February 14th, 2014
08:12 AM 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.
That car comes with an obesity feature
Do you own a car? A computer? A TV? You're probably moving less, sitting more and buying bigger pants than someone who doesn't.
After analyzing data from more than 150,000 people in several countries, researchers said owning all three was associated with a 31% decrease in physical activity, 21% increase in sitting and a 3.54-inch increase in waist size. They also found a 400% increase in obesity and a 250% increase in diabetes among owners of these items in low-income countries.
Postpartum blood clot risk lasts longer than thought
Women at high risk for blood clots are sometimes prescribed blood thinners for six weeks after giving birth. New research suggests that may not be long enough.
The study followed 1.7 million women in California who gave birth to their first child. Over the next 18 months, 1,015 of them developed blood clots, which can cause strokes or heart attacks. Of those, 248 had strokes and 47 had heart attacks.
According to the research, presented Thursday at the American Heart Association stroke conference by study head Dr. Hooman Kamel, the women's risk of blood clots was 11 times greater in the first six weeks and more than two times greater for the next six weeks.
Women are more prone to blood clots after pregnancy because components the blood increase during labor to prevent too much bleeding. That makes it harder for blood from the legs to travel to the heart. Blood clots can be fatal if clots in the legs reach the lungs.
Read more from TIME
You're more likely to get tested when you're tired
This seems counterintuitive, right? We know our self-control diminishes as we use it - meaning you're more likely to eat a cookie if you've already turned down a brownie and a piece of cake. But in five experiments, researchers found people make better decisions about their health when they're feeling tired or run down.
For example, in one experiment, people with a family history of kidney disease who felt "depleted," were more likely to indicate they'd get tested after reading a warning message than those who were feeling fine.
Apparently when our bodies are weak, we're more worried about our overall well-being. That's when consumers start to value products that emphasize safety features, such as sunscreen, the study authors concluded.
A pizza herb could stop norovirus
Yep, the infectious vomiting disease that sickened hundreds on cruise ships this year could be taken down by America's favorite food. More specifically, it could be taken down by carvacrol, a substance in oregano oil that gives the herb its distinctive smell and flavor.
Scientists at the University of Arizona found carvacrol breaks down the norovirus' tough outer layer, which would allow another antimicrobial substance to enter the inner part of the virus and kill it.
Unfortunately, loading up on pizza before your next cruise won't help, the study authors say. You need a highly concentrated amount of carvacrol, and eating that would cause a burning sensation and numbness in your tongue. Instead, the researchers recommend more research to see if the substance can be used in sanitizers or disinfectants.
Read more from Medical Daily
Watch for signs of stroke during a storm
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health analyzed the medical records of 134,500 stroke patients and matched them with local weather data. The scientists found large temperature changes and higher humidity were associated with an increase in stroke hospitalizations, and that lower average annual temperatures were linked with more stroke hospitalizations and higher stroke mortality rates.
“This study suggests that meteorological factors ... may be stressors that increase stroke risk," study author Judith Lichtman told Forbes.
Use the FAST acronym to spot signs of a stroke.
Read more on Forbes.com
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.