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5 studies you may have missed
March 14th, 2014
11:50 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.

Blood test may diagnose sports injuries to the brain
Journal: JAMA Neurology

Sports concussions have received a lot of attention recently, as evidence mounts that repetitive injuries to the brain can have damaging long-term consequences. But the science of sports-related head injuries, including how to measure recovery and decide when it's OK for a patient to play again, needs work.

This study proposes using blood biomarkers to diagnose sports-related concussions. To study the phenomenon, researchers used 280 players from 12 teams in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional ice hockey league in Sweden.

Researchers say a blood test measuring a protein called tau could help determine the severity of a concussion, whether there could be long-term consequences and when a patient can return to play. The test could evaluate severity just one hour after injury, they said.

"Concussions are a growing international problem," lead study author Henrik Zetterberg of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg told Reuters Health. "The stakes for the individual athlete are high, and the list of players forced to quit with life-long injury is getting ever longer."

Read more from Reuters Health

More adults than ever on ADHD drugs
Report from Express Scripts

Amid concerns about overmedicating children, a new report suggests that the number of adults taking drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rose more than 50% between 2008 and 2012.

Women between the ages of 26 and 34 in particular have experienced a marked rise in ADHD medications, with 85% more taking the drugs in 2012 than in 2008.

What's going on here? It could be that these women with ADHD were overlooked as children because girls are less likely to show disruptive behavior at young ages than boys. Or, women may be using the medications inappropriately, like as appetite suppressants, TIME.com reported.

Read more from TIME.com

Drinking during first term of pregnancy especially harmful
Journal: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Major medical organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said time and again: Do not drink during pregnancy. But researchers are still looking into the specifics of when alcohol might have the most detrimental effect.

In the latest study, the likelihood of premature birth increased among women who drank moderately during the first months of pregnancy.

More than 1,200 women in Leeds, United Kingdom, participated in the study. Those who drank more than two units of alcohol - about one pint - twice a week had a doubled risk of premature birth.

"This is a very sensitive issue. We don't want women who are pregnant now to panic - the individual risk is actually low," Camilla Nykjaer, one of the researchers at the University of Leeds, told the BBC. "They shouldn't drink. They should stop drinking if they have been drinking during the pregnancy."

The United Kingdom's National Health Service says women shouldn't drink during pregnancy, but if they do, limit it to two units once or twice a week, and don't get drunk.

But women in the United States, take note: U.S. health officials say no amount of drinking during pregnancy has been proven safe.

Read more from the BBC

Yes, healthy foods can sell at concession stands
Journal: Journal of Public Health

What happens when you start selling healthy alternatives at concession stands? Based on one study at a high school, it seems customers don't turn away.

Researchers analyzed sales data from concessions at Muscatine High in Iowa, where healthy snacks were sold during football, swimming and volleyball events. Healthier ingredients were used in popcorn and nachos, too. The standard offerings such as pizza, hot dog and candy bars were still available.

Researchers found that sales, revenues and profits were generally stable. Sales per varsity football game actually went up 4% in 2009, when the changes were made, compared to the year before.

"If you're a concession-stand sponsor, and you want people to eat better, and you want to make more money, add at least five healthy items," Brian Wansink, the Cornell lab's director and a marketing professor, said in a statement. "There's got to be a critical mass, and we find that five's a very lucky number, and 10 is even better."

Read more from IowaNow

Vaginal gel may prevent HIV infection
Journal: Science Translational Medicine

A new vaginal gel may potentially protect against HIV when applied up to a few hours after sex, according to a study published Wednesday. All preventative gels currently on the market must be applied before sex, which can make compliance tough for women.

Researchers conducted testing on pigtailed macaques - monkeys with menstrual cycles similar to women. The vaginal gel protected five out of six monkeys from HIV when applied three hours after virus exposure and two of three monkeys when applied 30 minutes before. The gel works after exposure by preventing HIV integration into DNA, a process that begins around six hours after infection.

