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California data shows ADHD cases rising
January 21st, 2013
04:39 PM ET

California data shows ADHD cases rising

In 10 years, diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increased 24% in southern California, according to a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Doctors reviewed anonymized medical records for children treated at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California physicians group between 2001 and 2010 - 842,830 children in all, according to the research.

Overall, in 2001, 2.5% of children aged 5 to 11 were diagnosed with ADHD, but that number crept up to 3.1% by 2010. FULL POST


Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn
January 16th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn

Fears and misconceptions often surround the flu vaccine: Does it really work? Will it make me sick? Could it hurt my baby?

Researchers from Norway say the last question was a big concern during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; anecdotal reports of fetal deaths caused many pregnant women to avoid getting vaccinated despite health officials’ pleas.

To determine the accuracy of these reports, the Norwegian researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 pregnancies during the 2009-2010 flu season. Their results were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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Without screening, doctors may miss alcohol problems
January 15th, 2013
05:12 PM ET

Without screening, doctors may miss alcohol problems

Clinicians are missing alcohol problems in almost three out of four patients because they don't screen for the behavior and instead go with their gut feelings to catch the problem, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine. Experts say asking patients a few questions about their drinking habits can lead to interventions that may help patients cut back on their risky behavior.

The study

Researchers wanted to find out how well doctors identified drinking problems in their patients. Almost 1,700 adults from 40 different primary care practices completed questionnaires at the end of an office visit. They were asked a variety of lifestyle questions and several addressed drinking habits, such as how often they drank alcohol, how many drinks they had on a typical day, and if their drinking ever put them in danger of getting hurt or causing an accident.

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Asthma, eczema and hay fever may be linked to fast food
January 14th, 2013
04:26 PM ET

Asthma, eczema and hay fever may be linked to fast food

Teenagers and young children who eat fast food could be increasing their risk of developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, according to a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal's respiratory journal Thorax.

The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study used written questionnaires completed by 319,196 13-  and 14-year-olds from 51 countries and by the parents of 181,631 6- and 7-year-olds in 31 countries.  They were asked if they had symptoms of the three conditions and about their weekly diet - including the types of foods they ate over the last year, and how often.

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Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers
January 9th, 2013
01:52 PM ET

Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers

Could the Pap smear, which is already commonly used to detect cervical cancer, also be used to find endometrial and ovarian cancers?  A small study suggests that may be possible in the future.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that cervical fluid collected during a routine Pap smear can be used to detect both types of cancers by using a genome sequencing test called the “PapGene.”

Researchers administered the test on a small group of samplings, and found the procedure accurately detected all 24 endometrial cancers, or cancer of the lining of the uterus.  However, they were only able to find nine of 22, or 41%. of ovarian cancers.  FULL POST


Why many would-be bone marrow, blood stem cell donors back out
Donating bone marrow is a very low-risk procedure, with only 1.3% of donors experiencing complications.
January 9th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

Why many would-be bone marrow, blood stem cell donors back out

Upon being identified as potential bone marrow or blood stem cell donors, many people choose not to participate. As result, patients with blood cancers go without life-saving treatments.

About 40% of whites and 60% of nonwhites are no longer available for whatever reason to donate when contacted for confirmatory testing by blood sample, according to data from the National Marrow Donor Program and Be The Match. Surveys from Be The Match also suggest that about 10-23% of donors are unavailable specifically because they choose to opt out.  Why? That's the question researchers attempted to answer in a recent study.

"The most consistent factor associated with opting-out of the registry across all race/ethnic groups was ambivalence about donation - doubts and worries, feeling unsure about donation, wishing someone else would donate in one's place," writes Galen Switzer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, in the study, published in December in the journal Blood.

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Lifelong bilinguals may have more efficient brains
January 8th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Lifelong bilinguals may have more efficient brains

Neuroscientists have been discovering mounting evidence that being fluent in more than one language protects against age-related cognitive declines.  But there's still the major question: Why?

Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to get a closer look at the brains of both bilinguals and monolinguals, comparing how their activity differs during specific tasks.  This new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience,  expands upon previous ideas that bilinguals tend to show superior task-switching abilities compared to monolinguals. The study was led by Brian Gold of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. FULL POST


Beta blockers may reduce dementia risk
January 7th, 2013
07:17 PM ET

Beta blockers may reduce dementia risk

If you take drugs to lower your blood pressure, your medication may also lower your risk of dementia, according to a new study released Monday by the American Academy of Neurology.

According to the study, people taking beta blockers, a class of drugs used to treat a number of conditions including high blood pressure, glaucoma and migraines, were less likely to have less cognitive impairment than those that did not.  Beta blockers cause the heart to beat slower and with less force, which reduces blood pressure.  They also open up blood vessels to increase blood flow.

FULL POST


Former NFL players' brains may show marker for cognitive issues
January 7th, 2013
04:51 PM ET

Former NFL players' brains may show marker for cognitive issues

A marker for later cognitive problems may be starting to show up in the brain tissue of former National Football League players.

According to a study published Monday in JAMA Neurology, researchers found that cognitive problems and depression are more common among aging NFL players with a history of concussion.  But brain damage and mood problems among some segments of the NFL population is not stunning news anymore.

What has got scientists slightly giddy are those markers:  Poor performance on cognitive tests also showing up on sophisticated brain scans.  It suggests that damage post-concussion could some day be detectable by scanning the brain.

FULL POST


1 in 24 report driving while drowsy
January 4th, 2013
03:55 PM ET

1 in 24 report driving while drowsy

Most of us are familiar with the dangers of drunken driving, but drowsy driving can be just as deadly. Studies estimate 15% to 33% of fatal crashes involve tired drivers, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Being sleep-deprived slows our reaction time, said Dr. Michael Howell, a sleep expert with the University of Minnesota. That can mean hitting something we might otherwise avoid, like a child on a bicycle who suddenly veers off the sidewalk.

We're also more impulsive when we're tired, Howell said. It's like our brains revert to being teenagers. "We respond to things without thinking them through," he says. "... Road rage happens because people are sleep deprived."

The CDC report analyzed data from a 2009-2010 national behavioral telephone survey of more than 147,000 respondents. Approximately 4.2% of those surveyed reported having fallen asleep while driving at least once during the last month. That’s one out of every 24 people.
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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