August 25th, 2014
05:51 PM ET
Have you ever answered the phone in the morning to discover it was actually your alarm clock going off, or had a conversation in the middle of the night and woken up the next day with no recollection of it?
A new study suggests you are not alone. Researchers found many of us have had a similar experience in our lifetime.
The study, out Monday in the journal Neurology, says one in every seven people suffer from sleep "drunkenness" disorder, also called confusional arousal.
Confusional arousal is when a person wakes up and remains in a confused state for a certain period of time before either going back to sleep or fully waking up.
August 18th, 2014
11:10 AM ET
Over the past half century, the prevalence of childhood disabilities in the United States has been on the rise, possibly due to an increased awareness about these issues. Now a study published in this week’s online issue of Pediatrics suggests the nature of those newly diagnosed disabilities is changing.
The report, “Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001-2011" found the number of American children with disabilities rose 16% over a 10-year period. While there was a noted decline in physical problems, there was a large increase in disabilities classified as neurodevelopmental conditions or mental health issues, such as ADHD and autism.
“We found that that physical disability health conditions in children were down 12%, but the disabilities related to mental and neurodevelopmental health went up 21%,” said lead study author Dr. Amy Houtrow, chief of the Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
August 12th, 2014
04:38 PM ET
School children get low marks when it comes to spreading germs, often sharing bugs with their classmates. So scientists wondered if putting hand sanitizers into elementary school classrooms would lead to fewer absences.
Researchers in New Zealand set out to discover if using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, in addition to regular hand washing, would cut back on absentee rates in schools.
They recruited 68 primary schools, and all students were given a half-hour hygiene lesson. They then assigned half of the schools to a control group where children washed their hands with soap and water. The schools in the intervention group did the same, but were also asked to use classroom hand sanitizers when they coughed or sneezed, and before meals.
July 28th, 2014
03:31 PM ET
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.
July 24th, 2014
02:07 PM ET
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.
July 22nd, 2014
01:23 PM ET
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.”
July 15th, 2014
03:09 PM ET
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.
July 14th, 2014
11:03 AM ET
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.
June 30th, 2014
03:34 PM ET
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.
June 27th, 2014
12:39 PM 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.
Eating more fruits and veggies won’t make you lose weight
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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