Applying the gel after sex gives the users more control, study authors say. In order to use the gel, people don't need to anticipate having sex beforehand or rely on their partner's acceptance of it. Researchers believe these advantages could help improve compliance and effectiveness of vaginal gel use.

“We are excited because this provides a whole new option that was previously nonexistent,” says lead study author Walid Heneine of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More trials and tests are needed to see if the gel will be effective in women.


soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. tjp44

    could be we are developing an adderall problem.....

    March 14, 2014 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • janterrirocks

      take your Soma and don't ask those kinds of questions........

      March 14, 2014 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
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      March 18, 2014 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  2. Yes It's Not

    First, someone is going to have to prove that ADHD is real. It is one of the only psychological "disorders" that has NO chemical signatures and NO physical tests. It remains purely an opinion based diagnosis and NO universal standard for diagnosis exists. Just look at the Mayo clinic's pages on ADHD, particularly the diagnosis page. According to that criteria, every kid in the USA has it. Does your child fidget? Is your child loud when they play? Your kid's ADHD alright. Let me just write you that prescription...

    March 14, 2014 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eric

      I agree...everybody jumps to ADHD. Its the easiest solution for parents and doctors. What the kids really need is a swift boot in the butt like when we were all growing up. When i did something wrong, my mom kicked me in the ass and guess what...i never did it again.

      March 14, 2014 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • Deborah Hess

      What sources can you cite to back up your claim that ADHD does not exist, and what are your professional credentials for making that statement?

      There are multiple lines of evidence indicating ADHD is real. These include behavioral assessment, neuropsychiatric testing, results of properly administered medication, epidemiological surveys, genomic studies, and brain imaging studies (functional MRI). These all converge on the conclusion that ADHD is a REAL and TREATABLE neuropsychiatric disease. Medicine is only one part of a comprehensive strategy of coping. If you would like my sources I can give these to you with a couple of hours. Try Dr. Russell Barkley, for one.

      By the way, the vast majority of epidemiological studies consistently show that adult ADD has a prevalence of about 6% of the total population in the world. If you look at the Express Scripts studies, these actually show less than 6%, although it's impossible to determine what Express Scripts was using as a sample population.

      March 14, 2014 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • Misty

      I agree. ADHD is made up. I had three kids – all of them were acting like they should – kids. This is just a way for the pharmaceutical companies to make more money. What would people want, kids who are healthy and in good spirits or a child who walks around like a zombie from the meds these doctors and so-called idiot parents are getting for them.

      March 14, 2014 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • Franktown

      That's the problem with our society. BIG pharmaceutical companies paired up with unethical doctors that are PAID to push medication, and the sheep that we are fall for it hook line and sinker, and in the end w'ere 3 steps back.

      March 14, 2014 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      People keep saying that any doctor will write a kid a prescription for an ADHD med. Can someone give me the name of one of these doctors in Columbus, OH? It would sure be cheaper, easier and quicker than going through an extensive diagnostic process. Oh? Wait? No one knows one? Didn't think so.

      March 14, 2014 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • RC

      If you had a child with ADHD, you would have no doubt that it is real and that the pill my boy takes made it a better student and child overnight. The day he took the pill, he was a more focused person. It's real and medications do work. Accept that as a fact even though you can't actually see it with your own eyes.

      March 14, 2014 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Sorry, what were you saying.......

      March 14, 2014 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
    • VladT

      I think it may be partly the pharmaceutical companies, but they can't write it without whiny ass parents bringing their kids to the doctor with "My kid is loud. He has ADHD. What do I do?!??!?!?"

      March 14, 2014 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • dameglet

      I think ADHD's real. I've seen it before, and I've seen those kids grow up to become alcoholics and ne'er do wells way more often than their non-ADHD peers. But I do think it is also one of the most overdiagnosed disorders on the planet, and waaay too many kids are getting misdiagnosed with it. It turns out a lot of school systems and some parents liked the idea of curing their rowdy kids with a magic pill.
      As for the adult rise in diagnoses, I think that's part of our still-burgeoning prescription drug addiction epidemic. As you said yourself, it's a pretty easy disease to fake for some yuppie uppers.

