November 15th, 2013
11:05 AM ET
Here are five medical studies published this week that may give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation, so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Forget the vitamins - focus on food
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of experts that reviews current scientific evidence and makes recommendations about screenings and preventive medications. This week the USPSTF (say that five times fast) decided there is not enough evidence to support taking vitamin supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and/or cancer.
The panel based its conclusion on a review of 26 studies from the last eight years. Experts say there has been relatively little research done on the link between supplements and prevention, so this recommendation could change in the future.
"In the absence of clear evidence about the impact of most vitamins and multivitamins on cardiovascular disease and cancer, health care professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients," USPSTF member Dr. Wanda Nicholson said in a statement.
Your blood pressure now may affect your memory later
Need yet another reason to watch your weight?
Researchers took spinal fluid from 177 healthy individuals aged 50 to 100. They then calculated the participants' pulse pressure - an indicator of heart problems - and tested the spinal fluid for Alzheimer's disease biomarkers, such as amyloid beta and p-tau protein.
Those in their 50s and 60s who had a higher pulse pressure were more likely to have the biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease.
The results suggest that less efficient blood circulation may be related to the development of plaque build-up in the brain, study author Daniel Nation said.
Read more from ScienceDaily.com
Asthma could slow the baby-making process
Researchers in Copenhagen studied data from 15,250 twins between the ages of 12 and 41 who were living in Denmark. They found that women who had asthma had more difficulty getting pregnant than those without it.
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the body, pulmonary specialist Dr. Len Horovitz told WebMD. "The inflammatory part of asthma may well be affecting not only bronchial tubes but also fallopian tubes," he said.
The good news is that the women with asthma were eventually able to have the same number of children as those without the respiratory illness - they just took longer to get there.
Read more from WebMD
Once again, exercise wins
You know that exercising during pregnancy helps keep you and your baby healthy. But did you also know it could make your child smarter?
Ok, scientists haven't quite made THAT claim. But new research suggests your activity level during pregnancy affects your baby's neurodevelopment. Scientists found babies whose moms worked out during pregnancy had more active brains eight to 12 days after they were born than those with moms who didn't.
Read more from TIME
Those 'healthy' vegetable oils may not be
Certain vegetable oils may lower your cholesterol, but they don't necessarily protect your heart. Canadian analysts say replacing saturated fats with safflower oil or margarine (often made with corn oil) actually increases your risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary artery disease.
These vegetable oils are high in omega-6 linoleic acid, but low in omega-3 a-linolenic acid, the analysts say. Omega 3s are thought to be anti-inflammatory, while scientists believe omega-6 fats promote inflammation in the body.
Bottom line? Choose extra virgin olive oil or canola oil over others for cooking.
Read more from CTVNews.ca
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.