February 28th, 2013
04:29 PM ET
How long have you been sitting today? Here's one more reason that you should get up and move around once in a while.
A new study in the journal Diabetologia suggests that reducing your sitting time is more important in lowering your risk of diabetes than exercise. This is just the latest in a string of research suggesting that moving around helps your health. But the new results should not replace standard recommendations for exercise, and more research is required to understand the reasons for the findings, said lead study author Joseph Henson.
"It looks as if just sitting for long periods of time has a real negative impact upon overall health," Henson said.
February 26th, 2013
04:02 PM ET
Diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in women younger than 40 has increased 2% a year, every year, from 1976 to 2009, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The increase was seen in women aged 25 to 39 of all races and ethnicities, living in both rural and urban areas.
It's a devastating diagnosis, particularly because a woman younger than 40 who is diagnosed with breast cancer is more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease and face lower survival rates.
But for perspective, the overall population of women who are affected still remains small. FULL POST
February 26th, 2013
10:49 AM ET
You’ve seen it added to cereal boxes, gallons of milk and bottles of orange juice. Experts tout its benefits – from strong bones to a strong immune system – and warn of the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency.
The public relations push is working; between 2002 and 2011, sales of vitamin D supplements increased from $42 million to $605 million, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
New recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force could bump those sales even higher, or - if critics are right - confuse consumers as they head down the pharmacy aisle.
After completing a review of existing research, the USPSTF, an independent panel of doctors and experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is advising against taking moderate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium supplements because there is not enough evidence to prove the supplements reduce the risk of bone fractures.
February 25th, 2013
03:43 PM ET
Guidelines for diagnosing and treating ear infections are changing and the result may mean fewer prescriptions for antibiotics.
Going forward, pediatricians should only diagnose acute ear infections if the child's eardrum is moderately to severely bulging or if there is discharge leaking from the ear, according to the recommendations. They may diagnose a middle ear infection if the child's ear drum is mildly bulging and there is recent onset of pain or intense redness. FULL POST
February 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET
Americans are eating less fast food daily than they used to, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it's not much less.
Using data from 2007 to 2010, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics determined adults eat, on average, 11.3% of their daily calories from fast food. That number was 12.8% in 2006– a one and half point difference.
As you would expect, younger adults tend to eat more fast food than seniors. People older than 60 eat approximately 6% of their daily calories from fast food. Among the younger age groups, non-Hispanic black adults eat the most fast food - using more than one-fifth of their daily calories at fast food establishments.
The CDC did not see a significant difference in fast food consumption based on income, according to the report. Only in the 20-to-39 age group did fast food consumption drop as income increased.
Fast food has been linked to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Not surprisingly, obese adults in each age group ate more of their calories from fast food.
February 20th, 2013
05:04 PM ET
Drinking coffee and tea rich in antioxidants may not lower your risk of dementia or having a stroke, according to a new study published Wednesday in the online journal Neurology.
The study may call into question other research suggesting a diet high in antioxidants helps reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
Researchers followed approximately 5,400 people aged 55 years and older for nearly 14 years. The participants had no signs of dementia when they began the study and most had never had a stroke. They were questioned about how often they ate 170 foods over the course of the past year and they were divided into three groups based on the levels of antioxidants in their diet - low, moderate or high.
February 20th, 2013
03:39 PM ET
The fact that many people's backs and feet hurt is news that's millions of years old.
It's because of the way we have evolved, uniquely from other mammals, that we also have a lot of aches and pains that our close relatives do not experience, anthropologists said last weekend at a briefing at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
"We’ve known for a long time, since Darwin’s time, that humans have evolved, and that humans are not perfect, because evolution doesn’t produce perfection," said Jeremy DeSilva, anthropologist at Boston University.
February 18th, 2013
03:56 PM ET
For years, pediatricians have recommended that young children watch no TV, or as little as possible, because it can lead to problems in school and behavior issues. Now a new study concedes children are sitting in front of the TV a lot longer. However, controlling what they watch can improve how they behave.
When preschoolers watch educational programs instead of violent TV shows, they tend to be more compassionate and less aggressive, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
About 600 families were recruited and assigned to one of two groups. Parents in the first group were encouraged to substitute violent shows with educational and pro-social ones - shows that stressed compassion and cooperation.
Families were given monthly TV guides listing educational programming for their area: shows such as "Dora the Explorer," "Super WHY," "Sesame Street" and "It's a Big, Big World." Parents were also encouraged to watch TV with their kids.
The children went from watching a half-hour of violent programming a day to 23 minutes. Parents then increased educational viewing from about 30 to 43 minutes a day.
Families in the second group did not change their viewing habits.
"This is the first study to try to modify the viewing habits of preschool kids," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "That's one of the significances of this study."
After a year, researchers found that children watching less violent and more child-appropriate shows scored better on tests that measured cooperation, a willingness to share or compromise. They also had fewer incidents of aggressive behavior such as yelling and hitting.
"Although television is frequently implicated as a cause of many problems in children, our research indicates that it may also be part of the solution," the study notes.
The scientists saw the greatest improvements in boys raised in disadvantaged homes where children tends to watch more TV.
Experts know that children mimic what they see, whether it's in real life or what's on the screen. And this is of particular concern when children watch TV or movies riddled with violence.
"Children learn their attitudes about violence at a very young age, before age 8 and once they learn those attitudes it's very difficult to unlearn them," says Strasburger.
"It doesn't mean that children who watch violence are going to become murderers, but it does mean that they are desensitized to violence in the real world and they are more likely to be aggressive themselves," says study author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute.
Better shows, better kids
But on the flip side, when children watch shows with positive social messages, it helps them get along better with others and gives them the tools to become better communicators, the study suggests.
"They will imitate the good things too," says Christakis. "We should take more advantage of the fact that you can demonstrate good behaviors on-screen and that children will emulate them in real life."
Right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preschoolers and older children get only one to two hours of TV or screen time a day. But in reality, they're really watching much more. According to this study, preschoolers see an average of about four and a half hours daily at home and in daycare settings. Parents struggle with guilt, researchers say, because they allow so much TV time.
"Parents need to get this message that it's not just about how much TV your children watch, it's about what they watch," says Christakis. "It's not just about turning off the set; it's about changing the channel."
February 14th, 2013
03:46 PM ET
Happy National Condom Day! If you're not thrilled with the abundance of pink paper hearts surrounding your desk, this campaign for safe sex offers a different reason to celebrate February 14.
Fittingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two reports Thursday on contraception use in the United States. The reports summarize data from the National Survey of Family Growth.
One, "Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44," is the first ever published on emergency contraception by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
Here are some of the most interesting highlights from that report:
February 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET
There are about 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States, costing some $16 billion in direct medical costs, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Young people are disproportionately affected, the agency said, with half of all new infections occurring in people ages 15 through 24.
"In general, CDC estimated the total number of infections in the calendar year, rather than the number of individuals with infection, since one person can have more than one STI at a given time" or more than one episode of a single STI, officials said. But "CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs in the United States may be even higher than estimated." FULL POST
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.