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Even a 5-minute run can help prevent heart disease
July 28th, 2014
03:31 PM ET

Even a 5-minute run can help prevent heart disease

Good news for runners: A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests running, even for a few minutes a day, can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease whether you plod along or go at race speed.

Researchers studied more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period, looking at their overall health, whether they ran and how long they lived.

Compared to nonrunners, those who ran had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes and a 45% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, investigators found. In fact, runners on average lived three years longer than those who did not hit the pavement. When data was broken down by age, sex, body mass index, and smoking and alcohol use, the benefits were still the same.
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Acetaminophen may not relieve back pain
July 24th, 2014
02:07 PM ET

Acetaminophen may not relieve back pain

Doctors often suggest taking acetaminophen for low back pain relief. But according to a new study, the popular painkiller isn’t any more effective in alleviating an aching back than letting the pain naturally subside.

A study published Thursday in The Lancet found patients who took acetaminophen for low back pain had the same recovery time as those who took a placebo, or sugar pill. The study was partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, a company that manufactures drugs containing acetaminophen.

Researchers in Australia looked at 1,643 patients with acute low back pain. Each was assigned to a different group for the experiment. The first group of 550 patients took six 665-milligram tablets of acetaminophen a day as well as one to two placebo tablets.
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Genetics play a bigger role than environmental causes for autism
July 22nd, 2014
01:23 PM ET

Genetics play a bigger role than environmental causes for autism

Genetics plays more of a role in the development of autism than environmental causes, according to new research published Sunday in Nature Genetics.

The study found that 52% of autism risk comes from common genes, while only 2.6% are attributed to spontaneous mutations caused by, among other things, environmental factors.

“These genetic variations are common enough that most people are likely to have some,” said Joseph Buxbaum, a researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and one of the lead authors on the study. “Each one has a tiny effect on autism risk, and many hundreds or thousands together make a significant risk.”
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Filed under: Autism • Living Well

Babies want to speak as early as 7 months
July 15th, 2014
03:09 PM ET

Babies want to speak as early as 7 months

Babies usually start speaking by their first birthday. But new research suggests talking to your baby stimulates his brain well before she utters those first words.

For the study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors compared how 7- and 11-month-old babies from English-speaking families processed sounds from English and Spanish.

Researchers at the University of Washington looked at 57 babies who were 7, 11 and 12 months old. The babies sat in an egg-shaped, noninvasive brain scanner that measures brain activation and listened to speech sounds played over a loudspeaker.

The researchers examined patterns of brain activation in areas of the brain that analyze sound, as well as areas that plan the motor movements required to produce speech.
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Child medication measurements confuse parents
July 14th, 2014
11:03 AM ET

Child medication measurements confuse parents

Do you know the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons?

Many parents don’t, according to a study published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found more than 10,000 calls to the poison center each year are due to liquid medication dosage errors.

The study says part of the reason parents may be confused is because a range of measurement units such as teaspoons, tablespoons and milliliters are often used interchangeably on labels for prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Parents who used the teaspoon and tablespoon dosage were much more likely to use kitchen spoons to measure their child’s medication and were twice as likely to make an error in medication, according to the study. Parents who measured their child’s medication in milliliters were much less likely to make a dosage mistake.

About 40% of parents in the study incorrectly measured the dose their doctor prescribed.
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5 studies you may have missed
July 4th, 2014
11:14 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.

Motörhead is one of the most hardcore rock ’n’ roll acts on Earth
Journal: The Lancet

That Motörhead has the reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth may not surprise you. But finding evidence to support this claim in one of the major medical journals might.

According to a case study published Thursday in The Lancet, a man “developed a chronic subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain) after headbanging at a Motörhead concert.”
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What your next gyno exam may not include
June 30th, 2014
05:54 PM ET

What your next gyno exam may not include

For doctors, pelvic examinations are a routine way to screen for abnormalities. But for many women, the procedure is uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Thanks to a new clinical practice guideline by The American College of Physicians, your next annual check-up might be less... invasive.

After reviewing 52 studies, the physicians organization concluded that annual pelvic examinations - in non-pregnant, adult women who do not have symptoms - are unnecessary. In other words, pelvic screening exams have served their time.
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Study: 1/3 of knee replacements are questionable
June 30th, 2014
03:34 PM ET

Study: 1/3 of knee replacements are questionable

Whether to replace aging knees can be a tough decision. More than 650,000 Americans underwent total knee replacement surgery last year, but a new paper from researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that a third of those were not “appropriate,” based on standard medical criteria.

The study authors analyzed 175 cases, looking at imaging tests to find the degree of arthritis, as well as each patient’s age and reported pain level. Only 44% of the operations were rated “appropriate.” Thirty-four percent were “inappropriate,” while 22% were inconclusive.

But appropriateness is in the eye of the beholder, says Dr. Jeffery Katz, an orthopedic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. When the current criteria were developed in the late 1990s, knee replacement “was considered a treatment of last resort,” Katz writes in an editorial published alongside the study in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism. Today, many are being done in relatively healthy people in their 50s and 60s.
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Have you had the 'sext' talk with your kids?
June 30th, 2014
01:33 PM ET

Have you had the 'sext' talk with your kids?

It’s called sexting, the act of sending and/or receiving sexually explicit text or photo messages via your mobile phone. And one in five middle school-aged students are doing it, according to a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Among the 1,285 Los Angeles students aged 10 to 15 surveyed for the study, 20% reported having received at least one sext, while 5% reported having sent at least one sext.

“Very frequently it’s the image or the sex, that is finding its way to the middle schooler first, prior to any sort of conversation or education" by parents, said Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and father to two boys. "That makes it even more confusing (for kids).”

The study authors also looked at how sexting relates to sexual behavior among these adolescents. The survey showed that those who reported receiving a sext, were six times more likely to report being sexually active than teens who hadn't received a sext. Those who sent a sext were about 4 times more likely to report being sexually active.
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5 studies you may have missed
Eating more fruits and vegetables won't help you lose weight if you don't reduce the number of calories you're eating overall.
June 27th, 2014
12:39 PM 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.

Eating more fruits and veggies won’t make you lose weight
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

We’re often told to eat more fruits and vegetables, but the chances that you’ll lose weight just by eating more of these foods are slim. New research suggests increased fruit and vegetable intake is only effective for weight loss if you make an effort to reduce your calorie intake overall.

In other words, you need to exercise or consume fewer calories to shed those pounds.
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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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