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Exercise lengthens your life - even if you're overweight
November 6th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

Exercise lengthens your life - even if you're overweight

Add this to the list of reasons why exercise is good for you: A new study says 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, leisure time exercise is associated with roughly 3.4 years added to a person's life.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and other organizations analyzed six different prospective cohort studies of more than 632,000 people ages 40 and older. The studies had a median follow-up period of 10 years, with roughly 82,000 reported deaths. Regular, moderate intensity exercise was associated with an increased life expectancy, even when the person exercising had an unhealthy Body Mass Index (BMI).

Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the senior author of the study, says that not exercising but having a healthy weight was associated with 3.1 fewer years of life, compared to obese people who were active. Conversely, people who exercised 150 minutes a week and had a healthy BMI gained an extra 7.2 years of life. FULL POST


Stem cells vs. heart attacks
November 6th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Stem cells vs. heart attacks

For years it was thought that most damage from a major heart attack was permanent:  Dead tissue turns to scar tissue, leading to the heart muscle’s gradual deterioration.

But now, there is growing optimism that stem cell therapy may help patients with damaged hearts return to a fully functional life, based on results from early studies.

Of course, larger studies have to confirm the results and the devil is in the details. Those details were on display in a series of five presentations Tuesday at the American Heart Association conference in Los Angeles.

Most promising was long-term data on 20 patients with severe, long-term heart failure stemming from past heart attacks.  These patients not only improved dramatically after receiving an infusion of their own heart stem cells, but continued to get better two full years after treatment.

“That’s from just one injection of these cells,” says Dr. Roberto Bolli, the lead researcher and chief of cardiology at the University of Louisville.  Such improvement is virtually unheard of, he explains.  With standard care, “we know that these patients don’t get better with time because once you have a scar, you have a scar.” FULL POST


Young patients, docs can miss signs of heart disease, attack
November 6th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Young patients, docs can miss signs of heart disease, attack

When some people think about heart disease, they think primarily of older adults.  However, both doctors and young patients miss opportunities to recognize symptoms of heart problems and treat them proactively, according to research presented at the American Heart Association conference.

A study discussed Tuesday found a common risk factor for heart disease - high blood pressure, or hypertension - often goes undiagnosed in younger patients.

"This research directly addresses the public health burden in the U.S. as far as rising rates of hypertension among young adults, especially with the growing rate of obesity," said Dr. Heather Johnson, lead study author from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. FULL POST


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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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