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Embattled autism study author sues medical journal for defamation
Dr. Andrew Wakefield authored a 1998 study that was retracted by the journal The Lancet.
January 6th, 2012
07:22 PM ET

Embattled autism study author sues medical journal for defamation

A doctor whose research on autism has been discredited by many medical authorities is launching a lawsuit against the British Medical Journal, as well as a freelance journalist and one of the journal's editors.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is the author of a controversial 1998 autism study and has linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to causing autism. In his lawsuit, he alleges that the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and specifically writer Brian Deer and editor Dr. Fiona Godlee, defamed him. They have made "unfair, incorrect, inaccurate and unjust criticisms of findings previously reported by Dr. Wakefield and 12 other co-authors," a petition filed in Travis County, Texas, states.

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Study: Annual prostate cancer test doesn't save lives
January 6th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

Study: Annual prostate cancer test doesn't save lives

Researchers have found more evidence that annual prostate cancer screening, called PSA test,  in men doesn't save lives.   Scientists followed 76,000 men for 10 to 13 years and found annual screening for prostate cancer led to more diagnoses but didn't result in less deaths from the disease, according to a new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Last October, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine PSA screenings for most men because of similar concerns about the accuracy of screening using a blood test that measures a protein called prostate-specific antigen or PSA.

Dr. Otis Brawley,  the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society said the harms of screening are better proved than the benefits,which is why he supports the USPSTF recommendations.  A substantial number of men receive unnecessary treatment because of the annual tests,which can lead to harms such as impotence and incontinence and can even lead to premature death, he wrote. FULL POST


Study: High-fat foods cause brain scarring
January 6th, 2012
01:31 PM ET

Study: High-fat foods cause brain scarring

Keeping pounds off long-term is difficult for even the most successful dieter, and scientists may now be on the path to determining why.

A study published recently in The Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that high-fat foods cause damage to the hypothalamus - an area in the brain responsible for hunger, thirst and the body's natural rhythms and cycles - in rodents.

“These are really important papers that begin to push the idea out that we’re not in control as much as we think we are,” says Dr. Steven R. Smith, co-director for the Sanford-Burnham Diabetes and Obesity Research Center, who wasn’t involved with the study.

However, Smith says researchers must first determine if the scarring happening in the rodent models will translate to the human condition. Not everything that scientists observe in rodents also applies to humans, of course, but it is a starting point.

“This is the tip of the spear. We’ve been talking a lot about diet and willpower and exercise and this sort of thing.  This is radically different [thinking] - that diets can actually re-program the structure of the brain.”
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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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