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Study: Vitamin E may help Alzheimer's patients
December 31st, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Study: Vitamin E may help Alzheimer's patients

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, nor is there an effective method of reversing symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation and difficulties in organizing thoughts. But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests there may be some hope for improvement in these patients, in the form of vitamin E.

The study authors say that this is the first demonstration of vitamin E benefiting Alzheimer's patients with mild to moderate disease. However, they caution that it doesn't prove that the vitamin is always effective and therefore should not be universally recommended.

“This is a well done study by a solid research group," said Maria Carrillo, vice president of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, in a statement. "The results are positive enough to warrant more research to replicate and confirm these findings, but should not change current medical practice. No one should take vitamin E for Alzheimer’s except under the supervision of a physician."

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Doctors don’t talk to adolescents about sex
December 31st, 2013
08:48 AM ET

Doctors don’t talk to adolescents about sex

Thirty-six seconds is the average time a physician spends speaking with adolescent patients about sexuality, according to research published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

About one-third of adolescent patient-doctor interactions result in no talk at all about sexuality - which includes things like sexual activity, dating and sexual orientation.

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5 studies you may have missed
Researchers found a connection between head trauma and brain plaques linked to Alzheimer's.
December 27th, 2013
08:29 AM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might 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.

1. A shock to make you forget
Journal: Nature Neuroscience

We all have memories of experiences we'd rather not look back on, which trigger strong emotions when we reflect on them. Scientists demonstrated in a small study that electricity may be able to manipulate what we remember, although it's not clear if the technique would work with personal memories.

In this experiment, 42 people with severe depression watched two narrated slideshows describing unpleasant stories. A week later, they had to remember one of the stories after viewing part of a relevant slide they had seen before. Then, some participants received electroconvulsive therapy and had to recall both stories when they woke up from anesthesia. Others got tested 24 hours later, and a third group did not receive electroconvulsive therapy.

Those tested 24 hours after the shock treatment showed a curious pattern: They could not remember the story they had been prompted to recall right before the electroconvulsive therapy.

“I think it’s interesting as a proof of concept, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be a robust treatment because it’s so invasive,” psychologist Elizabeth Phelps told TIME.com.

Read more from TIME.com FULL POST


Flu vaccine may work better in women, study suggests
December 23rd, 2013
04:18 PM ET

Flu vaccine may work better in women, study suggests

While some may consider women “the fairer sex,” science says otherwise.

It’s been known that women, in general, have stronger immune systems. Researchers say males have more bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic reactions than females, as well as more severe reactions, and women have a "more robust response to antigenic challenges such as infection and vaccination," according to a new study published Monday.

Why women have stronger immune reactions hasn't always been clear. But the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds it may have something to do with testosterone. FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
African-American women need to eat fewer calories -- or burn more -- to lose the same amount of weight as Caucasian women.
December 20th, 2013
11:06 AM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might 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.

Text messages could improve your health
Journal of Medical Internet Research

R u eatin ur vegetables? Would you if you had a personalized text message sent to your phone to remind you?

Researchers at the University of Michigan asked 1,800 people to sign up for a 14-week pilot program called txt4health, which sends diet reminders to type 2 diabetics and those at risk of developing the disease. While only 39% of the participants stayed enrolled for the entire program, those who did say they changed their diets significantly - drinking more water, eating fruit for dessert and consuming fewer fried foods.
FULL POST


More students think marijuana is OK
More than a third of high school seniors surveyed reported smoking marijuana in the last year.
December 18th, 2013
12:02 AM ET

More students think marijuana is OK

Most teens may be "Above the Influence" when it comes to cocaine and cigarettes, but marijuana use is growing among students.

Sixty percent of U.S. high school seniors do not see regular marijuana use as harmful to their health, according to this year's Monitoring the Future survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More than a third of the seniors surveyed reported smoking marijuana in the past 12 months.

Each year, the Monitoring the Future survey asks eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders about their drug and alcohol use and their attitudes toward illegal substances. For 2013, more than 41,000 students from 389 U.S. public and private schools participated.
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5 studies you may have missed
December 13th, 2013
03:49 PM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might 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.

This week kicked off the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, at which researchers presented information about the treatment, diagnosis, prevention and biology of this condition. There were several important studies presented there. FULL POST


Flu activity increasing; CDC urges vaccinations
December 12th, 2013
12:49 PM ET

Flu activity increasing; CDC urges vaccinations

Last year's flu season was one of the worst in recent memory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Thursday, and although this season is off to a slower start, people should still get flu vaccines.

"Last year was a relatively severe season," Frieden said, noting that 381,000 people were hospitalized, and 169 children died from the flu.  "This is higher than we've seen in many flu seasons."

The good news, Frieden said, is that the flu vaccine prevented millions of illnesses. "We estimate that during last year's flu season, flu vaccination prevented 6.6 million people from getting sick with the flu, 3.2 million from going to see a doctor and at least 79,000 hospitalizations."  FULL POST


Heartburn drugs could cause B12 deficiency
December 11th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

Heartburn drugs could cause B12 deficiency

Patients who use certain acid-suppressing drugs for heartburn over a period of two years or longer are more likely to suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency than those who do not use them, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), are available by prescription and over-the-counter, under names such as Prilosec and Nexium. They are designed to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as well as other acid-related conditions.

FULL POST


Quit-smoking drugs safe for your heart
December 10th, 2013
11:03 AM ET

Quit-smoking drugs safe for your heart

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death world-wide. About half of all long-term smokers will die because of their addiction. But the good news is that nearly 70% of current smokers want to quit, says the CDC.

And using an effective treatment to help kick the habit can almost double or triple one's chance of success. Replacement therapies like the nicotine patch or gum, or medications like the antidepressant buproprion (sold as Wellbutrin or Zyban) and varenicline (commonly known as Chantix), can help reduce one's cravings to smoke and deal with withdrawal symptoms.

Headlines in recent years have questioned the cardiovascular risks of these drugs. But new research says that these drugs carry little risk of heart attack or stroke. 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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