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Immune-system test may predict early death
June 4th, 2012
03:11 PM ET

Immune-system test may predict early death

A blood test that measures a marker of immune-system activity may help doctors identify people who are at risk of dying at an early age, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic measured levels of the immune-system molecules known as free light chains in 15,859 Minnesotans age 50 and up, and found that people whose levels were in the top 10% were four times more likely than the other study participants to die over the next 13 years.

Doctors commonly test for free light chains to diagnose and manage blood disorders and blood-related cancers, such as multiple myeloma or lymphoma. This study, which was published this week in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, is the first to link high levels of free light chains with earlier death in a group of people without any known blood disorders.
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Moms need more support to breastfeed exclusively
June 4th, 2012
01:41 PM ET

Moms need more support to breastfeed exclusively

Judging by the ruckus that followed TIME magazine's cover story of a woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old (while standing up), one might think that mothers are nursing young boys and girls all the time.  But the statistics show the opposite is true.  

According to the latest CDC statistics 75% of new moms start out breastfeeding their new babies,  but by 6 months, only 44% still are and only 15% are exclusively breastfeeding. By the time a child is a year and a half old, only 8%  are still being nursed.  Now a new study sheds some light on why many moms are not meeting their goals for exclusive breastfeeding.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, finds that many women plan to exclusively breastfeed their babies, but once the baby is born, they can't do it as long as they had hoped.  Researchers asked 1,457 women who were in their third trimester if they intended to exclusively breastfeed. 85% said they planned to do so for at least for 3 months.

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Extreme endurance exercise carries risks
June 4th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Extreme endurance exercise carries risks

The old adage, “all good things in moderation,” may be true, especially when it comes to exercise.

In an article in this month’s Mayo Clinic Proccedings researchers looked at an emerging body of papers that point to the fact that even exercise can have diminishing returns.

The authors surveyed more than 50 different studies that followed athletes who chronically trained and participated in extreme endurance events, such as marathons, ultramarathons, Ironman triathlons, and long-distance bicycle races. The studies found that excessive training and competing can cause cardiovascular damage such as scarring and enlargement of the heart and blood vessels, as well as irregular heart beating.
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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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