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Shrinking brains and 'silent strokes' studied
December 30th, 2011
05:41 PM ET

Shrinking brains and 'silent strokes' studied

New findings in Alzheimer's disease support longstanding notions of what doctors have preached for years. The studies look at associations, not causes, but they further scientists' pursuit of preventing the fatal brain disease.

It's no secret that healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in vitamins found in fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health and longevity.

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Filed under: Alzheimer's • Cancer

What the Yuck: Cotton swabs and ear wax
December 30th, 2011
01:04 PM ET

What the Yuck: Cotton swabs and ear wax

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: How bad is it really to stick a cotton swab in my ear?

We know, it feels so good to get in there! But cotton swabs are meant for use on the outside of your ear, not the inside. Sticking one in too far can push wax deeper inside the ear canal, possibly damaging the eardrum. And a little wax is actually healthy - it helps protect your sensitive ear canal.

If your ears are feeling really clogged up, see your doctor, who can suggest ear drops to use at home, or safely remove blockage for you.


Studies suggest Avastin can help ovarian cancer patients
December 29th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

Studies suggest Avastin can help ovarian cancer patients

Two studies released in this week's New England Journal of Medicine suggest the drug Avastin may benefit some ovarian cancer patients.

The two studies found that adding Avastin to chemotherapy treatment can stall the growth of cancer by almost four months. Avastin, which has the generic name Bevacizumab, stops the growth of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors, say researchers. However, it is still unclear if it will extend patients' lives.

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LA could vote on mandatory condom use in adult films
December 28th, 2011
09:59 AM ET

LA could vote on mandatory condom use in adult films

A ballot initiative that would require condoms in all adult films shot in the city of Los Angeles has enough signatures to get on the June ballot.  But there’s a legal challenge coming from the city’s attorney before LA residents can vote on the matter.

The proposed law called the “Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act” would require “any person or entity directly engaged in the creation of adult films who is issued a permit” to “maintain engineering and work practice controls, including the provision of and required use of condoms, sufficient to protect employees from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials consistent with state law.”

It would also charge adult film production companies a fee to pay for the periodic inspections. FULL POST


Plavix warning may not be necessary
December 27th, 2011
06:07 PM ET

Plavix warning may not be necessary

The popular blood-thinner Plavix is a safe and effective medication for patients, including those deemed to be "poor metabolizers" of the drug, says an analysis released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings contradict the 2010 boxed warning that the Food and Drug Administration mandated be placed on the drug's label.

If you're one of the approximately 40 million people worldwide taking Plavix (known generically as clopidogrel), you're probably familiar with the warning. The label cautions that the drug has "diminished effectiveness in poor metabolizers", or patients with a certain genotype, known as CYP2C19, and thus may lead to an increase in cardiovascular events like heart disease, stroke, or bleeding. To help decide if Plavix is a good fit for patients, the label says genetic tests are available to identify people with the genotype in question.
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Tests for biomarker may diagnose heart attack within hours
December 27th, 2011
04:06 PM ET

Tests for biomarker may diagnose heart attack within hours

One of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room is for serious chest pains. Time is crucial when someone is having a heart attack.  If doctors don't make a diagnosis quickly, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Now, there may be a new tool to help ER doctors make a quicker diagnosis.  A new highly sensitive test can detect troponin, a protein in the muscle tissue, according to new research in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  According to cardiologists, the higher the levels of troponin, the more likely it is a person will have a heart attack. If tropin isn't present, the likelihood of a heart attack is much smaller.

Researchers say this new test could also help physicians monitor patients who present with chest pains but no heart attack symptoms in the hours after being admitted to the hospital. FULL POST


Obesity in teen years may be blamed on  mother/child relationships
December 26th, 2011
12:16 AM ET

Obesity in teen years may be blamed on mother/child relationships

The mother-child relationship has always carried a lot of weight.  Now researchers say some obese teens might be in essence, carrying the weight of their relationship with their mothers when they were younger.

A new study published in this week's edition of Pediatrics finds the type of relationship a mother has with her young child could affect that little one's chances of becoming obese as a teen.

Researchers looked at data of 977 children from around the United States, which documents relationship characteristics between mothers and their toddlers. The less of an emotional bond a mother had with her child, the higher the risk that the child would become obese by the age of 15. FULL POST


A furry angel saved my son
December 23rd, 2011
05:26 PM ET

A furry angel saved my son

Jeff Mitchell of Braselton, Georgia, was 26 years old when he went to war in 2003. In 2007, he was forced to leave the Army through medical retirement after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  After years of futile attempts at treatment, Jeff’s condition began to improve a few months ago after a group called Paws4Vets paired him with a service dog who had undergone her own traumas. Jeff’s mother, Carol, tells what it was like to watch her son struggle.

First, you bargain with God.

Just please let him survive.  Please let us see him again. Oh, please surround our son with your protection.

Prayers are answered. He's back.  He has survived - he's still at Fort Carson thousands of miles from home, but he's back in the United States and he is no longer being targeted by insurgents.

Little did we know then that an even more insidious enemy was trying to take our son. FULL POST

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Filed under: PTSD

Hair: The gift of all seasons
December 23rd, 2011
03:44 PM ET

Hair: The gift of all seasons

Tis the season of giving, but there's one gift that you can give all year-long - your hair.  It's not a new concept, but not everyone (who has long hair) may be aware of the opportunity.  The hair is used to make real-hair wigs for people who have lost their hair because of cancer or another illness.

Not everyone can donate.  First of all of course, you must have long hair you are willing to part with.  I had to have at least "10 good inches" of hair to donate,  according to Shane Tylor Petsch, hairstylist at Van Michael Salon in Atlanta, Georgia.  That's because I donate my hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that "provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis."  FULL POST


What the Yuck: My pee is bright green!
December 23rd, 2011
09:07 AM ET

What the Yuck: My pee is bright green!

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: My pee is suddenly bright green, even though I drink tons of water. What’s going on?

Normally, the color of your urine should be between almost clear and dark yellow.

Neon-green pee may look alarming, but it’s usually just a sign that you’re getting too much of certain vitamins - B vitamins, in particular - and that your body is flushing out the excess.

That said, if you notice it regularly, talk to your doc about whether you should cut back on your B intake.


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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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