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November 2nd, 2011
05:09 PM ET

New drug 'big deal' in cystic fibrosis fight

A new pill may help in the fight with cystic fibrosis.

A study, funded in part by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, found the drug ivacaftor (pronounced eye va kaf tor) caused patients with a specific type of cystic fibrosis to improve lung function, gain weight, and fight other aspects of the disease.

“This is the first time that we have a therapy that is directed at the cause of cystic fibrosis,” says Dr. Michael Konstan, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland and one of the authors of the study. There is no cure for this disease and existing treatments just help alleviate some of the symptoms.

“This is a big deal,” says Robert Beall, the president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  “The fact is it is obviously going to make a very big difference in the lives of patients.”

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Teens don't know how to lose weight properly
November 2nd, 2011
05:07 PM ET

Teens don't know how to lose weight properly

Teens who try to lose weight may be going about it the wrong way.

A study presented by a doctoral student at Temple University  found that obese students have great interest in weight loss,  but this intent can mean increased smoking and soda drinking.  Temple University’s public health doctoral candidate Clare Lenhart presented data from a 2010 survey of 44,000 students at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association this week.

The results showed that about 75.7% of the obese students attending Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, public high schools sought to lose weight.

“What I was expecting to see was increased intake of salad or healthy foods,” Lenhart said.  “In fact, what I found was persistent unhealthy behaviors contrary to weight loss.”

Those teenagers who tried to lose weight had increased use of tobacco and soda.  It was unclear from the data why the female students drank more non-diet soda when they sought to lose weight.

“In some families, soda is commonplace,” Lenhart said.  “They might not consider that – it’s just a habit.”

According to the data analysis, obese female students were more likely to report at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity than their obese male counterparts who reported an average of three hours of video games a day.

The students may not have a clear idea on proper ways to lose weight, Lenhart said.

She  had worked on a previous study that found obese students were at increased risk of dangerous weight loss behaviors such as binge eating, using pills and purging.

Rather than having health educators, nurses and physicians only determine BMI, it would be worthwhile for them to ask follow-up questions about what kind of habits and behaviors the students practice, Lenhart said.

“The fact that three-fourths of the students who are obese report interest in weight loss, it’s an incredible opportunity from a public health standpoint," Lenhart said.  "If they’re demonstrating interest in changing, it’s a good first step.  It’s a matter of helping them and taking the following steps from there.”


Thrive under pressure like a pro athlete
November 2nd, 2011
12:49 PM ET

Thrive under pressure like a pro athlete

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

The young entrepreneur walked in and sat down. She was focused and calm, with wonderful posture, her hands casually in front of her, just so.

“I looked at her and thought, ‘I wish I had that much poise,’” said my friend Jenna, a communications coach who works with MBA students to help them perfect the art of interviewing and presenting ideas.

“We talked for five minutes, had a normal conversation.” Then the woman started to explain how she has trouble speaking in front of people. “Out of nowhere everything about her started to change: her face began flushing, her hands were shaking, her voice was trembling.”

The entrepreneur’s metamorphosis under pressure was so dramatic, Jenna was still thinking about it days later when we spoke.

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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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