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5 studies you may have missed
February 7th, 2014
09:18 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.

Yogurt may lower diabetes risk
Journal: Diabetologia

Type 2 diabetes is a big public health problem. According to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, and 90% of those cases are type 2, which is associated with excess body weight and physical inactivity.

A new study by University of Cambridge researchers looks to yogurt as a possible means of prevention.

Scientists examined dietary records from 753 people who developed type 2 diabetes during an 11-year period. They compared that data with eating habits of 3,500 healthy people from the same population. Participants were part of a large study in Norfolk, England.

They found a 28% decreased risk of diabetes in people who chowed down on low-fat yogurt at least four times a week, compared to people who did not eat yogurt.

This study does not prove that yogurt directly protects against diabetes or causes any outcomes. But Forbes notes that yogurt does have ingredients associated with good health: calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and fatty acids. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

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February 6th, 2014
11:24 AM ET

Relax, weekend weight gain won't kill your diet

You've been eating well all week: oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch and grilled chicken with vegetables for dinner. Then the weekend hits. Suddenly your taste buds want French fries at the bar and Mom's cheesy lasagna is calling your name during Sunday dinner.

Not to worry. A new study suggests small weight gains on weekends are normal, and as long as you can compensate during the week, indulging a bit may even help you lose weight long-term.

“There is a clear weekly rhythm to weight variation for most people,” says one of the study authors, Anna-Leena Orsama, a research scientist with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. “On the weekends there is more variability and unpredictability in what we eat.”

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February 3rd, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Sugar not only makes you fat, it may make you sick

In recent years, sugar - more so than fat - has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.

Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should.  Let's be honest, it's hard not to.

The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought.  It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity.  Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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5 studies you may have missed
January 31st, 2014
07:28 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.

Two stressed-out people are better than one
Journal: Social Psychological and Personality Science

As much as you want to appear calm, cool and collected in front of your colleagues, sharing the stress of an upcoming presentation may help you chill.

Researchers at the USC Marshall School of Business asked 52 female undergraduate students to pair off and share their feelings about giving an upcoming speech. The scientists measured each student's level of the stress hormone cortisol before, during and after the speech.
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January 30th, 2014
10:49 AM ET

Your kindergartner‎'s weight matters

The baby fat lingering around your 5-year-old's face (and tummy and thighs) may be an indicator of his or her weight for many years to come, a new study suggests. Children who enter kindergarten overweight are four times more likely than their normal weight peers to become obese by age 14, researchers say.

Though recent studies have shown signs of progress in the fight against childhood obesity, an estimated one out of every eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are higher in African-American and Hispanic populations, at one in five and one in six, respectively.

The new study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests a big part of a child's obesity risk is already established by age 5. Interventions to combat childhood obesity may need to focus on those children who are overweight early in life, the study authors say.
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5 studies you may have missed
January 24th, 2014
08:51 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.

Sunlight may lower blood pressure
Journal: Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Going outside and embracing the sun may come with unexpected health benefits, a new study suggests. But don't get so much direct exposure that you risk skin cancer.

Researchers looked at the benefits of radiation from the sun. Volunteers received a dose of ultraviolet-A radiation in a laboratory that was equivalent to being in the sun for 30 minutes in summertime in Southern Europe. FULL POST


Lower the thermostat, whittle your waistline?
January 22nd, 2014
12:01 PM ET

Lower the thermostat, whittle your waistline?

You may want to program the thermostat in your office down a couple of degrees today, despite the more-than-chilly temperatures outside. A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests doing so could help you lose weight.

Regular exposure to mildly cold temperatures help people burn more calories, according to the paper's authors, who have been studying this phenomenon for more than a decade.

"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90% of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," lead author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said. "What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature?" FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
January 17th, 2014
12:28 PM 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.

Drink up - you'll remember it later
Journal: Nature Neuroscience

If you're worried that drinking alcohol is hastening your memory loss, fear not. A new study suggests any caffeine you inhale the morning after will have the opposite effect.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University gave study participants 100 to 300 milligrams of caffeine after they looked at some images. Twenty-four hours later, those who got 200 or 300 milligrams of caffeine remembered the images better than participants who took a placebo.

