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Unhealthy living may age your brain
August 1st, 2011
06:39 PM ET

Unhealthy living may age your brain

Vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and obesity  may cause the brain to age faster, possibly 10 years faster, according to a study published Monday in the journal Neurology.   Researchers found people with these risks factors had smaller brains and had diminished brain function later in life.

"Vascular risk factors affect our brain's and our ability to think even in middle life and we need to focus on treating these things if we are going to have a healthy mind and body," says study author Dr. Charles DeCarli.  Eating healthy and exercising are important but if you develop hypertension and if you develop diabetes, the most important thing is to treat them, he adds.

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August 1st, 2011
04:14 PM ET

FDA warns of counterfeit 'morning-after' pill

The Food and Drug Administration says the emergency "morning after" birth control pill Evital could be counterfeit and may not be safe or prevent pregnancy. The agency is asking women not to use the medication.

Evital is not approved for use in the United States.  But the FDA says, while it doesn't have evidence of "pattern targeting" of a specific ethnic group, the drug may have been distributed in Hispanic communities under the label "Evital Anticonceptivo de emergencia, 1.5mg, 1 tablet by Fluter Domull."

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Fish oil during pregnancy may lessen infant colds
August 1st, 2011
10:12 AM ET

Fish oil during pregnancy may lessen infant colds

Pregnant women who consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from supplements or natural sources such as salmon may be helping to fortify the immune system of their babies, a new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests.

Infants whose mothers took supplements containing docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA—one of the two main ingredients in fish oil—had fewer days with cold symptoms during their first six months of life than infants whose mothers received a placebo, the study found.

Newborns in the DHA group were also slightly less likely to come down with a cold in the first place.
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August 1st, 2011
08:05 AM ET

What is that metallic body odor?

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

Question asked by Laurie from Florida
Is it normal for a 12-year-old girl who has started her menstrual cycle for the first time, within the last six months to have a pungent, almost metallic, body odor? She gets teased for her smell all the time and we have tried everything to fix it.
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August 1st, 2011
12:30 AM ET

Not expecting miracles, but I love my cleanses

Editor's note: New research out Monday says there’s no scientific evidence that colon cleanses enhance well-being. CNN Showbiz writer-producer Lisa Respers France, a detox devotee, has a different opinion. She wrote this last spring, during her last cleanse. Our colleague in New York, “AC 360” senior producer Jill Billante, was wondering about the process and went to a Mayo Clinic doctor for some answers. It’s an interesting contrast.

I swear I’m not trying to be Beyonce.

Not that I would turn down being rich, talented and gorgeous, but I’m not trying to lose 20 pounds as she reportedly did by using the Master Cleanse detox.

Allow me to explain. I have way more than 20 pounds to lose. Five times more than that, actually. And I know that the only way it will come off successfully and permanently is through diet and exercise.

That’s not why for the past several days I have existed only on a diet of distilled water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, cayenne pepper and Grade B maple syrup. And other than a nightly cup of laxative tea, that’s all I have had for more than a week. No food. Not one bite.

I know all of the controversy surrounding the Master Cleanse - and detoxing in general - but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it twice a year, every year for the past five years.

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August 1st, 2011
12:30 AM ET

Mayo doctor is no fan of cleanses

Editor's note: "AC 360” senior producer Jill Billante was considering a cleanse and went to the Mayo Clinic for expert answers. Dr. Michael Picco didn’t have good things to say. A new study out Monday backs up Picco’s opinion. But CNN Showbiz writer-producer Lisa Respers France has done it for years and says it really makes her feel better.

The answer to weight loss continues to be eating a healthy diet, but many Americans want a shortcut, and there are plenty of companies willing to offer it. Type the word cleanse into your browser and you'll be overwhelmed with choices. Walk down the aisle of your health food store and you will find products promising to cleanse the colon and now, they can even be found at drugstore chains. Pick up a box and you might go into sticker shock; most cleanses are expensive. There are even companies that offer to deliver juice cleanses right to your home.

This spring, with my New Year’s resolution a distant memory and bikini season looming, I was considering a cleanse to help me lose some weight. After reading a few books on the subject, and one book in particular that seemed to have a smart approach, The Ciminelli Solution, which advocates eating more fruits and vegetables and healthy fats to help cleanse your body, I had some pretty big questions, and I did what journalists do: I started reporting.
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Colon cleansing: Not so healthy, analysis says
August 1st, 2011
12:15 AM ET

Colon cleansing: Not so healthy, analysis says

It has been touted as a natural way to improve your heath and cleanse the soul. But doctors are now finding the procedure known as colon cleansing can cause dangerous side effects.

Colon cleansing, technically known as colonic hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation, is a popular treatment, usually performed at spas. It often involves the use of chemicals in the body and in hydrotherapy, the colon is flushed with water through a tube inserted in the rectum.

But oral home remedies are also available and have become popular, especially over the Internet. Now researchers from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. say there's no evidence any of these colon cleansing treatments work and, in fact, when used improperly can cause cramping, kidney failure and in some extreme cases, death.

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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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