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Study: Stress may reduce fertility
March 24th, 2014
05:38 PM ET

Study: Stress may reduce fertility

If you're trying to get pregnant, relax and try to keep your stress down.  That sounds like good advice, which your doctor has probably given you, but there has been very little science to back it up - until now.

Researchers, publishing in the journal Human Reproduction, say they have put out the first prospective study showing an association between stress and infertility.  They measured stress using biomarkers in the saliva of women who wanted to conceive, and found a strong correlation with alpha-amylase.

"The women who had the highest levels of this salivary stress biomarker had a 29% decreased probability of pregnancy over time, and that actually translated into a more than two-fold risk of infertility for them by the end of the study," said lead author Courtney Lynch, director of reproductive epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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5 studies you may have missed
Go ahead, buy that sports car. Research shows mid-life crises are real.
March 21st, 2014
07:19 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. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.

Probiotics can help preschoolers
Journal: Pediatrics

You've probably heard that taking probiotics - live bacteria commonly found in your gut - can help boost your digestive health. Now scientists have shown that probiotics may help young children as well.

Researchers enrolled more than 300 children at day care centers in Mexico in a double-blind study. Half of the kids received a daily dose of probiotics; the other half received a daily placebo.

They found that the probiotics significantly reduced the number of times - and the duration of - the kids' diarrhea episodes. The live bacteria also helped prevent respiratory tract infections.

Read more from Medscape.com

Mid-life crises DO exist
Published by The Institute for the Study of Labor

Social economists say the life cycle of human happiness is U-shaped. We're really happy when we're young, and happy again when we're old. That low point in the middle? We call it a mid-life crisis.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia tracked the happiness levels of thousands of people in Australia, Britain and Germany over multiple decades. They found people in all three countries were unhappiest between the ages of 40 and 42.

So go ahead and buy yourself that sports car - science has proven you need it.

Genes matter when eating fried food
British Medical Journal

While fried pickles and French fries aren't healthy for anyone, some people are more likely to gain weight while eating them than others.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School say study participants who ate fried food at least four times a week weighed more, on average, than those who didn't. No duh, right? Well the people who ate fried food and carried 10 known obesity risk genes were two points heavier on the BMI scale than those without the risky genes.

While the difference seems small, those two points could move you from the "normal weight BMI category to the "overweight" category.

Bottom line? Genetics matter. But what you eat matters more.

Read more on NPR.org

You should be able to hear me now
Journal: Ear and Hearing

"What?" If you find yourself repeating this word a lot in conversation, listen closely. A study done in the United Kingdom found only one-fifth of people with hearing problems use hearing aids.

The study authors analyzed data from 160,000 people in the UK aged 40 to 69 years. It found 10% of middle-aged adults had trouble hearing speech in the presence of background noise, but just 2% used a hearing aid.

"There still seems to be a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid, where as there is little stigma now associated with vision loss and wearing spectacles," Kevin Munro, an audiology professor at The University of Manchester, said in a statement. That might be because eye care involves lifestyle choices and is available without the need to see a doctor, he said.

Delivering your baby underwater isn't OK
New recommendations from AAP and ACOG

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are warning mothers to stay away from water births.

The professional organizations say undergoing the first few stages of labor in a birthing pool may offer advantages, such as decreased pain and shorter labor time. But delivering the baby underwater has no proven benefit to the mother or the baby, the organizations say, and can pose serious - sometimes fatal - health risks.

It's not known how many women in the United States choose a water birth. Complications can include infection, difficulty controlling the baby's body temperature, a greater risk of umbilical cord damage and/or breathing problems.

Read more from U.S. News & World Report


5 studies you may have missed
March 14th, 2014
11:50 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.

Blood test may diagnose sports injuries to the brain
Journal: JAMA Neurology

Sports concussions have received a lot of attention recently, as evidence mounts that repetitive injuries to the brain can have damaging long-term consequences. But the science of sports-related head injuries, including how to measure recovery and decide when it's OK for a patient to play again, needs work.

This study proposes using blood biomarkers to diagnose sports-related concussions. To study the phenomenon, researchers used 280 players from 12 teams in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional ice hockey league in Sweden.

Researchers say a blood test measuring a protein called tau could help determine the severity of a concussion, whether there could be long-term consequences and when a patient can return to play. The test could evaluate severity just one hour after injury, they said.

"Concussions are a growing international problem," lead study author Henrik Zetterberg of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg told Reuters Health. "The stakes for the individual athlete are high, and the list of players forced to quit with life-long injury is getting ever longer."

Read more from Reuters Health

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Test may some day predict 5-year risk of death
March 10th, 2014
12:19 PM ET

Test may some day predict 5-year risk of death

Will you be alive five years from now? New research suggests it might be possible to predict if you’ll die from a medical condition in the next half-decade.

How, you ask? With a simple blood test.

According to a recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, if your blood registers high levels of four “biomarkers,” biological molecules found in your blood, body fluids, or tissues, you are at a substantially higher risk of dying in the next five years. FULL POST

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Filed under: Conditions • Living Well

5 studies you may have missed
A team of researchers has developed an intravaginal ring designed to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy.
March 7th, 2014
07:27 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. 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 diss canned vegetables
American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed more than 40 scientific journal studies to see if canned fruits and vegetables provide the same nutritional benefits as fresh and frozen produce. Cans are often cheaper than fresh or frozen products, and therefore easier for low-income families to buy.
FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
February 21st, 2014
08:38 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.

Changing schools linked to psychotic symptoms
Journal: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

When a child switches schools, it may have more dire consequences for him or her than one might think.

Researchers at the Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom examined data from almost 14,000 children born between the years 1991 and 1992. They found increased signs of psychosis among children who switched schools three or more times in early childhood. These symptoms included hallucinations and interrupting thoughts.

FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
A pizza herb could be the key to killing off Norovirus, scientists say.
February 14th, 2014
08:12 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.

That car comes with an obesity feature
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Do you own a car? A computer? A TV? You're probably moving less, sitting more and buying bigger pants than someone who doesn't.

After analyzing data from more than 150,000 people in several countries, researchers said owning all three was associated with a 31% decrease in physical activity, 21% increase in sitting and a 3.54-inch increase in waist size. They also found a 400% increase in obesity and a 250% increase in diabetes among owners of these items in low-income countries.
FULL POST


Playing Cupid makes us happy
February 14th, 2014
08:09 AM ET

Playing Cupid makes us happy

The word "matchmaker" immediately conjures images of nosy old ladies interfering in something that is really none of their business. And anyone who's ever been on a bad blind date knows how difficult it can be to make a good match.

So why do we keep setting other people up?

Because playing Cupid makes us happy, new research suggests.

"People enjoy being the key person who made that critical match between newlyweds or between business partners who started a successful venture," says lead study author Lalin Anik, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University.
FULL POST


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.

FULL POST


Stroke:  Knowing the warning signs in women
February 6th, 2014
04:03 PM ET

Stroke: Knowing the warning signs in women

It wasn't supposed to happen to her. Just 32 and pregnant, Holly Carson woke with a crushing headache.

"It was ... like if somebody had a baseball bat taken to (my) head," says Carson.  Having some medical training, she immediately suspected she was having a stroke.

At 26, med student Lauren Barnes' migraine took a turn for the worse. Then, "I had a rush of pins and needles sensation and tingling throughout the entire right side of my body," she says.

Stroke isn't just for the elderly, as Carson and Barnes can attest.  Scientists have known for some time that women have some risk factors for stroke that are unique to them and others that are more commonly seen in women than men.

To make women more aware, the American Heart Association released the first guidelines for the prevention of stroke in women on Thursday.  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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