home
RSS
5 studies you may have missed
May 30th, 2014
07:30 AM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that can 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.

The entire world is getting fat
Journal: The Lancet

In what is the most comprehensive look at global obesity in decades, scientists said they can’t find a single positive note in the fight against the epidemic.

In every single country they studied - there were 188 of them - the obesity rates stayed the same or got worse.

Nearly 30%, or almost one out of every third person on this planet, is overweight or obese, according to the study. In 1980 there were 857 million people considered overweight or obese. In 2013, that number was 2.1 billion.

Obesity is more of a common problem in the developed world, but it has become a growing problem in poorer countries.

The country with the most obese people is the United States. About a third of American adults are overweight, which accounts for 13% of all the heavy people worldwide. The United States is only a little over 4% of the world's population, so that's a startling statistic.

Women saw the bigger gains. Between 1980 and 2013, the rate of women who are obese increased from 29.8% to 38%. For men it increased from 28.8% of the population to 36.9% of the population.

Read more from PLOS Blogs


Men who watch a lot porn may have smaller brains

Journal: JAMA Psychiatry

Men who watch a lot of porn are a little lighter when it comes to their gray matter, according to a  study out of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

Scientists made brain scans of a small group of 64 healthy men from 21 to 45 as they looked at pornographic images. Researchers also assessed how often the men typically looked at porn.

The study may be the first to establish a link between the amount of pornography consumption and brain size. The study does not determine whether men who watch a lot of porn have smaller brains to begin with or whether the volume of their brains has shrunk over time.

The study did show that the region of the brain that activates when someone experiences sexual stimuli is less active in those men who typically watch a lot of porn.

Read more from TIME.com

Want to look younger? Avoid the sun, smoking and high-calorie diets
Journal: Cell Press

Forget special creams and surgeries to look younger - what you really need is to avoid cigarettes and sunshine, according to scientists at the University of North Carolina.

If you avoid “gerontogens" - that’s the fancy word for stuff in the environment that may make you age - you may look younger and may even live longer.

Other “gerontogens” include the chemicals used in chemotherapy. A low-calorie diet may also slow aging, as may a low-stress environment, according to the study.

We still don’t know why some people age faster than others. But the researchers hope their study will someday lead to a blood test that would allow doctors to look at someone’s DNA for biomarkers of aging. Those biochemical signatures would help determine how fast a person is aging and why, and perhaps slow or stop the process. That’s a long way off though. This study is still in the mouse model phase.

Read more: Cell Press release

Teen sunbathers beware: 5 bad sunburns increase risk for deadly cancer
Journal: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

People who say they had more than five or more blistering sunburns before they turned 20 have an 80% increased risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

A study examined the health of 108,916 registered nurses for 20 years. Of those nurses, the ones who had five or more bad sunburns, the kind with blisters, when they were ages 15 to 20, had a 68% increased risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and an 80% increased risk for melanoma.

People who had a similar number of bad sunburns when they were older faced no similar increased risk for melanoma, but they did have a greater chance of developing basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.

Scientists caution people who have a propensity to develop moles or who sunburn easily should take particular care in the sun, especially early in life.

Read more: American Association of Cancer Research

Laser treatment helps tooth regeneration in mice
​Journal: Science Translational Medicine

Lasers sound a lot more fun than root canals. Scientists demonstrated in a new study that it's possible to regenerate dentin, the hard bone-like tissue in teeth, using light.

The technique makes use of stem cells already found in teeth. Researchers did not have to transplant these cells that have tremendous potential in regenerative medicine.

By shining infrared light on damaged teeth in mice, scientists activated molecules called reactive oxygen species. These molecules bind to stem cells, making the stem cells turn into dentin-forming cells that help regenerate the tooth structure, said David Mooney, senior author of the study and researcher at Harvard University.

Scientists demonstrated this in rodents, but not humans, however. Also it's a somewhat lengthy process, which would take weeks to months to work.

If it were successful in humans, though, the technique "potentially could replace the root canal," Mooney said.

Read more from Harvard


5 studies you may have missed
May 23rd, 2014
05:21 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.

Mental illness reduces lifespan even more than smoking
Journal: World Psychiatry

Oxford University psychiatrists say the life expectancy of people with serious mental illness is reduced by 10 to 20 years. That's a toll on life roughly equal or even more dramatic than for people who smoke at least 20 cigarettes a day.

Mental illness is also roughly as common in the United Kingdom than smoking cigarettes, the researchers report: 25% of people will suffer from a mental health problem annually, while 19% of British men and 19% of women are smokers. In the United States, mental illness affects 20% of Americans over 18 in a year.