      March 14, 2014 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Misty,

      If I was anywhere near you, I would throat punch you. Why would anyone talk badly about a condition if he/she didn't have any experience with it?

      Have you seen my child suffer from having ADHD? No. So I am an idiot parent for wanting to help my child with his symptoms? Did you see him struggle and cry after school everyday for not being able to sit still, being so impulsive, and not understanding and being able to focus?

      Medication and therapy has helped him socially and academically.

      What's horrible is those idiots who abuse the drug and those parents who don't give a crap about their babies!

      March 16, 2014 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • meh

      ADHD is real, but it also may be normal. I fidget, I can't concentrate on one thing at a time, I have a hard time focusing at work. This could be all normal, and so what if it is? If there is a pill that helps me with these problems, no matter how normal they are, and I want to take it what does it matter?

      I will concede that medicating kids may not be the best. If I was a parent I would definitely studying any developmental effects of a drug before giving it to them.

      March 16, 2014 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • L

      You are wrong, Misty. There is a huge difference in a kid being a kid, a kid being "bad", and ADHD. HUGE difference. The bad name comes from some doctors not diagnosing it properly. There are a lot of disorders which are debilitating and there are no difinitive tests.

      March 18, 2014 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
    • jujubeans

      i agree

      March 19, 2014 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  3. john

    Stop feeding kids pounds of sugar a year and ADHD goes away! Its pretty simple.

    March 14, 2014 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dameglet

      Sugar alone never seemed to affect my brother. But if you gave him some red dye with that sugar, he was off to the races!

      March 14, 2014 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • dameglet

      Now that I think about it, maybe if people would take the ipods and instant gratification gadgets away from the kids and make them GO OUTSIDE and PLAY, they might be calmer when they come back indoors. What are we really teaching our kids? Stare at the screen nonstop, eat the processed refined foods and avoid physical activity at all costs?

      March 15, 2014 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • L

      ADHD kids (real ones) don't need sugar to be hyper. By the way, I played outside and so did my ADHD daugher – it's a great way to expend energy for these kids but it has nothing to do with "fixing" a problem.

      March 18, 2014 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  4. hmmm

    More concerned about the children.
    In Florida as a pharmacist I see entire families (sometimes 8 kids on this stuff). No other disease known to man (common cold, flu, crabs, etc..) can take down an entire family. Even 3 year olds (which I refuse to fill) are diagnosed with adhd. Keep in mind in Florida, the families receive "crazy checks" for this.
    Doing a great job Doctors, keep it up you might be able to tackle all of those students just yet.

    March 14, 2014 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. terry

    the fact is that whether you have adhd or not, the drugs will help you focus. some people are taking advantage of the boost the pill gives and you can't blame them.

    March 14, 2014 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dave

    The pharma companies are doing really good these days.

    March 14, 2014 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Peter

    ADHD! The cure for parents that refuse corporal punishment for one of the most violent animals on the planet. My favorite parenting line, "I want my children to see me as a friend". No one in my family has children on ADHD. Not even the adopted ones. There is something we all have in common though. We beat the heck out of our kids when they refuse to do as we say.

    March 14, 2014 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • L

      Bull. It's genetic. I knew my daughter had it at 6 months old. I did not medicate her. I did punish, timeout, etc., If the child is truely ADHD you will know.

      March 18, 2014 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  8. shawn l

    ADHD for the most part is a BS "disease". I have run into one, maybe two cases of actual ADHD in 15 years of being a special ed teacher and hundreds of cases of ADHD. Most are badly diagnosed to give parents or doctors a label to place on a kid for their poor behavior.

    March 14, 2014 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. TheSadTruth

    I don't think that attention deficit is a legitimate concern today is that cookies baking that I smell?

    March 14, 2014 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. gerryharrington

    ""Concussions are a growing international problem," lead study author Henrik Zetterberg..."

    Wait, ...what? Prof Henrik Zetterberg? So he plays for the Detroit Red Wings during the winter then moonlights as an academic in the summer?

