April 16th, 2014
04:13 PM ET
Being apathetic is usually defined as showing a lack of enthusiasm or energy. Most people who experience it say they just aren’t motivated to do anything.
Although anyone in any age group can become apathetic, it has been well documented that apathy tends to affect those in their golden years. Now scientists believe that an elderly person’s lack of emotion and indifference to the world could be a sign his or her brain is shrinking.
A study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, and funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Aging, found that older folks, who are apathetic - but not depressed – may be suffering from smaller brain volumes than those without apathy. FULL POST
April 16th, 2014
03:47 PM ET
It can be one of the most difficult diagnoses for a doctor to make: whether a brain-damaged patient is in a permanent vegetative state and will never wake up, or if he is in a minimally conscious state and may one day recover.
In fact, for patients with significant swelling in the brain, a doctor's outcome prediction is currently "a little better than flipping a coin," researchers Jamie Sleigh and Catherine Warnaby write in The Lancet this week.
April 14th, 2014
03:02 PM ET
You've heard the term "hangry," right? People who are hungry often report being unreasonably angry until they're fed.
"Hangry" is a relatively new buzz word, but science is backing it up. A new study published in the journal PNAS suggests married couples are more aggressive when they have low blood sugar levels.
Everyone gets upset at their spouse or significant other sometimes. But self-control hopefully prevents you from taking that anger out on them in a physical manner.
January 14th, 2014
05:11 PM ET
Watching a TV show where the words coming out of the actor's mouth are not synched with his lips can be very distracting.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University, in a study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggest this is something some children with autism experience all the time, because they cannot simultaneously process what their eyes are seeing and their ears are hearing.
People with an autism spectrum disorder can have significant communication difficulties and exhibit repetitive patterns of behavior and social challenges. The American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the bible of all diagnostic criteria of mental disorders, says people with autism spectrum disorder "have communication deficits, such as responding inappropriately in conversations" (among other symptoms). Their new DSM 5 criteria fold symptoms of the disorders into two broad categories: Impaired social communication and restricted or repetitive patterns and behaviors.
November 22nd, 2013
02:26 PM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published recently 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.
Breast milk + solid foods = allergy prevention?
With up to 8% of children in the United States dealing with food allergies, many parents want to know how they can prevent this condition. A new study suggests that babies who receive solid food while they are breast-feeding may be protected from food allergies.
November 6th, 2013
02:11 PM ET
The first signs of autism may be visible as early as the first month of a child's life, according to a study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
"These are the earliest signs of autism ever observed," says lead study author Warren Jones.
Researchers at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta followed 110 children from birth to age 3, at which point a diagnosis of autism was ascertained. Fifty-nine babies were considered "high risk" for developing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because they had siblings with autism; 51 were considered "low risk" because they did not have first, second or third-degree relatives with ASD. FULL POST
November 4th, 2013
01:37 PM ET
More hospital patients are surviving traumatic brain injuries - which is good news, except for those waiting on donated organs for transplants. Improved survival rates have resulted in fewer transplant organs being available, Canadian researchers found.
A study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CAMJ), examined the recovery outcomes of 2,788 adult patients admitted to regional intensive care units in Alberta, Canada, over a 10.5 year period.
“Prior to the study, we had noticed a decline in the number of deceased organ donors in Southern Alberta,” said Dr. Andreas Kramer, lead author of the study. “Since we were seeing fewer patients with brain injuries, we thought we would find fewer patients progressing to neurological death.”
Researchers looked at ICU patients with various types of brain injuries. They found the greatest increase in survival rates were among traumatic brain injury patients. FULL POST
October 31st, 2013
12:04 PM ET
Wave your hand slowly in front of your face.
Did your eyes track the movement? If so, your brain has formed a memory of that action; it will remember what the motion looks like in case you ever do it again.
In fact, a new study suggests that even if you wave your hand in front of your face in total darkness, your eyes may "see" it simply because they've seen it before. FULL POST
October 29th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
A mother's level of education has strong implications for a child's development. Northwestern University researchers show in a new study that low maternal education is linked to a noisier nervous system in children, which could affect their learning.
"You really can think of it as static on your radio that then will get in the way of hearing the announcer’s voice," says Nina Kraus, senior author of the study and researcher at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is part of a larger initiative working with children in public high schools in inner-city Chicago. The adolescents are tracked from ninth to 12th grade. An additional group of children in the gang-reduction zones of Los Angeles are also being tracked.
October 23rd, 2013
06:05 PM ET
As more people learn about how football's hard hits to the head can lead to brain trauma, fewer parents may be willing to let their kids out on the field. That's according to a new poll released Wednesday by HBO Real Sports and Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
One in three Americans say knowing about the damage that concussions can cause would make them less likely to allow their sons to play football, the poll found.
Keith Strudler, director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, who helped oversee the phone survey of more than 1,200 adults in July, said this could be alarming news for the future of football. "Historically, youth football has fueled the NFL," said Strudler. "Parents' concern about the safety of the game could jeopardize the future of the sport."
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.