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Opium study raises questions about painkillers
Farmers harvest the opium sap from the poppy plant in Fayzabad, Badakhshan, Afghanistan.
April 17th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Opium study raises questions about painkillers

About 20 million people are using the drug opium or one of its derivatives. A new study suggests new reasons for viewing this as problematic.

Research in the British Medical Journal finds strong connections between people using opium and conditions such as cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory conditions.

"Long term recreational opioid use, even at relatively modest levels, causes important increases in death from multiple different causes," said study co-author Paul Brennan, head of the Section of Genetics at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Why it matters

Although this study focused on opium for recreational purposes, the research also has significant implications for medicinal uses of opium-derived painkillers - such as morphine and codeine, Irfan Dhalla, assistant professor at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

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Researcher: Blood test for early-onset depression promising
April 17th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Researcher: Blood test for early-onset depression promising

How does a parent know if their child or teen is experiencing normal adolescent sadness or moodiness or - a more serious form of depression? The answer may one day lie in a simple blood test, if the results of a new early study are confirmed in larger populations.

The results are published in Translational Psychiatry.

Early-onset major depressive disorder is a mental illness that affects people under 25. While about 2 to 4% of cases are diagnosed before adolescence, the numbers skyrocket to 10-25% with adolescence, explains lead researcher Eva Redei, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
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Study: Chopper trauma transport improves survival chances
Trauma transport strategy entered the spotlight after tragedies like the attack on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
April 17th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Study: Chopper trauma transport improves survival chances

For patients suffering from major trauma, being transported by helicopter improves survival, according to a new study out Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Trauma transport strategy has entered the spotlight after tragedies like the 2011 attack on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the 2009 death of actress Natasha Richardson.

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Men: The new face of plastic surgery
April 17th, 2012
05:47 AM ET

Men: The new face of plastic surgery

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

The pair of double-Ds jutting out in front of me look like they would belong on Pam Anderson.

Instead they’re attached to a 14-year-old boy.

I whip out a black marker and start drawing on Phil, my first surgery patient of the day.  Phil has severe gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts.

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April 17th, 2012
05:43 AM ET

The beat goes on for music producer diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

Editor's noteIn the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to Noah “40” Shebib, a music producer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 20s.

Q: What was it like to receive that diagnosis as such a young man?

A: It started with sensory issues. I woke up one day and all the temperature in my body was distorted. My sense of hot and cold and what that meant to my brain was very confusing.  Any time something like that happens to your body - which is very difficult to explain when you have MS - is that your brain is tricked, so your nerves are telling you something that's not true.  Any time your brain is telling you something that's not true, there's a little bit of trauma for your body in general to understand what's going on, so you're a little bit in shock.

I went to the hospital very quickly after that and was diagnosed within a couple of weeks. It continued to escalate to a much worse place in a month, and I spent the next two years of my life getting back on my feet.
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Depression and baby sleep: Vicious cycle?
April 17th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Depression and baby sleep: Vicious cycle?

There's a fascinating new parenting study out that caught our eye at The Chart.  It involves the sleep habits of babies and toddlers.

Research suggests if mom is depressed, she's more likely to wake her baby up in the middle of the night, even if the baby is fine.  Experts say if that happens occasionally, it's not a problem.

But if it happens often, it can lead to developmental issues.

In the study, published in the journal Child Development, researchers at Pennsylvania State University observed 45 families over the course of a week.  The children ranged in age from 1 month to 2 years.  Moms were asked questions about a variety of issues from how they were doing emotionally to the baby's sleep patterns.

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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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