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Two dead in Louisiana after unclean water used in neti pots
December 16th, 2011
07:24 PM ET

Two dead in Louisiana after unclean water used in neti pots

Louisiana health officials are warning residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who exposed their brains to a deadly amoeba while flushing out their nasal passages.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, can be found in lakes and ponds as well as in contaminated lukewarm tap water. The organism doesn't pose a threat when ingested, but if it becomes lodged in a person's nose it can end up in the brain and cause an infection.

The infection, lethal in 95% of cases, triggers an array of symptoms that resemble those of bacterial meningitis, including vomiting, headaches and sleepiness. As it progresses, it can cause changes in a person’s behavior and lead to confusion and hallucinations. It usually causes death within one to 12 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cold and flu • Health.com

Baby who fought cancer with mom dies
December 16th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

Baby who fought cancer with mom dies

A 1-year-old girl whose family was profiled on CNN.com died Tuesday after a seven-month struggle with a childhood cancer.

The stories of the child, Saoirse Craig Fitzgerald, and her mother, Kezia Fitzgerald, were told this fall because they were both diagnosed with cancer - albeit different types - within five months of each other.

In the Fitzgerald family, a household of three, cancer struck twice. FULL POST


Drug shortages hit an all-time high
December 16th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Drug shortages hit an all-time high

Between 2006 and 2010, drug shortages increased by more than 200%, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday. There were a record 196 shortages last year, and even more are expected in 2012.

“These shortages often force Americans to go without treatment,” Senator Tom Harkin said.

Renee Mosier is one of those patients who has been forced to forgo treatment and look for alternatives. The 61-year-old was first diagnosed in 2006 with ovarian cancer. After several successful surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, the cancer came back this past June.
FULL POST


N.Y.C. triathlon adds swim requirement after deaths
December 16th, 2011
10:21 AM ET

N.Y.C. triathlon adds swim requirement after deaths

Editor's note: CNN's Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge athletes have competed in the New York City Triathlon for the past two years. All of CNN's athletes crossed the finish line in 2011 without incident. In 2012, the newest group of athletes will compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon instead, because of the earlier scheduled date of the New York City Triathlon. Want to be a part of CNN's team? Submit your video here by December 19!

Organizers of the New York City Triathlon announced this week that they will add an open-water swimming waiver to their registration process for next year's race. The move comes after two athletes died during the swim portion of the 2011 triathlon.

"Swimming in the open water is different than swimming in a pool or taking a bath," said John Korff, the race's director. "Anybody who's jumping in the river has to have done this once or twice, so they're ready to jump in there."

The race will require applicants to sign a waiver stating that they've swum at least a half-mile in open water in the preceding 18 months, or will swim the distance before race day. They'll be asked to sign another waiver the day before the race, indicating that they've completed the requirement.
FULL POST


Weil: Mild depression treatable with simple lifestyle changes
December 16th, 2011
07:15 AM ET

Weil: Mild depression treatable with simple lifestyle changes

Andrew Weil is the director of the of the integrative medicine program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Professor of Medicine and Public Health, author of "8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Healthy Aging," and the forthcoming "Spontaneous Happiness." 

Depression has many forms. Worst among them is the kind characterized by deep, soul-crushing despair, so eloquently described in novelist William Styron's 1992 book, “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.”

"The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it. . . . the grey drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. ..it is natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion."

I’m thankful that, unlike Styron, I have never had a major depressive episode. At times in my life, however, I have experienced a depressed mood for most of the day, more days than not, over weeks and even months.
FULL POST


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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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