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March 15th, 2011
02:29 PM ET

What you should know about radiation

Japanese workers are scrambling to control a nuclear plant after a fire that may have burned several fuel rods. Officials said that the readings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Tuesday morning were not at levels to cause “harm to human health,” but anxiety about impending disaster persists. Here's more on radiation sickness and how to combat it.

Radiation levels at the plant Tuesday were between 100 and 400 millisieverts, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. To put that in perspective, in the United States, a person typically gets a radiation dose of 6.2 millisieverts per year.

That dose would quickly dissipate with distance from the plant, and radiation levels quickly fell back to levels where they would be no immediate public health threat, Edano said. Still, people as far as 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) were warned to stay inside.

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March 15th, 2011
02:22 PM ET

Are psychiatric advance directives worthwhile?

Question asked by Claire of Rhode Island:

Do you think it is worthwhile to have a psychiatric advance directive?

For several years I have experienced bouts of depression. I've worked with my primary care doctor; psychiatrist and psychotherapist to treat it with varying degrees of success. So far, I have not needed to be hospitalized. However, as much as I hate to think about it, that may happen. I've had a medical advance directive for years and decided to add a psychiatric advance directive to it. To my surprise, my primary care doctor, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist had never heard of a PAD. They are accepted in my state. The main reason I have one is to state in writing that I am willing to have electroconvulsive therapy - my family is horrified at the thought of it. My primary care doctor and psychotherapist do think it is a good idea to have one. What is your experience with PADs - do you think they are worthwhile?

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Get Some Sleep: Getting good rest helps you stay well
March 15th, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Getting good rest helps you stay well

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.


Karen considered herself a normal, healthy, 30-something-year-old woman, but she had noticed that in the past two years or so she was always getting sick: colds, flues, sinus infections, GI bugs. “I never use to get sick, but now it seems like every other week, I am coming down with something.”

We talked about what had changed in the past two years. The answer was: everything. She had finished law school and moved to Chicago to work for a large firm. She was working 60-80 hours per week, eating fast food, not exercising and sleeping only five to six hours per night.

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March 15th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Report: Alzheimer's caregivers suffer as well

Caregivers of people with dementia provide 17 billion hours of unpaid care a year, at an annual cost of $206 billion, and all of this work and dedication is taking a toll on their health, according to the 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures,  an annual report of the Alzheimer's Association.

"The caregivers are going to suffer as well with decreases in their quality of life, decreases in their own health and often shortening of life span," says Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer's Association.

Has Alzheimer's touched your life? Share your story

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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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