FDA targets unapproved prescription cold meds

Companies that make, distribute or market unapproved prescription cough, cold and allergy medications were put on notice Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration that their products can't be legally marketed in the United States.

The FDA says the safety, effectiveness and quality of 27 active ingredients in approximately 500 unapproved drugs have not been evaluated by the agency. Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the agency doesn't know what's in these drugs or how they were made.

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March 2nd, 2011
12:24 PM ET

Sheen has us asking: What's bipolar?

Over the last couple days, I have found it interesting how many people have watched the antics and interviews with Charlie Sheen, and immediately diagnosed him as either being on drugs or in the middle of a manic episode. Could be – but who knows, maybe it is all a big ruse. His erratic behavior is not in question, but arriving at a diagnosis based on a TV interview is impossible. In fact, my colleagues in the psychiatry community say it can be challenging even after completing a full assessment.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by the occurrence of at least one manic episode during the patient’s lifetime. Most patients also, at other times, have one or more
depressive episodes. In the intervals between these episodes, most patients return to their normal state of well-being. This is according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). When looking for evidence of mania, doctors often cite symptoms like being overly euphoric, agitated behavior, racing speech and impulsive behavior to name a few. Just reading that gives you an idea of why arriving conclusively at a diagnosis can sometimes be so difficult.

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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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