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Elmo says to eat more apples
August 29th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Elmo says to eat more apples

Branding in schools is a controversial subject. Advocates for children's health are vocal about wanting big names for fast food and sugary snacks banned from the educational system.

Researchers at Cornell University are trying a different approach.

"Brands sell cookies. Brands sell soft drinks. Brands sell candy bars," says Brian Wansink, professor of marketing at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. "You can also use brands to sell healthy foods."
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August 29th, 2012
07:38 AM ET

One-handed kid meets his baseball idol

Editor's note: In 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.

From the moment he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, Reece Holloway is living, breathing and thinking about baseball. He taught himself how to hit the ball at the tender age of 2 and has never let anything stop him from doing what he loves best.

When Reece's idol Chipper Jones saw the story of this young player, he had to meet him. Jones invited the whole Holloway family to a Braves game in Atlanta.

Jones told his loyal fan to try hard and do his best, no matter what life throws his way.  What seemed nearly impossible has occurred as a result of this meeting: Young Reece is even more enthusiastic about playing the game of baseball.

Watch: Meet Reece Holloway


How you vote may be in your genes
Our genetic makeup may play a role in our political behavior, according to researchers.
August 28th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

How you vote may be in your genes

Ever wonder why we vote the way we do? Is it the influence of family? Or is it because of our culture or where we grew up? Could be, but now researchers are saying it might be in our genes.

Scientists have always wondered what drives our political behavior, and why some of us are passionate over some issues and not others. Now investigators have found it could be something deeper than the "I Like Ike" button your grandfather wore.

Traditionally, social scientists have felt that our political preferences were influenced by environmental factors as well as how and where we grew up. But recently, studies are finding it could be biological and that our genes also influence our political tastes.

In a review out of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, data showed that genetic makeup has some influence on why people differ on such issues as unemployment, abortion, even the death penalty.  By pinpointing certain genes in the human body, scientists can predict parts of a person's political ideology. FULL POST


Mitt Romney's health care plan: Pre-existing conditions
Mitt Romney says he'll "prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage."
August 28th, 2012
10:30 AM ET

Mitt Romney's health care plan: Pre-existing conditions

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention I’ll be dissecting Mitt Romney’s health care plan, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Monday, we put preventive care under the microscope. Tuesday, we're looking at Romney's plan for helping people with pre-existing conditions - anything from back pain to cancer to diabetes - who have often been denied insurance  or asked to pay exorbitant premiums.

Obamacare requires insurance companies to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions without charging a higher premium.

Romney has vowed he would act to repeal Obamacare on his first day as president. Instead, he says he would "prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage," according to his website.

FULL POST


Evidence weak that vocational programs help young adults with autism
August 28th, 2012
09:11 AM ET

Evidence weak that vocational programs help young adults with autism

Google "vocational interventions for young adults with autism" and you'll get more than 200,000 results. But a new study finds there's little science to backup the efficacy of current methods used to help young adults with these neurodevelopmental disorders segue into the workforce.

"There's startlingly little information on the best ways to help adolescents and adults with autism achieve their maximum potential in the workplace and across the board," says lead study author Julie Lounds Taylor.

Taylor and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University sifted through more than 4,500 studies that made reference to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and therapies and found only 32 studies published between January 1980 and December 2011 that met their basic criteria, including having at least 20 study participants between the ages of 13 and 30.
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Midlife fitness delays chronic disease
August 27th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Midlife fitness delays chronic disease

We all know that exercise and fitness are key components to healthy living. Now new research is adding further proof that it will increase your quality of life.

The study, published in this week’s Archive of Internal Medicine, finds that being fit in the middle of your life not only delays the onset of chronic diseases later in life, but also shortens the duration of disease.

“We’ve known for years that exercise is good for you, but what’s not been clear is to what extent the health benefits persist across a lifespan,” said study author Dr. Jarrett Berry, associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

FULL POST


August 27th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

Summer snakebite safety

For many people, the warm weather of summer means being outdoors and enjoying hiking, camping, and other outside activities. That also means sharing time with critters such as mosquitoes, spiders and snakes.

More than 6,000 poisonous snake bites occur each year in the United States, but fewer than 12 of those bites result in death from snake venom poisoning, according to articles in The American Family Physician.

“Snake bites are unfortunately a common event in Georgia and the Southeast. In 2011, the poison center was contacted about 379 snake bites to people, and there were probably many more that didn’t get called in,” says Dr. Robert Geller, medical director of the Georgia Poison Control Center at Emory University. Geller says that’s a typical number of snake bites compared to previous years.

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Mitt Romney's health care plan
Mitt Romney has said that if elected president, he would repeal Obamacare "on my first day."
August 27th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

Mitt Romney's health care plan

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican National Convention, I’ll be dissecting Mitt Romney’s health care plan, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

First under the microscope: Preventive care.

Romney said he would act to repeal Obamacare “on my first day if elected president of the United States.” The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires insurers to provide free preventive services such as mammograms, immunizations, and cholesterol checks. Patients will not have to pay a co-pay or meet a deductible.

FULL POST


Facebook helps doctors with diagnosis
One doctor used Facebook as a diagnostic tool when treated a woman who suffered a stroke.
August 24th, 2012
05:19 PM ET

Facebook helps doctors with diagnosis

Facebook isn’t just for connecting with friends – doctors are finding uses for the social network in diagnosis.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic used the social media site in investigating the stroke of a 56-year-old woman. They published a report about it in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The patient had a clogged artery in her neck that needed to be opened for treatment. This type of stroke, called ischemic, happens because of reduced blood flow to the brain as a result of narrowed or blocked arteries.

FULL POST


Older fathers may be linked to child autism
As many as 20 to 30% of cases of autism and schizophrenia may be because of the father’s advanced age, a new study found.
August 23rd, 2012
05:33 PM ET

Older fathers may be linked to child autism

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

Women aren’t the only ones whose biological clocks are ticking: A new study on the genetics of autism finds the sperm of older men may be to blame for many cases of the disorder.

The study, done by researchers in Iceland, indicates that as many as 20-30% of cases of autism and schizophrenia may be linked to the father’s advanced age.  Unlike findings on disorders such as Down Syndrome, this study found that the age of the mother made no difference.

“This is really a paradigm shift,” said Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director of the New York University Fertility Center.

Traditionally, women have borne the brunt of concerns about having a healthy child as they age, while many men have assumed their sperm were no different at 80 than at 20.

“I had my babies at 38 and 39 and I was terrified,” said anchor Ashleigh Banfield on CNN Newsroom. “Honey, you’re in the conversation now. It’s not just me.”

Video: Older fathers may be linked to autism

While older men have an increased risk of fathering a child with autism, the risk is still low – 2% at the most for dads over 40, according to the new study.

The authors looked at random mutations in genes that are linked to autism and schizophrenia. Looking at 78 families, the researchers found that on average, a child born to a 20-year-old father had 25 random mutations that could be traced to the father’s genes. Children born to 40-year-old fathers had 65 mutations.

As men age, "Sperm will have acquired more mutations than when they were younger, which will increase the chance of children they father inheriting a disease-producing mutation,” said Richard Sharpe, who does research on male reproductive health at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh.

One scientist said men might want to take a tip from some young women who freeze their eggs to use when they’re older.

“Collecting the sperm of young adult men and cold-storing for later use could be a wise individual decision,” wrote Alexey Kondrashov, a professor who studies evolution at the University of Michigan’s Life Sciences Institute.

With autism, no longer invisible


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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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