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Study: World is getting fatter, needs to stop
August 25th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Study: World is getting fatter, needs to stop

The problem of obesity is spreading around the world and poses serious health threats.  The finding is part of a new special report on obesity, and how to combat it in the medical journal the Lancet.   The editor, Dr. Richard Horton, calls obesity a pandemic, and said it is one of the “huge threats facing governments which are likely to derail all their best attempts to improve the health of their nations while at the same time controlling costs.”

Obesity Around the World
The first study says nearly 1.5 billion adults in the world are overweight, and half a billion more are obese.  Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) more than 30.  That’s equivalent to an adult who's 5 feet 6 inches weighing more than 185 pounds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s BMI calculator. 

“It is occurring in just about all countries, apart from the lowest income countries,” says Professor Boyd Swinburn, with the World Health Organizations Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention in Melbourne, Australia.  “There is quite a lot of evidence now coming out that this is being driven by changes in the food system,” he says. “The food supply: increasingly processed, available, affordable and highly promoted tasty food.”

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FDA recommends lowering Celexa's maximum daily dose
August 25th, 2011
12:51 PM ET

FDA recommends lowering Celexa's maximum daily dose

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that patients taking the anti-depressant Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) take no more than 40mg a day. The FDA says anything more can cause abnormal heart rhythms, and studies show there is no therapeutic benefit with doses higher than 40mg. The recommendation includes generic versions of the drug.

Celexa, is made by Forest Laboratories Inc., and is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter–it helps relay messages from one part of the brain to another. Researchers believe serotonin imbalances can influence your mood and lead to depression. SSRIs like Celexa increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, which can help improve mood.

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When the playground becomes a pick-up zone
August 25th, 2011
07:27 AM ET

When the playground becomes a pick-up zone

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

From the dog run to Whole Foods to the Apple Store, you don’t have to look far to see single people flirting it up. But when it happens at the playground (where the vast majority of parents are not so single), one tends to want to look away.

Once upon a time, I worked with a couple (call them Jack and Jill) who hadn’t had sex in the year since their daughter was born. While Jill “wanted to want sex,” she complained of feeling “touched-out” from breastfeeding and of being too tired for sex. A successful marketing executive, she had returned to work after an all-too-brief maternity leave, while Jack, a freelance writer, stayed home to take care of the baby.

Our weekly conversations focused on how sex-starved Joe had been feeling and his anger and humiliation at being constantly rejected.
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August 25th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Gupta: Becoming heart attack proof

Editor's note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack at 8p and 11p ET on Saturday, September 3rd.

While working on “The Last Heart Attack,” I had a chance to interview some extraordinary people around the country. Patients struggling with heart disease provided lessons that can sometimes be taught only after being smacked in the face with their own mortality. For example, I have never seen former President Clinton so candid. He was convinced he was going to die back in 2004, after feeling chest tightness during a flight back to New York on a small plane.

I interviewed cardiologists who believe we are so darn close to virtually eliminating heart disease. And, the truth is, it doesn’t involve spending any more money, investing in any more research or creating anymore tests. Rather, it will take a strict implementation of what we already know about diet and nutrition. It will also take brave champions to navigate through the clutter of confusing counsel, special interests and shoddy science.

One day, I had a chance to speak to a couple of those champions candidly while waiting for a shoot to begin - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and  T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.  I had read Campbell’s book, "The China Study," years ago and remember how audacious he was in telling readers that most of what they believed about food and its relationship to health and disease was plain wrong. His findings changed the way people all over the world eat, including me.

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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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