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Could stimulating the brain one day treat Alzheimer's disease?
February 8th, 2012
05:16 PM ET

Could stimulating the brain one day treat Alzheimer's disease?

In a very small group of patients, sending electrical impulses to a memory-center in the brain - via tiny implanted electrodes - may have improved their memory.

The new study provides hope, albeit a small glimmer, that deep brain stimulation could one day help patients diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease.

"Can this be used for cognitive or memory enhancement with patients with serious memory impairment?" said Dr. Itzhak Fried, a study co-author and professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "This is a question not answered by this study, but this study points to a possible direction for the future."
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How ovulating women affect men's speech
February 8th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

How ovulating women affect men's speech

The elaborate courtship displays found in the animal kingdom - a peacock spreading his feathers, the hissing of the Madagascar cockroach - aren't always appropriate in an office or classroom.

Male humans seem to have devised other, less obvious ways of showing off.

A new study suggests that when young men interact with a woman who is in the fertile period of her menstrual cycle, they pick up on subtle changes in her skin tone, voice, and scent - usually subconsciously - and respond by changing their speech patterns.

Specifically, they become less likely to mimic the woman's sentence structure. According to the researchers, this unintentional shift in language may serve to telegraph the man's creativity and nonconformity - qualities that are believed to attract potential mates.
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Filed under: Fertility • Health.com

Study: Tai chi improves balance in Parkinson's patients
February 8th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Study: Tai chi improves balance in Parkinson's patients

Researchers and aficionados of the ancient Chinese art of tai chi are already aware of how this moving meditation can help reduce stress and improve balance.  Now a new study finds that the gentle flowing motions of this so-called "soft martial art" can help improve balance problems commonly suffered by Parkinson's patients.  The study finds that bi-weekly tai chi training improved balance and reduced falls among a group of patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.

“While medication can relieve some, but not all Parkinson's symptoms such as tremors, rigidity and slowness,” explained lead author Fuzhong Li of the Oregon Research Institute, “Tai chi helped patients improve their posture and balance.”  The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday.

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New initiative targets preterm births/elective deliveries
February 8th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

New initiative targets preterm births/elective deliveries

Federal health officials are getting serious about reducing the rising number of preterm births and early elective deliveries by promising more than $40 million in grants to help reduce those trends. 

The Department of Health and Human Services launched the Strong Start initiative  on Wednesday, which will provide funding to health care providers and other organizations that offer prenatal care to women covered by Medicaid. It will also kick off a national campaign to educate hospitals, doctors and mothers that early elective deliveries– where babies are born before 39 weeks of gestation – can lead to a number of health related problems for both the mother and child.

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Small changes bring big results for triathlete
February 8th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

Small changes bring big results for triathlete

Editor's Note: Carlos Solis from Ontario, California, is one of 7 CNN viewers selected to train with CNN for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. This past weekend, the "Lucky 7" came together in Atlanta for their first training sessions with coaches April Burkey and Laura Cozik.

Sitting here on the plane trip back from Atlanta, I am reminiscing about the small changes I have recently made in my life as I pursue the goal of completing my first triathlon, and the powerful effect they have already had.

One small run for the record, one giant stride for me

Ever had to think on your feet before? Well, I literally had to think on my feet this weekend! I had only gone a quarter lap of my first timed mile in almost thirty years and my calves were already screaming at me.

So, I made one small adjustment by shortening my stride and I was able to not only finish the run, but - according to my trainer, Dave Ruby - do it in a respectable 13:24. Finishing for me was an emotional experience.
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Cornelius' death at 75 brings attention to suicides late in life
February 8th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Cornelius' death at 75 brings attention to suicides late in life

The death of "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius was ruled a suicide on Tuesday. His death at age 75 raises an issue often overlooked by the public: Suicide among older adults.

Cornelius died last week of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. His autopsy was conducted on Friday.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. While the perception is that suicides occur most commonly among young adults, statistics show that suicides are more likely to occur as people age.  Elderly adults - defined as those over the age of 65 - are much more likely to die by suicide than teenagers.
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Closing schools could stop the flu
February 8th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Closing schools could stop the flu

In June 2009, the new H1N1 flu strain was spreading like wildfire in western Canada, just as it was in dozens of countries around the world. But within a few weeks, the flames were nearly out, and a new study pinpoints a possible reason: summer vacation.

On June 12, high schools in the province of Alberta let out for the summer. On June 19, the middle schools finished, followed by the elementary schools on June 26. Researchers from McMaster University compared those dates to the incidence of new H1N1 cases in Alberta, and using a complex statistical analysis, estimated that closing schools reduced flu transmission among school children by more than 50%.

That, in turn, reduced transmission in the population at large. The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, support the idea that closing schools could reduce or slow down a dangerous outbreak of influenza.
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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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