December 6th, 2013
12:51 PM ET
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.
We’re ‘woefully unprepared’ for dementia
More than 130 million people worldwide will have dementia by 2050, according to a report released ahead of the G8 Dementia Summit being held in London next week. And the majority of those people will live in low- and middle-income countries.
“The absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic,” write the authors of the report. “There is an urgent need for a collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and non-profit organisations.”
The advocates say research on the debilitating disease needs to be made a global priority.
A few zaps to the brain may help you persevere
Scientists have a long way to go before they fully comprehend the inner workings of the human mind. But if we zapped a couple of their brains in the right place, they might work even harder to figure it out.
Researchers stimulated a region known as the anterior midcingulate cortex in the brains of two epileptic patients who were undergoing surgery. The first patient reported feeling like he was psyching himself up for a challenge. The second said, “I can’t give up” and “I have to fight it… to make it through,” the study authors report. They concluded that delivering an electrical charge to the region could inspire people to persevere.
Of course, any dieter knows that just having the inspiration to do something doesn’t mean you’ll do it.
Overweight kids may be more injury-prone in sports
Physical activity is good for overweight kids, right? A new study suggests that overweight children may be at slightly higher risk of leg, ankle and foot injuries during exercise.
Danish researchers looked at 632 kids between the ages of 7 to 12. All participants went to a physical education class for at least 1.5 hours per week.
Those who were overweight or obese - based on both body fat and BMI - had a higher likelihood of a lower body injury. The differences compared to kids of normal weight were small, however. The lead study author told Reuters Health that overweight kids shouldn't avoid sports, but that there should be an emphasis on prevention of injuries.
Dyslexia associated with brain communication breakdown
Individuals with dyslexia have difficulty reading. Specifically, they also seem to have trouble with the connections between spoken words and written symbols.
A new study gives new insights about the underlying brain biology of this condition. Researchers looked at brain scans and found that phonetic representations of language may be less accessible in people with dyslexia than in individuals without the condition. That's because of differences in brain connectivity, the scientists said.
Damaged connections between auditory and speech centers of the brain may be causing problems seen in dyslexia, study authors said. These insights could lead to improvements in treatment and therapies for the condition.
Diabetes drugs may affect women's cancer risk
A controversial group of diabetes drugs may be linked to a lower likelihood of cancer, a new study reports.
Insulin sensitizers, which include the drug Avandia, appeared to have a greater likelihood of preventing cancer than other drugs called insulin secretagogues.
Only women showed this effect, the study authors said; men with type 2 diabetes did not show a difference in cancer risk based on these drugs. But women taking insulin sensitizers had 22% less risk of cancer than those taking insulin secretagogues.
The FDA said in November that it was loosening restrictions on Avandia because of new information about its cardiovascular risk. The drug had previously been limited to patients with type 2 diabetes who could not control their illness with other medications.
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.