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August 5th, 2011
05:04 PM ET

Help me balance career, new baby, weight loss

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Lisa T. of Los Gatos, California

Since I had a baby at 44 after several years of fertility treatment, I personally have been struggling with addressing all that with the "no time" problem of new motherhood, career balance, etc, and yes, an extra 20 pounds gained pre-pregnancy due to fertility treatments. I bet there are LOTS of women out there who could benefit from some of your no-nonsense information and guidance on this issue, regardless of what point and circumstances they became new mothers. Any tips?

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What the Yuck: Can PMS change your boob size?
August 5th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

What the Yuck: Can PMS change your boob size?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Is it normal for my boobs to get a whole cup-size bigger during PMS? It's such a dramatic change that I need two different sets of bras!

Yep, breast inflation is completely normal. During the premenstrual phase, we have higher levels of the hormones progesterone and prolactin, both of which can cause breast tissue to swell and milk glands to increase in size.
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August 5th, 2011
01:49 PM ET

Becoming the 'healthiest man alive'

Author A.J. Jacobs has made a name for himself by self-imposing extreme challenges on his lifestyle, and then writing about them.

Recently, he decided he would try to live as healthy a life as possible, and that means following whatever health advice is out there. He once also tried to live according to all of the many hundreds of rules in the Bible for an entire year.

He discussed these projects at TEDMED, an annual gathering of innovative thinkers in San Diego, California, in October.

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Tri Challenge/Nina: A thousand changes
Photo by Derek Bell, used with permission of V3 Magazine
August 5th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Tri Challenge/Nina: A thousand changes

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.  During their last week before the race, we asked each of them the following questions: What's the biggest change you've seen in yourself since kick-off weekend? What are your personal goals for the Tri?"

This weekend, "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." will be live from New York at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. Watch the culmination of our team's training

Well my bags are packed and in the car, ready for an early morning drive to the airport, where my next task will be to conquer NYC! I have saved writing this until the last minute in order to savor the memories the last six months of my life for as long as possible. I have made thousands of precious memories that I will relish till the day I die. Some of the memories are foggy, perhaps because I was slightly hypoxic when they were made. But many are what I call “glass dome moments” – those happy, glowing moments in your life that are so pleasant that you want to cover them with a glass dome to preserve them forever. FULL POST


Football and heat: Who's at risk
August 5th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Football and heat: Who's at risk

When a kid goes out for football, you don't think of it putting his life at risk. But maybe you should.

Sad events in recent days  - "We think it was the worst week in the last 35 years in terms of athlete death" one expert told CNN -   make it feel as if it there's an epidemic of deaths related to high school athletics.

In fact, research from  2010 showed more football players are dying now than in previous years.  On average, between 1980 and 1994 there were fewer than two deaths a year.  After 1995, the average went up to nearly three deaths a year.  The study found a total of 58 football players died between 1980 and 2009.  All but 10 were 18 or younger.

Some experts believe a lack of rules for working out is a factor in the deaths.  And the climate scientists who conducted the 2010 research, published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, believe they've found clues to why there are now more players dying.

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On the trail of drug-resistant salmonella
August 5th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

On the trail of drug-resistant salmonella

Newer technologies offer a tremendous opportunity to track the development of highly dangerous bacteria, but tough economies and budget cuts threaten to choke off that promise, according to a pair of articles in the "Journal of Infectious Disease."

One paper by researchers from several European countries traced the gradual spread of a drug-resistant version of a salmonella strain known as S. enterica serotype Kentucky. According to Craig Hedberg, an environmental health scientist with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, says the normal Kentucky strain does not often cause human illness. It mostly circulates, uneventfully, in poultry, without harming the birds.

About a decade ago, genetic analysis of samples from France, England and Wales, Denmark and the United States began to pick up a variant that’s resistant to powerful antibiotics, including ciproflaxin, or Cipro. Many of the samples came from human patients, who became seriously ill from the new strain. In 2002, it was rare, with just three human cases. By 2008, there were 489 confirmed human cases.

As Hedberg wrote in an editorial that accompanied the article, “the multi-drug resistant clone of S. Kentucky could be a major public health threat.”

This version of S. Kentucky is not the only strain of antibiotic-resistant salmonella. One well-known version is known as Salmonella Typhimurium DT104. Meanwhile, the salmonella that has sickened at least 78 people and led to a nationwide recall of ground turkey, can be treated with Cipro but is resistant to several other common antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chickens and turkeys have adapted to live with salmonella, which rarely makes the birds sick. Based on testing at U.S. poultry facilities, about 10 percent of the birds carry salmonella bacteria. Phyllis Entis, a microbiologist who spent seven years working on food safety for Canada’s federal government, and who now writes a blog on food safety issues, says the U.S. lags far behind Scandinavian countries in controlling salmonella in the food supply. Entis says that Denmark, whose data were featured in the S. Kentucky paper, does frequent tests for salmonella and does not allow infected poultry to enter the food system, even if it’s not associated with an outbreak.

“It is possible to do, and it can be done, with proper culling of infected flocks,” she said.

