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Study: Common pesticide affects developing brain
April 30th, 2012
06:38 PM ET

Study: Common pesticide affects developing brain

Chlorpyrifos, a common pesticide, may be subtly influencing brain development in children, according to a new study.  The brain abnormalities, found among a very small population of school-aged children, may have occurred while they developed in utero.

What is troubling, according to scientists, is that relatively low levels of chlorpyrifos appear to have caused the cascade of brain changes.

"It's out there and we do not know what the longer term impact is of lower levels," said Virginia Rauh, professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and the study's lead author.  "But it does seem to be associated with cognitive damage and structural changes in brain."

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Study: High risk women may benefit from mammograms starting at age 40
April 30th, 2012
05:59 PM ET

Study: High risk women may benefit from mammograms starting at age 40

When to get a mammogram screening? Beginning at age 40? 50? Every year or every other year?  Recommendations over the past few years have been varied depending on which medical organization you look at.  Now two new studies suggest that women who are at increased risk for breast cancer will benefit from mammogram screenings every other year starting at age 40.

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April 30th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

'One baby per hour' born already in withdrawal

The cry of a baby withdrawing from prescription opiates is shrill, as if the child is in terrible pain.

"It's a very high-pitched, uncomfortable cry," said Dr. Aimee Bohn, a pediatrician with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg, Kentucky.  "It's like the kid has been pinched."

That characteristic cry is increasingly ringing through the hallways of hospitals nationwide, according to new research.
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Viral video helps dying woman get cancer drug
April 30th, 2012
01:56 PM ET

Viral video helps dying woman get cancer drug

Darlene Gant sat in her hospital bed, barely able to lift her head. She was writing letters to her 11-year-son for his upcoming birthday, his eventual high school and college graduations and even a future marriage.

"Did you always know I loved you?" she wrote in a card meant for his 12th birthday. "Of all the things in my life I could have or should have done differently there’s one thing I’d never change, having you as my son."

Gant, 46, who is suffering from stage-four breast cancer, has been told she doesn't have long to live. She worried she wouldn't be around to see her son grow up despite a trial drug that could prolong her life.

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Filed under: Cancer

Research questions impact of pacifiers on disrupting breast-feeding
April 30th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Research questions impact of pacifiers on disrupting breast-feeding

Pacifiers can soothe agitated infants, but some experts - including those at the World Health Organization (WHO) - discourage pacifier use in the first six months of life because of concerns that it may interfere with breast-feeding, widely seen as the best way to feed a newborn.

New research, however, casts doubt on the notion that pacifier use disrupts breast-feeding. In an analysis of feeding patterns among 2,249 infants in a single maternity ward over a 15-month period, researchers found the proportion of infants who were exclusively breast-fed dropped from 79% to 68% after pacifier use was restricted in the ward.

Meanwhile, the proportion of infants who needed formula in addition to breast-feeding jumped from 18% to 28% after the change in policy, according to the preliminary results of the study, which were presented today at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in Boston.
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April 30th, 2012
09:16 AM ET

New ED drug may work in 15 minutes

Look out Viagra - there's a new erectile dysfunction drug in town.

It's called Stendra (aka Avanafil) and it's newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration, making it the first ED drug to come out in almost 10 years.

Although Stendra has not been tested against what is known as the "Little Blue Pill," drug makers say that - for some men - it may work faster.

"If things are heated up, theoretically you can get improved function earlier, within 15 minutes, with this drug," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, and co-author of a recent study about Stendra in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"You can argue this is the first potential on-demand drug."
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TXTING @ THE WHEEL BAD 4 U?
April 29th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

TXTING @ THE WHEEL BAD 4 U?

News flash: Texting while driving can have serious, catastrophic consequences.

All sarcasm aside, you will most likely have heard this message by now and seen the PSA's meant to convince you that this is a bad idea.  You've heard that many states ban texting while driving and hopefully are heeding the warnings.   But some of the youngest drivers still don't realize that it is a problem.

Some teens, however, do and are taking matters into their own hands.

Determined to educate their peers about on the dangers of texting while driving, a group of student leaders in Oklahoma started Generation tXt.

They focus on those recently behind the wheel for the first time.

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What the Yuck: Will sex make me go into labor?
April 29th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

What the Yuck: Will sex make me go into labor?

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: Is it true that if my husband plays with my nipples, I'll go into labor? I'm past my due date and ready!

A: Ah, yes, the old "What got you into this can get you out of it" idea.

Breast stimulation can increase the production of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions. And researchers have found that some women do go into labor after their nipples are stimulated.

But - and this is a big but - the scientists were unable to confirm that labor was the result of that stimulation and not the fact that the women were nine months pregnant.

Unfortunately, there's no proven way to speed up the process.


April 27th, 2012
06:33 PM ET

Hand sanitizer: The new vodka for teens?

There's a new trend among teens looking for a buzz, doctors say, and it surrounds an unlikely household item designed to keep us germ-free: ethanol-based hand sanitizer.

Teenagers are using it this stuff to get high, according to health officials. Poison control centers nationwide say reports are on the rise.

The big issue here is the alcohol content, says Dr. Robert J. Geller, a medical toxicologist and Emory University pediatrician.

He says these sanitizers "are actually products that are 60% ethanol which means they are 120 proof," and "if you drink 2 ounces of it, it's like drinking 3 ounces of 80-proof tequila."

In California, where word of the trend first surfaced, there have been reports of 60 teenagers exposed since 2010, says Dr. Cyrus Rangan, toxicologist and assistant medical director of California Poison Control.

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Are sugar substitutes worse than the real thing?
April 27th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Are sugar substitutes worse than the real thing?

Sweet tooth? You’re not alone. Sugary foods and beverages are delicious. But we’ve also learned they can be highly addictive and, too much of them, can take a serious toll on our health.

Today some of our favorite drinks, gum, baked goods, and candy are available in sugar-free versions. But that got me thinking...  are sugar substitutes any better for you than the real thing? I was not alone on this issue. I’ve received dozens of tweets and emails wondering if fake sugar can harm us, or worse, crave more food!

For some answers I turned to internist and physician nutrition specialist, Dr. Melina Jampolis. Her specialty is practiced by only 200 physicians in the United States. She focuses exclusively on nutrition for weight loss and disease prevention and treatment.
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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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