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Rx drug deaths triple in decade
November 1st, 2011
03:47 PM ET

Rx drug deaths triple in decade

Inappropriately used prescription pain medications kill 15,000 people in the United States each year, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're in the midst of an epidemic," says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "Narcotics prescribed by physicians kill 40 people per day."

Deaths due to prescription painkiller overdoses now exceed the number of heroin and cocaine overdose deaths combined, says Frieden, who is joining  Gil Kerlikowske, the director of National Drug Control Policy, also known as the nation's drug czar, to raise awareness about how prescription drug abuse deaths have tripled since 1999.

According to the data released Tuesday, 1 in 20 or 12 million Americans age 12 and older has misused prescription painkillers like oxycodone (Oxycotin), methadone or hydrocodone (Vicodin) and middle-aged adults have the highest overdose rates.

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A drink a day increases breast cancer risk
November 1st, 2011
03:00 PM ET

A drink a day increases breast cancer risk

Even moderate drinking increases a woman’s breast cancer risk, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research found as few as three to six glasses of wine a week increased the chance of developing breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer rose with the amount of alcohol consumed, the study found, with the best measure of risk being a woman’s cumulative alcohol consumption throughout her lifetime.

“This study doesn’t tell women, ‘Don’t drink at all,’” said Dr. Wendy Chen, lead author and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It’s really what someone does on average over a long period of time, not what they did this past month, not what they did this past year.”

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Get Some Sleep: Fall back tips
November 1st, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Fall back tips

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

The autumn equinox has come and gone, but many of us here in the Midwest have continued to fool ourselves that it is really just late summer.

But the game is over once we turn the clocks back and we start driving home from work in the dark. The clock change that is mandated by the end of daylight saving time is really the marker for many people that a change in seasons has happened.

For people who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the change in autumn means more hours of darkness and colder weather, which keeps many people indoors. As a result, many feel more depressed and have more sleep disturbance as well as daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

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Filed under: Sleep

November 1st, 2011
08:20 AM ET

Human Factor: There is no face of schizophrenia

In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle injury, illness or other hardship they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week  Ashley Smith shares the shock and struggle of learning she had schizophrenia.

In the summer of 2007, my life changed drastically when I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 20.

I was made aware of my illness when I stole a military truck from an airport and went on a high-speed chase with the police. I was jailed and later hospitalized for that crime.

I am now on my journey to recovery with the support of family, treatment team, peers and my faith. I share my recovery story as often as I can because I want to help reduce stigma, change perceptions, and encourage an open conversation about mental illness.

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Fewer U.S. babies being born early, report says
November 1st, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Fewer U.S. babies being born early, report says

When it comes to babies being carried to full term, the United States is improving, according to the most recent March of Dimes report card. This year the U.S. achieved a C grade, a grade higher than the D grade of  2010.

Each year, the March of Dimes compares each state's pre-term birth rate with the goal birth rate. The report says 40,000  fewer babies were born prematurely in the U.S. between 2006 and 2009.

"We set a goal of 9.6 % by 2020, and it's a realistic goal we can get to and it would be a tremendous accomplishment," says Douglas A. Staples,  senior vice president of strategic marketing and communications for the   March of Dimes. This year the state of Vermont was the only state to achieve that goal. The current nationwide rate is 12.2 percent.

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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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