April 18th, 2014
10:38 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.
Antidepressants may increase autism risk
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may increase your child's risk of autism, especially if the baby is a boy, a new study suggests. Researchers looked at data from 966 mothers and their children. Kids who were exposed to SSRIs, also known as antidepressants, in utero were more likely to have autism or another developmental delay.
The researchers also distinguished between the sexes; boys with an autism spectrum disorder were three times as likely to have been exposed to SSRIs than typically developing children. But the risk of autism remains low, study authors say, and letting depression go untreated could have other serious consequences.
Read more from U.S. News & World Report
You're over the hill at 24
Of course, you might be able to compensate for this slower reaction time with skill and experience. If you can still remember what it was like when you were young, that is.
Read more from TIME
Scientists studying rare diseases should turn to social media
You may have seen the viral video of 4-year-old Eliza O'Neill laughing and playing as her parents talk about her life with Sanfilippo syndrome.
Scientists studying rare diseases often struggle to find patients and funding because so few people are affected. But social media is helping lighten the load. Viral videos and other campaigns often bring people with the same disease together, making it easier for scientists to identify clinical trial patients. In this study, researchers found social media outlets referred 84% of all patients for two pediatric rare disease trials.
Learn how a genetic disorder was discovered thanks to one dad's blog.
You just think hard candy has fewer calories
The texture of our food affects our perception about its calorie content, says Dipayan Biswas, a marketing professor at the University of South Florida.
In a series of studies, researchers asked people to sample foods that were hard, soft, rough or smooth and then asked them how many calories they thought they had eaten. On average, study participants thought foods that were harder or rougher contained fewer calories.
"Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices," the study authors concluded.
Read more from The Huffington Post
Always get a second opinion
A new study finds more than 5%, or about 12 million U.S. adults, are misdiagnosed during an outpatient visit every year. The researchers estimate about half of those errors are harmful to the patient.
“The pressure to move patients in and out and the resulting brief clinical interactions between doctor and patients is a situation that fosters medical errors,” Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society told Modern Healthcare.
Read more from Modern Healthcare
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.