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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


Two big meals may be better than six small ones
May 15th, 2014
06:01 PM ET

Two big meals may be better than six small ones

Editor's note: This blog was originally published in June 2013 when the research was presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. The final study results were published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia.

You've probably heard that eating multiple small meals throughout the day is a good way to stave off hunger and keep your metabolism revved up while trying to lose weight. But a new study could change your diet strategy.

Eating two large meals early and skipping dinner may lead to more weight loss than eating six smaller meals throughout the day, the study suggests.

"Both experimental and human studies strongly support the positive effects of intermittent fasting," lead study author Dr. Hana Kahleova told CNN in an e-mail.
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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.
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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


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


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


5 studies you may have missed
A new study finds about 12 million U.S. adults are misdiagnosed during an outpatient visit every year.
April 18th, 2014
10:38 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.

Antidepressants may increase autism risk
Journal: Pediatrics

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
Journal: PLOS ONE

Looks like 40 isn't the start of old age. Neuroscientists say age-related cognitive-motor decline begins at age 24 - and it's all downhill from there. That means that at 24 your reaction time starts to slow, and never picks back up. By 39 your speed has dropped about 15%, researchers found.

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
Journal: Pediatrics

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
Journal of Consumer Research

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
Journal: BMJ Quality & Safety

Primary care doctors usually have a small window of time to diagnose each patient they see. So it's not a big surprise that mistakes can be made.

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


5 studies you may have missed
April 11th, 2014
11:46 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.

Germophobes beware: Coughs and sneezes create floating clouds
Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The next time you hear an "achoo!" nearby, shield yourself. A new study shows people blow out gas clouds when they sneeze or cough - and these clouds propel germs further than previously thought.

Scientists at MIT studied how coughs and sneezes move in slow motion using high-speed imaging, in addition to mathematical modeling techniques and simulations. They found that coughs and sneezes have two phases: A quick, jet-like propulsion of droplets, and then a "puff" in which the droplets are suspended in a gas cloud.

When the researchers analyzed the trajectory of the expelled particles, they found that relatively large droplets in the clouds - measuring 100 micrometers in diameter - moved five times further than previous studies had shown. The smaller ones, 10 micrometers across, traveled 200 times farther.

So stop the spread of disease by covering your coughs and sneezes.

Fathers' obesity may be related to children's autism
Journal: Pediatrics

As scientists continue to explore the potential causes of autism, a question has been raised about paternal obesity.

Researchers looked at a large sample of 92,909 children from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The children were between 4 and 13 years old.

Although a mother's weight was only weakly linked with autism in her child, an obese father was associated with a significant increase in risk. Children of obese fathers had a 0.27% likelihood of an autistic disorder, compared to 0.14% for children whose fathers were at a normal weight.

The general risk of an obese father having a child with autism is still small, study authors noted, but the association is worth further study.

"It would definitely be beneficial to replicate our analyses in population studies from other countries," lead researcher Dr. Pal Suren, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, told HealthDay News.

Read more from HealthDay News via WebMD

Exercise may help older women’s brains
British Journal of Sports Medicine

Mild cognitive impairment is a condition affecting memory and thinking that is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and dementia. We don't know how to prevent or cure MCI, but there is some indication that exercise may help.

A new study looked at 86 women between the ages of 70 and 80 who had probable mild cognitive impairment. The women were randomly assigned to aerobic exercise, resistance training, or balance and tone training (the control group) for 26 weeks. Researchers measured the volume of the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in memory, in participants before and after the interventions.

Those who had done aerobic exercise showed bigger hippocampal volume after the intervention, compared to the group that did balance and tone. Those who did resistance training did not show the benefit.

Strangely, those who had larger hippocampal volume also tended to score worse on a verbal learning test. This was a small study and more research is needed to explain the findings.

Read more from The Atlantic

Cells involved in touch identified
Journal: Nature

Scientists have uncovered how cells that lie under the surface of your skin allow you to perceive details and textures. These cells are called Merkel cells.

“These experiments are the first direct proof that Merkel cells can encode touch into neural signals that transmit information to the brain about the objects in the world around us,” researcher Ellen Lumpkin said in a statement.

The work could have implications for understanding conditions in which touch sensitivity is lost. Sensitivity also declines with normal aging; at the same time, Merkel cells start disappearing in people in their early 20s.

“It’s an exciting time in our field because there are still big questions to answer, and the tools of modern neuroscience give us a way to tackle them,” Lumpkin said.

Read more from Columbia University

Junk food may bring on laziness - in rats
Journal: Physiology & Behavior

Poor eating habits may not only expand your waistline, but also make you less motivated, a new study suggests.

Researchers fed some rats a low-fat diet that was high in simple sugars and refined flour, and others a healthier diet. All rats learned that they would be able to get a bit of sugar water as a reward for pressing a lever. The number of lever presses required to access to the reward increased during the experiment.

Eventually both sets of rats tired of this exercise, but junk-food rats gave up a lot sooner than the ones who had a healthy diet. Both groups seemed to have similar energy levels, so researchers believe there's something happening in the brains of the ones eating poorly to explain the behavior difference. More research is required to find out if that's true.

Note that this research was in rats, so we don't know how it will apply to humans. Still, lead author Aaron Blaisdell told the LA Times: "Rats are a great animal model for humans because there is so much overlap in the systems that regulate appetite and metabolism."

Read more from the LA Times


Severe obesity in kids on the rise
This chart shows the trends in prevalence of overweight and obese children between 1999 and 2012.
April 7th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Severe obesity in kids on the rise

The decline of childhood obesity rates seen in a couple of recent studies may be nothing more than an illusion, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers looked at data from more than 26,000 children age 2 to 19 in the United States who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that rates of overweight and obese children have been trending upward since 1999, with significant increases seen recently in the number of severely obese children.

Severe childhood obesity rates have more than doubled since 1999, according to the study. In 1999-2000, less than 1% of children fell into the Class 3 obesity category - meaning they had a body mass index 140% higher than their peers. In 2011-2012, 2.1% of children were in the same category. An additional 5.9% met the criteria for Class 2 obesity.
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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