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Seeking Serenity: Serious illness won’t get off my back
July 26th, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Seeking Serenity: Serious illness won’t get off my back

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of Seeking Serenity: The quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

One of the most stressful things about having a health crisis, aside from the fear of death, is the lingering paranoia.

It’s like that houseguest from hell who invites himself for a visit and then decides he will never leave. Because here you are, trucking along for 30-some-odd years, assuming that that the achy back is from the Kundalini yoga move gone awry and that lingering cough is from the cold you caught from your frenemy.

But once you’ve sparred with a serious illness like cancer, almost overnight you start seeing conspiracies to off you everywhere. Joyful, grateful and almost giddy you are to have survived at all, you bob up and down in constant waves of stress and anxiety. They can build to near-tsunami proportions each time you lose another friend who got her diagnosis at the same time as you or sat there beside you while you both received chemo or chatted with you in the waiting room during radiation.

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Big-name drugs go generic
July 26th, 2011
04:18 PM ET

Big-name drugs go generic

Some of the most popular prescription drugs are about to get a lot cheaper.  According to the mail-order pharmacy Medco, at least 22 prescribed medications may be available as generics in the next year.

When drug companies develop a drug the FDA usually grants them exclusive rights to market that drug for a set period of time.  When those rights expire, other companies can make the exact same drug.  Since there is competition, the generics are cheaper.  The FDA says the regulations are “designed to promote a balance between new drug innovation and generic drug competition.”

 Medco compiled a list of drugs and when they are expected to become public.

Among major drugs on the list for the next year:

  • Lipitor, a popular cholesterol drug, goes generic in November.
  • Solodyn, used to treat bacterial infections,  November.
  • Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia,  October.
  • Lexapro, used to treat depression,  March
  • Provigil, which treats sleep problems, April
  • Plavix, an antiplatelet drug which can prevent blood clots, May.
  • Singulair, an Asthma drug, August 2012.

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Addiction: The disease that lies
July 26th, 2011
04:13 PM ET

Addiction: The disease that lies

Marvin Seppala, M.D., is the chief medical officer of Hazelden, a private not-for-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment organization.

I learned of four addiction-related deaths this weekend. Three were people I knew in Portland, Oregon, recovery circles and the fourth was Amy Winehouse.

Tragically one must get used to such news if you spend a lot of time with those who have this disease. Whenever someone with addiction dies, I grieve the lost potential and wonder about the limitations of our ability to address this cunning, baffling and powerful disease.

I am also humbled by my own experience with addiction and recovery, and grateful for the help I received.

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Happy Meal gets a makeover
July 26th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Happy Meal gets a makeover

McDonald’s Happy Meals are getting their fat and calories trimmed, the fast food giant announced Tuesday.

The seemingly ubiquitous Happy Meals that have drawn the ire of health advocates and have been blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, will carry apple slices, reduced portion of french fries and a choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low-fat white milk.

The core of the Happy Meal will remain the same as kids will still get fries (a smaller portion) and a choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets.   All beverages, including milk, fruit juice, water and soda, continue to be options for the Happy Meal. FULL POST


July 26th, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Is it OK to be on antidepressants for years?

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.

Question asked by Rose from Arizona
Is it dangerous to be on an antidepressant for several years?
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Actress: I got compliments for looking emaciated
July 26th, 2011
11:26 AM ET

Actress: I got compliments for looking emaciated

Actress Rosario Dawson has some pointed words about expectations on women and their bodies.

"It's a form of violence in the way that we look at women and the way we expect them to look and be for what sake? Not for health, survival, not for enjoyment of life, but just so you could look pretty," Dawson told Shape Magazine. 

Dawson who appears on the August cover discussed industry-wide pressures to maintain an ideal body type.  After losing weight to play a drug addict dying of HIV/AIDS in the 2005 film "Rent," she was stunned to hear compliments about her  figure. FULL POST


July 26th, 2011
07:40 AM ET

Human Factor: From catastrophe to blessing

In the Human Factor, we profile 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. This week motocross champion Doug Henry shares how breaking his back may have paralyzed him from the waist down, but it didn't destroy his spirit.

Whenever something really bad happens to us, we ask ourselves, "Maybe things happen for a reason?" That seems to be the first thing we want to believe, hoping there is something good to come of a bad situation. Rarely do we say to ourselves, "We've been blessed."

Those of you who know my current set of circumstances may think I'm nuts for thinking I've been blessed but bear with me. I have lived a unique, passionate, fulfilling, life. I've seen the world, challenged myself, and pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of, and I've met so many beautiful people along the way.
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Should doctors practice what they preach?
July 26th, 2011
07:10 AM ET

Should doctors practice what they preach?

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

What do you call a chain-smoking, morbidly obese, soda addict who just graduated medical school?

Yep. Doctor.

How would you feel if he were your doctor? Would you listen to him if he asked you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
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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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