The study examined information about 1.7 million patients, analyzing 20 scientific reviews and studies that had mostly drawn upon data from wealthy countries.

Lead study author Dr. Seena Fazel told NPR that stigma may play a role in the pattern observed in this study. 

"So much emphasis has been placed on reducing smoking and smoking deaths. Mental illness doesn't receive the same attention in public health and public policy," Fazel told NPR. 

Read more from NPR

FULL POST


Study: Don't delay measles vaccine
May 19th, 2014
02:18 PM ET

Study: Don't delay measles vaccine

There are many myths about vaccinations floating around the Internet, says Dr. Simon Hambidge. One - that giving vaccinations too close together is unhealthy - has prompted some parents to request that their children receive vaccines on an alternate schedule, Hambidge told CNN in an e-mail.

Hambidge, an expert in pediatric vaccination with Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research Colorado, is lead author of a new study that examines the association between vaccine timing and seizures.

His team found that in the first year of life, there is no relationship between the recommended vaccine schedule and seizures. But delaying the measles vaccine until after a child is 15 months old may raise his or her seizure risk. The study results were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"A number of people have claimed that a young child’s immune system is not robust enough to be given multiple vaccines, and that it is safer to 'spread out' vaccination," Hambidge said. "There is no scientific evidence for this, and there is evidence that it is safe and effective to follow the current recommended schedule."

FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
May 16th, 2014
01:29 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.

Pregnant moms: Be careful when you are driving
Journal: Canadian Medical Association

A study out of Canada suggests women in their second trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have a traffic accident than other women.

Researchers looked at every newborn in Ontario, Canada, over a five-year span. They found a 42% increase of life-threatening motor accidents in the second trimester of their pregnancy.
FULL POST


May 14th, 2014
02:24 PM ET

50% of Americans take prescription drugs

About half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug each month, and 10% take more than four, according to a new government report.

"Health, United States, 2013" is an annual report on the nation’s health prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. This year’s report includes a special section on prescription drugs.

Here are a few key facts from that section:
FULL POST


Antioxidant in red wine has no benefit at low doses
May 12th, 2014
05:24 PM ET

Antioxidant in red wine has no benefit at low doses

The antioxidant resveratrol does not improve longevity when consumed at levels naturally occurring in foods like grapes, red wine and dark chocolate, according to a new study published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“We looked at the relationship between resveratrol levels and a lot of health outcomes that are thought to be related to resveratrol, such as cancer and heart disease and lifespan. And we found no relationship,” says Dr. Richard Semba, study author and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The potential health benefits of consuming moderate amounts of red wine have been much discussed ever since researchers identified the “French paradox” – an observation that the French have lower levels of heart disease despite consuming relatively high amounts of saturated fat.
FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
If watching "The Real Housewives" franchise stresses you out, you may want to assess your real-life relationships.
May 9th, 2014
02:57 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.

Don't fight for a longer life
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

If watching "The Real Housewives" franchise stresses you out, you may want to assess your real-life relationships.

Researchers in Denmark analyzed the effect of tense social situations on mortality in a large group of middle-aged men and women. They found people who frequently worried about or felt pressured by their partner or children, and those who had frequent conflicts in their relationships had a higher risk of dying in middle age.

Men, the study authors say, seemed to be particularly vulnerable to the effect. And the findings held true even if the study participants' fights were mostly with neighbors, not friends or family. FULL POST


New research, recommendations for parents
Not all parents are putting babies to sleep on their backs as recommended, a new study finds.
May 6th, 2014
03:34 PM ET

New research, recommendations for parents

Current and expectant parents may be interested a few of the many studies that have been released in recent days as researchers gathered for the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, the largest international meeting focused on research in children's health. The meeting, in Vancouver, British Columbia, ends Tuesday.

Here are some of the findings presented:

Not all parents are putting their babies 'back to sleep'

Since the early 1990's, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been recommending parents put their babies on their backs when they sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While the number of SIDS deaths has gone down, the CDC reports more than 2000 infants under the age of 1 died in 2010 as a result of SIDS.

However, a new study finds that the word hasn't gotten out to everyone that babies should sleep on their backs. Researchers presented their data on Saturday. They found that two-thirds of full-term babies in the United States sleep on their backs and less than half of preemies are put in what's officially called the supine sleep position (on the back). FULL POST


Vibrating capsule may relieve chronic constipation
May 6th, 2014
09:07 AM ET

Vibrating capsule may relieve chronic constipation

A vibrating capsule may provide relief for those who suffer from chronic constipation, according to a small study presented at Digestive Disease Week, an annual meeting of gastroenterologists, hepatologists, endoscopy specialists and GI surgeons.

