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African-Americans get higher blood pressure sooner
September 12th, 2011
05:55 PM ET

African-Americans get higher blood pressure sooner

African-Americans who have slightly elevated blood pressure and don't do anything to change their lifestyle are  more likely to have high blood pressure one year earlier than whites with prehypertension, according to a study published Monday.

Blood pressure numbers between 120-139 systolic (upper number) or 80-89 diastolic (lower number) are considered prehypertension.  High blood pressure is defined as 140/90 mm Hg and greater.

Previous studies have shown that blacks have higher rates of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), heart disease and stroke compared to whites.  This new study says African-Americans with prehypertension are more likely to progress to having high blood pressure compared to whites in the same situation, suggesting the need for earlier interventions among black patients to potentially eliminate the disparities between races for hypertension.

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Fatherhood decreases testosterone, may create nurturing fathers
September 12th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

Fatherhood decreases testosterone, may create nurturing fathers

Let's face it - throughout most of human history, stereotypes have dictated that women are more adept caregivers for children than men. Child-rearing is assumed to be in the female domain, while providing is considered inherently male. A large study of testosterone levels in men is turning that assumption on its head, suggesting that fatherhood actually lowers levels of the hormone once men become fathers, re-wiring them to be more nurturing.

"This suggests that a lot of stereotypes about men and child-rearing, maybe we need to rethink them a little bit," said Chris Kuzawa, associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, and co-author of the study. "It seems like it's part of our biological make-up to shift into the role of caregiver once it's required of us."

That shift occurs as a man becomes a father, according to the study, just published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Several hundred Filipino men participating in the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey had their testosterone levels measured in their early twenties, when they were single and at their most virile. Their testosterone was measured again about five years later, once they had married and had children.

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Insulin may help treat Alzheimer's
September 12th, 2011
04:01 PM ET

Insulin may help treat Alzheimer's

Researchers are investigating insulin as a possible treatment for Alzheimer's disease, and in a preliminary study, the results look promising.

A study in the journal Archives of Neurology suggests that intranasal insulin - that is, delivered through the nose - may help with cognition and functioning in patients who have both mild and more severe dementia.

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Screenings essential for newborns' health
September 12th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Screenings essential for newborns' health

September is Newborn Screening Awareness month, a time designated to get the word out to new or expectant parents about the importance of having their new babies screened for serious illnesses.

Even if a baby is born healthy, certain conditions can develop later in infancy that may affect a child's long-term health. That's why the Center for Disease Control stresses newborn screenings. These tests can many times identify issues before they become major problems and can help with the diagnosis and treatment of certain illnesses.

"Newborn screenings actually started in the '60s, when newborn babies were screened for phenylketonuria or PKU, (a metabolic condition that can damage the brain) ," says Dr. Toni Thompson-Chittams, a board certified pediatrician and director of TLC Pediatrics of Bowie, Maryland. " The screenings became so successful, hospitals and state public health departments, decided to test for more conditions."

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Study: Some cartoons are bad for children's brains
September 12th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Study: Some cartoons are bad for children's brains

Some children's television shows may be bad for young kid's brains according to a new study about watching cartoons. It appears that children may not concentrate and focus very well after watching fast-paced programming.

Researchers from the University of Virginia showed 60 4-year olds a 9-minute chunk of what they call an "animated kitchen sponge" cartoon. The experts then tested the children's memory and thinking skills and compared their scores to other youngsters, who had watched a slow-paced educational cartoon or drew pictures with crayons and markers.

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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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