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Binge drinking may harm learning, memory
May 16th, 2011
05:39 PM ET

Binge drinking may harm learning, memory

After a night of partying, it's not uncommon for college students to wake up with a fuzzy recollection of the evening’s events. But a new study suggests that binge drinking may impair memory in young people long after the hangover has worn off, perhaps because of damage to the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning.

In the study, which appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers in Spain gave a series of simple language and memory tests to 122 college students between the ages of 18 and 20, roughly half of whom were self-identified binge drinkers. The other half also drank alcohol, but more moderately.

In the first test, for instance, the students read lists of words and then tried to recall as many of them as they could in increasingly difficult exercises. In another, they were told two stories and asked to recount them as accurately as possible. FULL POST

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Filed under: Brain • Health.com

New epilepsy drugs safe in pregnancy, study finds
May 16th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

New epilepsy drugs safe in pregnancy, study finds

Doctors used to tell women with epilepsy not to have children, because the only available medications to treat the disorder also increased the risk of birth defects.

But newer antiepileptic medications used during the first trimester carry no such risks, finds a new study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Commonly, the message was, ‘you cannot have children,’” says Dr. Page Pennell, chair of the Professional Advisory Board for the Epilepsy Foundation. “So it really was an unfortunate situation when young women or even teenagers were told that their whole life-course was determined by the fact that they need an epilepsy medication.”

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Misdiagnosis common in early-onset Alzheimer's
May 16th, 2011
04:44 PM ET

Misdiagnosis common in early-onset Alzheimer's

You probably think of Alzheimer's disease in connection with memory problems. But other patterns of behavior that stem from this condition, sometimes even without memory deficiencies, can also be symptoms of the disease. In fact, research has shown that people younger than 65 with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, are more likely to have impairments in visual, behavioral, language and other functioning than memory deficiencies in their first symptoms.

A new study in the journal Neurology suggests that many people with early-onset Alzheimer's do not get a proper diagnosis based on their symptoms. A better solution would be to identify biomarkers, through cerebrospinal fluid or PET scans, that reflect Alzheimer's disease in the brain, said co-author Dr. Jose Luis Molinuevo, of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and the Institute of Biomedical Investigation August Pi i Sunyer, in Barcelona, Spain.

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May 16th, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Should the world's last smallpox virus be destroyed?

Health officials from 193 countries are gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, this week for the World Health Organization's annual meeting to discuss  myriad health threats of today.  Among the many topics on the agenda is the question – when should the last remaining samples of Variola, the virus that causes smallpox,  be destroyed?

The decision to destroy the known remaining virus samples was made back in 1996. But the actual destruction date has been delayed four times – most recently in 2007. So these samples of the virus – 451 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and about 120 stored in a lab called "Vector" in a remote Siberian town in Russia - continue to hibernate in liquid nitrogen.

Smallpox has been described as the world's worst diseases.  It infected only humans and 30% of those sickened died.  Many who survived were horribly scarred or  became blind or both. Up to half a billion people died from the disease just in 20th century alone.

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Simplifying treatment for TB without symptoms
May 16th, 2011
01:10 PM ET

Simplifying treatment for TB without symptoms

The findings of a large government trial show a treatment regimen that differs from the standard therapy may be effective in treating the latent form of tuberculosis.

About 11 million people in the U.S. are infected with latent tuberculosis, which is symptom-free and is not contagious.   Of those, 5 to 10 percent will go on to develop active TB, which can be spread to others and can be fatal if not properly treated.

Researchers looked at 8,000 people with latent TB, mostly in the United States or Canada. They were randomly given one of two treatments- the standard course of therapy, which takes nine months of daily treatment, or a once-weekly treatment for three months. The standard treatment is isoniazid. The experimental regimen combined isoniazid with rifapentine.

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May 16th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

What foods trigger migraines?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Dana of Jacksonville, Florida

I have migraine headaches. What foods should I avoid to prevent my migraines?
FULL POST


Study: ADHD meds don't boost severe heart risks
May 16th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Study: ADHD meds don't boost severe heart risks

Children and teens who take medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are no more likely to die from severe heart problems than those who do not take the medications, new research has found.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, along with co-authors from HealthCore Inc., noted that if a child is responding well to ADHD medicine, the benefit of the drug outweighs the risk of that child developing heart problems.

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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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