The researchers concluded that caffeine can help strengthen our long-term memories.

Read more from The Atlantic

We may live longer because our metabolism sucks
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Guess the monkeys will have to give up those bananas after all. An international team of scientists has discovered that primates burn about half the calories other mammals burn on a daily basis.

While the study was done on primates, researchers believe the findings translate to humans as well.

"The results were a real surprise," said lead study author Herman Pontzer, an anthropologist at Hunter College in New York. "To put that in perspective, a human – even someone with a very physically active lifestyle – would need to run a marathon each day just to approach the average daily energy expenditure of (another) mammal their size."

The researchers believe this slow metabolic rate may be the reason primates, including humans, live much longer than, say, dogs or hamsters. When the body expends energy, it ages. So slow growth may be linked to a long life.

Read more from Smithsonian Magazine

Stand up. We're serious this time
American Journal of Preventive Medicine

You've heard before that sitting all day is killing you. This study provides more evidence to back up that claim.

Researchers examined data from more than 92,000 postmenopausal American women. Those who reported more than 11 hours of sedentary time each day died earlier than peers who only reported four hours of inactivity. The sedentary group increased their risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and cancer by 13%, 27% and 21%, respectively, according to the study authors.

“In general, a use it-or-lose it philosophy applies,” said lead study author Rebecca Seguin. “We have a lot of modern conveniences and technologies that, while making us more efficient, also lead to decreased activity and diminished ability to do things. Women need to find ways to remain active.”

Read more from Cornell University

Choose wisely before giving birth
Journal: BMJ Open

Having a kid is expensive, but HOW expensive really depends on which hospital you choose, this study suggests.

Researchers analyzed the cost of more than 109,000 uncomplicated, vaginal and Caesarean section deliveries that took place in California hospitals in 2011. They found the cost for a vaginal birth can range anywhere from $3,296 to $37,227 and C-sections could cost you anywhere from $8,312 to $70,908.

The differences in price were "not well explained by observable patient or hospital characteristics," the study authors wrote.

Read more from Health.com

Don't name your kids Jayden, Jason and Jamie
Journal: PLOS ONE

Did your mom or dad accidentally call you by your sibling's name a lot as a kid? Did you feel like they loved your brother or sister more?

Psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin have learned it's not a Freudian slip that makes parents mistakenly call the wrong child's name. Couples with children whose names sound alike, either at the beginning or the end - think Amanda and Samantha - are more likely to make the switch.

It's all part of the brain's information-retrieval process, says lead study author Zenzi Griffin, and is more likely to happen if the siblings are closer in age or look alike.

Just be glad you weren't one of the 20 respondents who said they were called by the name of the family pet.

Read more from ScienceDaily


5 studies you may have missed
January 10th, 2014
01:53 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.

1. Surgical glue may mend broken hearts
Journal: Science Translational Medicine

Doctors see a huge unmet need for better adhesives in medicine, says Jeff Karp, co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The current options include sutures, which can be time-consuming to insert, and staples, which can do significant damage.

Karp and colleagues wanted to develop a better adhesive solution for babies with congenital heart defects who require surgery. To create an adhesive that would work on a beating heart in the presence of blood, a material would have to be biodegradable, elastic and nontoxic.

Researchers turned to nature for answers, observing how creatures such as sandcastle worms and spiders "have secretions that enable them to attach to wet surfaces," Karp said.

FULL POST


Red light, green light: Food choice made easier
January 7th, 2014
08:01 AM ET

Red light, green light: Food choice made easier

What if eating healthy was as easy as playing your favorite childhood game?

In March 2010, Massachusetts General Hospital's cafeteria got an overhaul. Healthy items were labeled with a "green light," less healthy items were labeled with a "yellow light," and unhealthy items were labeled with a "red light." Healthier items were also placed in prime locations throughout the cafeteria, while unhealthy items were pushed below eye level.

The "Green Light, Red Light, Eat Right" method is a favorite among experts fighting childhood obesity. But doctors at Massachusetts General wanted to know if the colors could really inspire healthier eating habits among adults long-term.

The results of their study were published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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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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