    March 14, 2014 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sue

    When people are inundated by short, fast, stimuli from video, t.v., games, etc,. and their diets include artificial flavors and coloring, along with preservatives, I am not surprised that attention spans are short. There is a video circulating that is two minutes long. It's nice music and pictures. I was surprised how quickly I became "bored" with the video because there wasn't a lot of action. And I do not have ADHD. Have we trained people to want continual stimuli to stay "focused"?

    March 14, 2014 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dameglet

      Amen to that too! Parking our kids in front of these gadgets instead of making them play outside is a BAD IDEA!

      March 14, 2014 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
  12. IndianaGreg

    Well of course more people in their 20's to early 30's are on ADHD Medication....they were the first Generation that was the result of "Parenting By Prescription". Did anyone honestly think they would learn to "overcome their ADHD" when they hit adulthood? Of course not...but they were taught that whatever problems they have isn't their fault because they have a "condition" that requires "medication".

    March 14, 2014 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. richvalpey

    When I was growing up, the diagnosis code and recommended treatment were different. It was called being bad and the treatment was a paddle across the arms. And when we complained to our parents, we got a belt across the bare buttocks; because our parents supported the teachers.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Andrew

    These comments are so mean-spirited and unfair. I've lived a healthy lifestyle. I avoid sugar and exercise regularly. I am also a successful executive with clinically diagnosed ADHD. I struggled in school and despite enormous effort had difficulty finishing projects or even forcing myself to follow my own train of thought for more than a couple of minutes let alone a 30 minute lecture. As an adult I struggled with memory problems and just living a normal life was immensely challenging. It took a profound level of concentration and mental effort just to avoid things loosing my car keys or my wallet. I sought treatment as an adult and with professional help, counseling and yes medication I've finally learned to manage my ADHD. I became more successful in work and in relationships but the medication wasn't a magic wand. It takes a lot of work and effort to will myself to stay consistently focused and organized but with treatment it is actually possible. Without medical intervention I can confidently assert that I would not have been able to overcome the illness and live a normal productive life.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J-Pap

      I think everyone has your problem then.

      School is boring- check
      Losing keys and wallet – check
      Can't stay focused on things for more than a few minutes – check

      Dude this is life.

      March 14, 2014 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    ADHD drug for grown woman, i see alot of woman on it, it gets them high, thats why they
    take it. If you don't have ADHD, the drug makes you have lots of engery, but thier outta their minds. They take to much sometimes and crash. It's a way to take drugs under the raider. It's America's new get high scam.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J-Pap

      It's speed. just cleaner than the crap on the street

      March 14, 2014 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
  16. Bonnie Akridge

    Loser ADULT Americans believing in the crap that your doctors feed you concerning meds! How lazy are you? I know it's easier to take a pill because you escape reality that way. BUT you neglectful and selfish parents are not even comprehending the fact that the wreckless children you have spit out will BE RUNNING THIS COUNTRY when you are old !! LOLOLOL

    March 14, 2014 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. tm1946

    This is why we need to make pot legal for all people and herion for the East Coast. They cannot handle daily life, so off they go. And if they can get a raise in minimum wage,. they can serve frys the rest of their lifes. win, win. Vote Democratic Party for your fix.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. YumaSunBum

    I would probably be sucking down those pills if they had known to use them back in the 50's, but I was lucky. I did have to take mental control of myself and my mind to overcome it, but I am now drug free (speaking of the drugs for ADHD). They need to teach these kids starting at an early age to learn how to control it rather turning into a bunch of Zombies like those drugs do. It can be done and I am living proof of it.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Friedoutdude

    I took adderall for 3 years until I realized it was killing off my brain cells. I stopped almost a year ago- and I am still not back to normal, and I am worried I never will be. I probably lost 10 IQ points. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS STUFF.

    March 14, 2014 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • supernova67

      Yes, same exact thing happened here. You/your brain forgets how to work without the adderall, on adderall it seems you literally just autopilot on excellence. It ruined my life for some time. I've started doing a lot of meditation and breathing exercises, and that's really helping me get right again.