Al Yancy, Vice-President of Food Safety and Poultry Production programs for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, says such caution is unnecessary. “To condemn raw poultry simply because it tested positive for a ubiquitous organism, you might even say is morally and ethically untenable,” Yancy told CNN. “With raw chicken [or turkey], the aim is to be as safe as possible, but safe shouldn’t be defined as ‘no salmonella.’ This meat can be rendered safe by cooking and proper handling.”

According to Entis, the biggest factor in producing resistant bacteria is the use of antibiotics in poultry feed. That view was echoed in congressional testimony in 2009 by Joshua Sharfstein, deputy commissioner of the  Food and Drug Administration. At the time, Sharfstein said there is “clear evidence” that the use of antibiotics to promote growth in animals, encourages drug resistance. “Purposes other than for the advancement of animal or human health should not be considered judicious use.”

Yancy acknowledges widespread use of antibiotics by poultry producers, but says members of his organization – “the world’s largest trade association representing feathered species” – follow guidelines set by the American Veterinary Medicine Association, which call for antibiotic use to be limited where possible.

The article in the Journal of Infectious Disease says it appears the spread of drug-resistant S. Kentucky is associated with poultry, but says that can’t be confirmed without better surveillance data from poultry operations. He authors say it’s possible the strain was also spread through aquaculture – fish farming – especially on farms where poultry products were used to fertilize ponds, or where waste from the fish farms was used as a supplement in feed for the birds.

“This paper demonstrates both the opportunities and the challenges of doing this kind of surveillance,” Hedberg told CNN. “We need to take maximum advantage of surveillance systems, to get an early indicator of where problems are developing."

However, he said the strategies of regular surveillance and testing are threatened by budget cuts in Europe and the United States.  “Support for many public health activities, including primary and secondary prevention measures, such as public health surveillance, is considered discretionary,” he wrote in his editorial. “Therefore, cutting these funds does not appear to result in a direct and measurable harm.”

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Tri Challenge/Joaquin: Moving the goalpost forward
August 5th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Tri Challenge/Joaquin: Moving the goalpost forward

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.  During their last week before the race, we asked each of them the following questions: What's the biggest change you've seen in yourself since kick-off weekend? What are your personal goals for the Tri?"

This weekend, "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." will be live from New York at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. Watch the culmination of our team's training

Six months of intense training are about to be tested and I can't wait to experience my first triathlon.

The journey to get here has been filled with ups and downs but all worth it. From struggling to wake up for 4:30 a.m. training sessions to making major lifestyle changes including going from a struggling self-employed business owner to a marketing director for a water conservation company all within those six months.

Looking back at life from our kickoff weekend this February I have undergone some major life changes.

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Coconut water label claims questioned
August 5th, 2011
09:54 AM ET

Coconut water label claims questioned

Coconut water, which came to fame as a celebrity health fad, has become an increasingly popular way to stay hydrated or recover after a workout.

Filled with electrolytes like sodium and magnesium, the slightly sweet water has come to be seen as a natural alternative to sports drinks like Gatorade.

That reputation may not be entirely deserved. According to a report released today by an independent health-product testing firm, the nutritional content of some brands of coconut water doesn't live up to what's on the label.

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Study: Tween TV today is all about fame
August 5th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Study: Tween TV today is all about fame

What do tweens value most?  If you are thinking honesty or self-acceptance think again.

To find out, researchers say, watch their favorite TV shows. The  values the shows promote above everything else, according to a new study from the University of  California, Los Angeles, is fame. Other individualistic values, such as financial success and physical fitness are also high on the wish list.

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Sanjay and triathlon: A Reset button
August 5th, 2011
08:41 AM ET

Sanjay and triathlon: A Reset button

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.  During their last week before the race, we asked each of them the following questions: What's the biggest change you've seen in yourself since kickoff weekend? What are your personal goals for the tri?"

This weekend, "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." will be live from New York at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. Watch the culmination of our team's training

A couple of years ago, I was worried I had become too complacent and full of too many excuses. A bowl of ice cream was justified almost every day. Hadn’t my day been so busy? A little treat was warranted. Exercise was always the first thing to fall off the map with a busy work life and a house full of three small children. “Tomorrow will come, and I will make a change,” I kept telling myself. Problem is – the tomorrows always came, without fail. And, the changes never happened, without fail.

I needed a reset button, and I had a pretty good idea how to do it. It would need to be drastic, in my case. It would also have to appeal to my inner competitive spirit, and changes would need to be visible immediately. I decided to sign up for a triathlon, and to tell everyone about it. After doing that, I would need to own it. 

Two years later, as I finish training for my second triathlon, which is this Sunday, I write this blog as a changed man. Besides the obvious fitness benefits and the compliments from my wife, which come more frequently, I have become better at managing my time, setting priorities and practicing what I preach. My diet improved, because it had to improve. I simply felt too sluggish during a training ride if I had indulged the night before. I came to enjoy exercise, relish it, almost need it. Remarkably, despite adding another significant time commitment, I found I was getting more done in my life overall.

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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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