Twenty-six study participants, who all suffer from chronic idiopathic constipation or constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), were asked to take a vibrating capsule twice a week and then complete a questionnaire, according to the study, presented Saturday.

More than half of the 26 patients experienced an increase in bowel movements, says Dr. Yishai Ron, lead study author and director of Neurogastroenterology and Motility at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. "The number of bowel movements rose from around two to nearly four bowel movements per week – this was an average figure.” Ron adds patients also saw a decrease in constipation symptoms. FULL POST


May 2nd, 2014
08:29 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.

'Healthy obesity' doesn't exist
Journal: Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Can you be fat and fit? Recent research has suggested that the answer is no - obesity is never healthy. A new study supports that conclusion.

Researchers examined data on 14,828 healthy Korean adults. They found that, compared to people with normal weight, obese participants had a higher prevalence of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, meaning early plaque buildup in their arteries. This condition, if not managed, can result in heart attack and sudden cardiac death.

"Obese individuals who are considered 'healthy' because they don't currently have heart disease risk factors should not be assumed healthy by their doctors," said lead study author Dr. Yoosoo Chang in a statement. "Our research shows that the presence of obesity is enough to increase a person's risk of future heart disease and that the disease may already be starting to form in their body. It's important that these people learn this while they still have time to change their diet and exercise habits to prevent a future cardiovascular event."

Read more from EurekAlert!

Pig bladder used to regrow muscle
Journal: Science Translational Medicine

Regenerative medicine saw a breakthrough this week: A study showed how muscle could be regrown in mice and humans.

The human participants were five men who had lost 58% to 90% of one of their leg muscles. To treat them, researchers used a a scaffold made from a pig bladder. This scaffold coaxed stem cells in the men's remaining leg muscle to grow into muscle, too.

"Biological scaffolds, when they degrade, release signal molecules," lead author Dr. Stephen Badylak, of the University of Pittsburgh, told LiveScience. "They can tell cells to do things like divide and line up in a certain way."

Three of the patients showed significant improvement, while the other two had less or no benefit from the procedure.

Researchers are trying the technique in other patients.

Read more from LiveScience

Manicure lamps linked to small cancer risk
Journal: JAMA Dermatology

If you frequent the nail salon, this news is for you: Researchers say there could be a cancer risk associated with the ultraviolet lamps used for nail polish drying. But the risk varies according to the kind of bulb used at the nail salon.

Dr. Lyndsay Shipp and colleagues calculated that at some salons, it may only take 24 visits to accumulate DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation that could cause cancer. At other salons, it would take 625 visits.

More research is needed, Shipp told TIME.com. In the meantime, rest assured one manicure won't give you cancer. But if you're concerned, or have a family history, you could wear sunscreen for the ultraviolet light, or just air-dry your nails.

Read more from TIME.com

Higher antidepressant doses linked to self-harm in teens, young adults
Journal: JAMA Internal Medicine

Young patients are at risk of harming themselves if they receive doses of antidepressants that are higher than recommended, a new study says.

There has been mixed evidence on the subject of antidepressant and suicidal behavior among youth in the past. A government review found an association with self-harm, prompting a so-called "black box warning," or warning on the drug's label. But other studies have found no link, and argue that the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks.

This study, however, specifically examines the connection to dose levels. It looked at three popular drugs: Celexa, Zoloft and Prozac.

Researchers found a risk in self-harm associated with higher-than-recommended doses in patients under age 24. They did not find the same effects in individuals over age 25, or those who took lower drug dosages.

Further study is needed. In the meantime, doctors are recommended to start young patients slowly on antidepressants, at low doses, CBS reports.

Read more from CBS.com

Of mice smelling men: Sex of researcher may affect lab rodents' behavior
Journal: Nature Methods

Rodents get stressed out in the presence of human males, but less so females, a new study suggests.

The stress hormone corticosterone went up in mice and rats when they were put with a man alone in a room, or were given a T-shirt that a man had worn. Researchers did not observe this high level of stress associated with a woman or female-worn shirt.

This difference could be significant because this hormone decreases the rodents' response to pain, so the results of scientific studies involving rodents could be skewed, depending on who was in the room with the critters.

Apparently, time can reduce the rodent stress effect.

“The ideal solution would be for the male researchers to sit in the room with the rodents for 30 to 60 minutes before conducting experiments,” study author and McGill University psychologist Jeffrey Mogil told the New York Times. “But no one is going to do that.”

Read more from the New York Times


« newer posts    older posts »
Advertisement
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.

Advertisement
Advertisement