      March 14, 2014 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
  20. ready

    LMAO what kind of an adult takes ADHD meds?

    March 14, 2014 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jonathan L.

    Not surprising. There is no such thing as ADHD, this is a manufactured disorder to sell drugs. There is no clinical diagnosis because first it doesn't exist and it's all subjective. My best friend who is a prominent doctor has said " ADHD is the biggest scam going. The disorder simply does not exist. Drug companies want doctors to push this made up disorder and sell their drugs. Having ADHD means you are a normal human being because everyone has it!"........it's so sad people are falling for this nonsense and drugging our kids.

    March 14, 2014 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Allison

    My question to the rest of you blithering idiots: ADHD *does* happen in adults, but DOES NOT always have to be medicated. Regardless, unless YOU have been diagnosed with it, then SHUT THE FU_K UP!

    March 14, 2014 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Allison

      As you can see, there IS no question, just a proclamation to ignorant indigents.

      March 14, 2014 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • J-Pap

      So tell me what people did to conquer this problem 100 years ago? or 400 years ago?

      This isn't polio.

      March 14, 2014 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  23. ou812

    feeling sad take a pill, feeling real happy take a pill, feeling depressed take a pill need to sleep take a pill, need to wake up take a pill, need to stay alert take a pill...................................

    March 14, 2014 at 23:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Joey

    I am a psychiatrist. I can assure that this "disease" is not real.

    March 14, 2014 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Balls of Steel

    The abuse of ADHD meds is the next epidemic. All of the sudden kids need meds to concentrate at school, young adults need meds because they can't focused in college, and adults need meds because the were misdiagnosed when they were kids and need to catch up. EPIDEMIC

    March 14, 2014 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mike M

    I can tell you by first hand experience ADHD drugs when used in the right way are no different than cocaine or meth. (high wise)

    March 14, 2014 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DON

    As a practicing MD, I I can tell you there IS an epidemic of people using ADHD meds. I do not give these meds. If there is testing the PSYCHIATRIST need to be doing this, prescribing the meds, and following the patients. The problem is that you have overworked PCP's, pediatricians who have no training in prescribing this stuff. Patients, parents demand it. If you dont give it they get mad and go somewhere else. For some reason it is very difficult to see a psychiatrist. I am not sure why.

    The basic tenet in medicine is that you should know what the hell you are treating. I am very certain that many PCP's and pediatricians are not doing fMRI's, comprehensive psych testing. They think a kid has ADHD and there you go...

    March 15, 2014 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. TheNewerGuest

    Hah, a scientist named Henrik Zetterberg is leading the study on Swedish hockey players. Awesome.

    March 15, 2014 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. frank

    We have been conditioned to look for a new input every 4-5 seconds. This has been a proven fact started by Disney. They tested children and saw that for them to sit still a new chacter had to appear or 1 leave the screen holding the childs attention with the change a new different voice . People have used Disney fils to keep their children occupied for decades and when we send them to school they become bored and rightly so becuae they have been conditioned previously . Watch a t v show and You will see that I am correct .

    March 15, 2014 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. dotheflippin'math

    Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. This old wive's tale has been investigated SCIENTIFICALLY, and thoroughly debunked. Read the current research findings, and stop being ignorant. There is a big difference between kids being naturally energetic and loud, and having a real problem, such as ADHD. I do think that it is overdiagnosed, mostly to satisfy pushy parents who can't control their kids, but for a child who truly cannot control themselves, Adderal and similar medications may be the difference between success and failure. My best friend's daughter was diagnosed after years of problems and denial (friend is an alternative medicine junkie/fool). Even he had to admit it really works and his daughter is not only getting better grades, but is also now socializing better with other kids, and behaving better at home. Learn the facts.

    March 15, 2014 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jujubeans

    That was great, now let me apply this gel!

    March 19, 2014 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cindy

      Get your hand out of there!

      March 28, 2014 at 14:07 | Report abuse |

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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.