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Inside the throat of a beatboxer
Nate Ball lets Dr. Quyen Nguyen use an endoscope to get a closer look at his throat while he beatboxes.
October 27th, 2011
10:14 PM ET

Inside the throat of a beatboxer

Nate Ball let the TEDMED audience see the inside of his throat Thursday night while he beatboxed. Dr. Quyen Nguyen used an endoscope on stage to give us an up-close-and-personal look at how these sounds are produced inside him.

Ball, an engineer by training, has a keen curiosity about what's going in his body when he beatboxes. He let Dr. Charles Limb, also on stage, look at images of his brain while beatboxing, too, on a different occasion.

Limb saw that Ball's brain has very different patterns of activity when improvising and when spouting out an established beat. Creating a new beat on the fly seems to involve shutting down a portion of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in self-monitoring, and activating other neural networks; there is increased cerebellum activity in improvisation, for example.

CNN.com is catching up with Ball, Limb and Nguyen on camera. Stay tuned for future pieces on what makes each of their individual projects fascinating.


October 27th, 2011
04:57 PM ET

Measles cases at 15 year high in U.S.

There have been 220 cases of measles so far this year in the United States, more than triple the usual 60 to 70 cases per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Europe had more than 26,000 cases reported from January through July of this year, with nine deaths, according to the World Health Organization. So far, no deaths have been reported in the United States this year.

The CDC found of the 220 reported U.S. cases 87% of the people infected didn't get the vaccine, while the other 13% were too young to get it. Most of these cases were people who traveled overseas to Western Europe, Africa or Asia.  Even though 91.5% of the U.S. population is immunized, those who are not, are putting themselves and others at risk,  says Patsy Stinchfield Director of the Infection Disease Department at Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

Two-doses of the measles vaccine is estimated to be 98-99% effective at preventing the disease and provide lifelong immunity. For those who are unvaccinated and exposed to measles, they can be expected to get measles at a rate on the order of 90% or higher, according to the CDC.

Some adults are not vaccinated by choice or because they don't realize they haven't been vaccinated. When it comes to teens and children, 72% aren't immunized because of their parents religious beliefs or personal reasons, according to the CDC.

What parents don't realize is that "measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children," says Stinchfield and she adds that measles can be misinterpreted as  simply a bad case of the flu. Children can suffer the consequences of severe measles infection for years before they die from the disease. Brain inflammation and neurological problems are far more likely if a child gets measles disease. Encephalitis or  inflammation of the  brain can lead to permanent neurological problems.

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Do you know the mushroom man?
This large rare tree fungus called agarikon, held by Paul Stamets, has medicinal properties.
October 27th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Do you know the mushroom man?

It's hard to miss Paul Stamets at TEDMED. He's wearing a hat made out of a mushroom, which he picked up in Hungary. And he brought a large bag containing exotic mushrooms with medicinal properties to his talk, including the large rare tree fungus agarikon.

"We have discovered a new class of antivirals and antimicrobials," he said.

Stamets, the Indiana Jones of mushroom hunting, revealed exciting uses for mushrooms for boosting the immune system. Turkey tail mushroom, for instance, has been shown in clinical trials to help breast cancer patients, Stamets said.
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Nyad will continue chasing 'Xtreme dream'
Diana Nyad ended her TEDMED speech with a spirited bugle call
October 27th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Nyad will continue chasing 'Xtreme dream'

Diana Nyad may have had some setbacks this summer while attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida, but her journey isn't over yet, she said Wednesday.

"I can swim from Cuba to Florida, and I will swim from Cuba to Florida," she said at the TEDMED conference in Coronado, California. Nyad received a standing ovation after her inspirational presentation.

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What every cancer patient wants, according to Lance Armstrong
October 27th, 2011
10:41 AM ET

What every cancer patient wants, according to Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has brought attention to cancer through the ubiquitous Livestrong yellow wristbands. But at the same time, his story leaves the “Lance Armstrong effect,” the impression that cancer can be easily defeated and every patient can spring out of bed to achieve great feats much as the seven-time Tour de France winner has.

Dr. David Agus, a cancer expert from University of Southern California, asked Armstrong Wednesday night at TEDMED whether he felt any pressure of being the model of all things going right in cancer treatment.

“It doesn’t go right,” said Armstrong. He responded that every minute, a person in the United States dies from cancer.

And when he meets people living with cancer, the testicular cancer survivor doesn’t dispense advice.

“I don’t say anything,” Armstrong said about when he meets cancer patients.  “They don’t expect Vince Lombardi to come in and give tips.”

Here is what every cancer patient wants, according to Armstrong.

“They want to be heard,” he said.  “They want me to sit there, look at them in the eye and feel their story.”


HPV vaccine for boys
October 27th, 2011
07:43 AM ET

HPV vaccine for boys

Jennifer Shu. M.D., CNNHealth's Living Well expert doctor is a practicing pediatrician and mom of two.

A federal advisory panel has recommended that, along with young females, adolescent boys and young men should get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, which protects against many strains of a virus that can cause genital warts and cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, mouth/throat, and more.

As a pediatrician and a mother, I am not surprised by this recommendation. In fact, several parents of my male patients have already requested this vaccine as their sons enter young adulthood.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Parents make medical decisions for their children based on the best information known at the time. Current research shows that the HPV vaccine is both safe and effective. Waiting for a child to reach adulthood and make his own decision may be too late.
  • For maximal protection, the vaccine should be given before an individual exposed to the virus, usually through sexual activity. However,  HPV can be transmitted in the absence of intercourse - such as through close contact with the genital area of another person - and even people with one sexual partner over the course of a lifetime can get infected.
  • It is difficult to test for HPV, and people are often infected without having any symptoms. Both males and females can transmit the HPV virus unknowingly, and parents want to protect their sons as well as their daughters.

Having seen the serious effects that HPV infection can have on an individual, I advise my own patients and family members to receive the vaccine when they are the right age. Parents with questions about HPV infections and vaccines can talk with their child’s pediatrician for more information.


Is passion on your plate?
October 27th, 2011
07:36 AM ET

Is passion on your plate?

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

It’s been said that the way to a lover’s heart is through his (or her) stomach, and there’s no doubt that the very act of preparing a delicious meal for your partner could score you points. But can certain foods actually increase your sexual desire?

We’ve all heard claims that foods and beverages like oysters, chocolate and red wine can boost libido, but the science behind these isn’t particularly strong.

There may not be much research to support the effects of food on arousal, but it’s true that great nutrition can promote great sex. Some foods and beverages - or, more specifically, the vitamins, minerals and other compounds they contain - may indeed help improve your sex life.
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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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