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Doctors asked to participate in gun debate
December 31st, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Doctors asked to participate in gun debate

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 has compelled the editors of the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine to call on other physicians to become active participants in the discussion about gun violence and gun policy in this country.

More than 30,000 people die from gun injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun injuries account for nearly 1 in 5 injury deaths in the United States.  More than 96% of those deaths are due to suicide and homicide.

In an editorial published in Annals, a publication of the American College of Physicians (ACP), on Monday, Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of the journal and a general internist, calls on physicians to use their voices in this gun control debate, just as doctors have done regarding other issues that threaten public health, such as smoking, air pollution, drunk driving and vaccinations. FULL POST


Don't judge that generic pill by its color
December 31st, 2012
04:05 PM ET

Don't judge that generic pill by its color

It's not the color, but what's inside that counts when it comes to medication. However, doctors suspect that's not exactly how patients see it.

According to a study published Monday in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine, changes in pill color significantly increase the odds that a patient will fail to take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

First, the basics

Generic drugs are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs.  These off-brand alternatives must be “bioequivalent” to the brand-name version, meaning they must be identical in terms of dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality, intended use, and clinical efficacy. But the FDA does not require that the two versions look alike. FULL POST


December 31st, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Blood clots: 4 things you need to know

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was hospitalized Sunday for a blood clot that formed after her she fell and suffered a concussion a few weeks ago.

The clot was discovered during a follow-up exam related to the concussion, said Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state. Clinton, 65, was expected to remain at New York Presbyterian Hospital for the next 48 hours for monitoring and treatment with anticoagulants - drugs that prevent clots from forming or prevent them from growing larger.

Reines said Clinton's clot was found in the vein located in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. "It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage. To help dissolve this clot, her medical team began treating the Secretary with blood thinners," said Clinton's doctors in a written statement.

FULL POST


Medicare patients may suffer if country goes over fiscal cliff
December 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Medicare patients may suffer if country goes over fiscal cliff

Medicare patients are but another segment of the population that have to worry about the country going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Doctors at Virginia Heart, a practice of 35 physicians in nine Northern Virginia locations, say they might have to turn away new Medicare patients after the first of the year.

That's because a nearly 30% cut across the board in Medicare reimbursement to doctors goes into effect if we go over the cliff. Virginia Heart, the largest cardiovascular group in the Washington Metropolitan area, says its doctors simply cannot afford a 30% decrease in pay.

FULL POST


Obesity among young children declines slightly
December 26th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Obesity among young children declines slightly

The number of young children who are obese and extremely obese is going down, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In what researchers say is the first national study to show that the prevalence of obesity among young children may have begun to decline, scientists analyzed data from more than 27 million children from low-income families between the ages of 2 and 4 in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

"The results of this study indicate modest recent progress of obesity prevention among young children," according to the study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 

FULL POST


Reindeer noses: Really red?
A pink coloration can be seen on this reindeer's nose.
December 24th, 2012
06:53 AM ET

Reindeer noses: Really red?

Ho ho ho, here's some Christmas-themed science!

The British Medical Journal's Christmas issue this month features a study about reindeer that treats a fantastical idea with some medical reality. The result is a lesson in how reindeer noses compare to the noses of humans and what purpose their underlying structures serve.

Can Ince, a professor who works in intensive care medicine at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, studies microcirculation, or how the smallest blood vessels in the body receive blood. Red blood cells go to these vessels to relieve themselves of oxygen, delivering it to the tissues that need it.

FULL POST


Marijuana use holds steady among U.S. teens
December 19th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Marijuana use holds steady among U.S. teens

Marijuana use is holding steady among eighth, 10th- and 12th-graders in the United States and tobacco smoking rates remain low.

Those are some of the results published in the annual Monitoring the Future study, a survey of more than 45,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 395 public and private schools.  It was released Wednesday.

Each year, the survey gathers information from teens about their use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, as well as asking them questions regarding their attitudes about the drugs. FULL POST


9/11 – Terror in the Dust: Increased risk for three cancers
December 18th, 2012
05:15 PM ET

9/11 – Terror in the Dust: Increased risk for three cancers

It’s a story we’ve been reporting on for more than a decade: The health of the brave, heroic responders who breathed in the dust, debris and fumes at the World Trade Center site in the hours, days and years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Today’s headline: Rescue and recovery workers exposed to the dust, debris and fumes have already exhibited an increased incidence of prostate and thyroid cancers, plus multiple myeloma, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. No increased incidence was observed among those not involved with rescue/recovery. Twenty-three types of cancer were investigated.  This is the first WTC incidence study to include both sexes, all ages and races, and both rescue/recovery workers, as well as those not involved in rescue/recovery. 

The observational study, conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, looked at nearly 56,000 New York state residents enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry in 2003-2004, who were tracked from enrollment through December 2008.

FULL POST


Why you should act quickly at first sign of heart attack
December 18th, 2012
01:40 PM ET

Why you should act quickly at first sign of heart attack

Calling 911 as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin saves lives, according to the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology new guidelines published in the AHA journal Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The newly developed standards are designed to be user-friendly and focus on streamlining care for patients.  They focus on balloon angioplasty and stenting as the best treatment plan for severe heart attacks.

When it comes to heart attacks, helping people understand "time is muscle" is key, says Dr. James Fang, one of the co-authors of the guidelines and director of the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. "The longer the heart muscle goes without oxygen, e.g. blood flow, the greater the heart muscle damage," he says. FULL POST


Cardio burns more fat than weight lifting
December 17th, 2012
12:33 PM ET

Cardio burns more fat than weight lifting

If you want to burn fat and lose weight, aerobic exercise may be your best workout option, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

It was more effective than a weight-lifting routine, and about as beneficial as workouts combining cardio and strength training, researchers found.

"If a person is going to give me three hours of exercise a week,the most effective way to lose fat is to spend that time doing aerobic training," says lead study author Leslie Willis, an exercise physiologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

If you lift weights, this doesn't mean you should stop, but if your time is limited and your main goal from exercise is to lose weight, cardio may be better than weight training, according to Willis. 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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