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April 30th, 2014
03:34 PM ET

World Health Organization: Antibiotic resistance is now a reality

The drumbeats about the dangers of antibiotic resistance just got louder. The World Health Organization says antimicrobial resistance - which includes drug-resistant bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites - is seen in every region of the world.

"The picture is consistent," says Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security at the WHO. "The capacity to treat serious infections is becoming less all over the world. ... This is something which is occurring in all countries of the world."

Antimicrobial drugs are one of the foundations of modern health care - something we all hope to rely on when we get sick with ailments including pneumonia, urinary tract or blood infections, diarrhea or sexually transmitted diseases, Fukuda says. These infections occur worldwide on a daily basis.

But because of overuse or misuse or improper use of existing treatments, the ability to fight these infections is getting harder and harder, he says. FULL POST


April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Treating brain diseases with marijuana

Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.

MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.

Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says. FULL POST


Is diabetes shrinking my brain?
April 29th, 2014
08:51 AM ET

Is diabetes shrinking my brain?

It's not a secret that some diabetics also have memory issues, but a new study suggests it's not just due to clogging of blood vessels - your brain may actually be shrinking.

When the brain shrinks, it's often because valuable brain cells that help us think and remember are dying. A loss of brain cells is a hallmark for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

In this new study, published in the journal Radiology, researchers looked at brain scans from a little more than 600 people age 55 and older with type 2 diabetes.  They found that patients who lived with diabetes the longest had smaller brain volumes. FULL POST


Why laughing is healthy
April 28th, 2014
09:57 AM ET

Why laughing is healthy

Can watching a funny cat video at work actually improve your productivity?

Maybe!

A study presented at this year's annual Experimental Biology conference finds that when people laugh, their brains are activated in the same way as when people are mindfully meditating.

FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
April 25th, 2014
07:02 PM ET

5 studies you may have missed

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

Low tolerance for pain? Blame your parents
Presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting

Researchers believe they've identified four genes that are responsible for your ability to tolerate pain. In their study, they asked 2,721 people with chronic pain to rate their pain on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the most painful. Researchers then grouped the participants according to low-pain, moderate-pain or high-pain ratings, and identified which genes were more prevalent in each group.

“Chronic pain can affect every other part of life,” study author Dr. Tobore Onojjighofia said in a statement. “Finding genes that maybe play a role in pain perception could provide a target for developing new therapies and help physicians better understand their patients’ perceptions of pain.”
FULL POST


Coffee may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes
April 24th, 2014
07:44 PM ET

Coffee may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes

Need an excuse to drink yet another cup of coffee today?  A new study suggests that increasing coffee consumption may decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.

The apparent relationship between coffee and type 2 diabetes is not new.  Previous studies have found that drinking a few cups or more each day may lower your risk - with each subsequent cup nudging up the benefit.

This most recent study, published in the journal Diabetologia, was more concerned with how changing coffee consumption - either increasing it or decreasing it over time - might affect your risk.
FULL POST


Marijuana use linked to heart problems
April 23rd, 2014
06:21 PM ET

Marijuana use linked to heart problems

Young people who use marijuana may be at risk for heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems, a new study suggests.

Researchers reviewed records from the French Addictovigilance Network, a national system of centers in France that gather information about drug abuse and dependence. From 2006 to 2010, they found 35 reports of patients who had experienced cardiovascular complications following cannabis use. The  study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

FULL POST


New migraine treatments show promise
April 22nd, 2014
06:07 PM ET

New migraine treatments show promise

There are few treatments available for the millions of people who suffer from migraines. New early-stage research offers new hope.

Studies presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting suggest that two new drugs may prevent migraines from happening.

"We've identified a new preventive treatment for migraines, something that reduces frequency, the number of attacks and severity of attacks, how bad the attacks are," said Dr. Peter Goadsby, co-author of both studies and professor of neurology at Kings College, London and the University of California, San Francisco. "The results herald a new mechanism for the preventive treatment of migraines."

FULL POST


April 22nd, 2014
11:18 AM ET

Vote! The CNN 10: Healing the Future

We've featured 10 inventions and ideas that are revolutionizing health care - from the operating table to the kitchen table. Vote for the one you think will have the biggest impact on the future of medicine, and tell us why in the comments below.


Filed under: Public Health

Despite dangers, docs continue to prescribe kids codeine
Codeine is commonly prescribed for children with coughs and colds, although it's not recommended, a new study finds.
April 21st, 2014
04:24 PM ET

Despite dangers, docs continue to prescribe kids codeine

Every year, there are up to 870,000 prescriptions of codeine written for children in emergency rooms in the United States.

And that's a huge danger, because the narcotic can have particularly powerful effects on children. So powerful that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines against its use in 1997. Yet, despite those guidelines, a new study in the journal Pediatrics has found that little has changed in codeine prescribing habits.

Study author Dr. Sunitha Kaiser and her colleagues evaluated the National Hospital and Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database for emergency room visits of children between the ages of 3 and 17  from 2010 through 2010. They found found that in the nine years evaluated, the percentage of codeine prescriptions dropped very little - from 3.7%  to 2.9%. 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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