Traumatic brain injury leaves snowboarder with new mountains to tackle
February 14th, 2012
08:15 AM ET

Traumatic brain injury leaves snowboarder with new mountains to tackle

Editor's Note: Each week in The Human Factor, we bring you the story of someone who has overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve a goal.  Today we introduce you to Kevin Pearce, a professional snowboarder who was considered Olympic gold medalist Shaun White's biggest competitor. Then an accident on the Eagle Superpipe in Park City, Utah, left Pearce clinging to his life.

As soon as I awoke from the coma that was a result of my severe traumatic brain injury, I knew my goal was to get back on my snowboard.

Luckily for me, my doctor had told my parents that my recovery depended on keeping my hopes and dreams alive. So, even though I’m sure they were nervous to think I would ever go snowboarding again, they supported me and allowed me to believe this might someday be possible.

For me, the idea of getting back to the mountains, to the snow, to my friends, crew and my favorite sport gave me all the direction I needed to make my recovery a reality.

But first, I had an enormous mountain to climb, and it was nothing like the mountains where I had spent the best part of my competitive snowboarding career.

Cornelius' death at 75 brings attention to suicides late in life
February 8th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Cornelius' death at 75 brings attention to suicides late in life

The death of "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius was ruled a suicide on Tuesday. His death at age 75 raises an issue often overlooked by the public: Suicide among older adults.

Cornelius died last week of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. His autopsy was conducted on Friday.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. While the perception is that suicides occur most commonly among young adults, statistics show that suicides are more likely to occur as people age.  Elderly adults - defined as those over the age of 65 - are much more likely to die by suicide than teenagers.

Paula Deen: Diabetes is not 'a death sentence'
January 17th, 2012
09:04 AM ET

Paula Deen: Diabetes is not 'a death sentence'

Paula Deen, star of the Food Network’s “Paula’s Best Dishes,” built her reputation on traditional Southern favorites such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet tea and butter - lots and lots of butter.

For years her show and articles such as “7 Things Paula Deen Fried - and Ate” sparked rumors that the cooking icon had diabetes. She was often criticized for promoting food high in fat and calories at a time when about a third of American adults are considered obese.

Now Deen is going public with a diagnosis she received three years ago during a regular checkup with her doctor: She has Type 2 diabetes.

“I’m great,” she said on NBC’s "Today' show Tuesday morning. “I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence.”

Musicians die at age 27: Coincidence or not?
December 20th, 2011
06:31 PM ET

Musicians die at age 27: Coincidence or not?

Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain are only a handful of well-known musicians who died at the age of 27.

Were these deaths at age 27 just a freaky coincidence or something more? A group of scientists decided to investigate.

The results of their study were published in the BMJ. The researchers found the deaths have nothing to do with age, but more to do with fame. After all, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is one that is often associated with unhealthy influences like booze and drugs.

Every year around Christmas time, the BMJ publishes various quirky studies, but the articles have been through the journal's peer review process. The author, Adrian Barnett, said he conducted the study and that the data had been validated during the review process.


November 17th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Lucy Lawless goes to TEDMED

You may know her as Xena from "Xena: Warrior Princess" and, more recently, Lucretia from "Spartacus," but you may not expect that Lucy Lawless would fly all the way from New Zealand to California for TEDMED, a conference about great ideas in health care.

"It's like a beauty pageant for brilliant people, where you sit in the audience and all these geniuses comes out and like, parade their incredible brilliance in front of you," said the New Zealand-born actress in Coronado, California, in October.


'Glee' star tapped to join Obama's committee
November 14th, 2011
07:21 AM ET

'Glee' star tapped to join Obama's committee

She’s known for her zippy one-lines and her unyielding loyalty to Coach Sue Sylvester on “Glee.”

Now actress Lauren Potter, 21, may have another major role.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint Potter and Julie Ann Petty, a project trainer who focuses on educating people with intellectual disabilities, as members of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. FULL POST

Steve Jobs: A difficult patient
October 25th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

Steve Jobs: A difficult patient

All those vague statements about his health that Steve Jobs put out in the last few years caused endless speculation, as the world tried to read into what could really be going on.

But now, with the biography "Steve Jobs" with Walter Isaacson, we know that behind many of those optimistic statements was a cancer that was spreading from pancreas to liver, and finally to bones and elsewhere in the body. One of the biggest surprises is that while he received state of the art medical care, he went against doctors' orders many times.

When his pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor was first discovered in October 2003, doctors said he was lucky that it had been detected so early, and it could be removed before definitely spreading. But, in Jobs' own words, "I really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work." Those "other things" included a strict vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other alternative techniques -  even consulting a psychic.


October 18th, 2011
06:45 AM ET

No proven IVF-cancer link, doctors say

E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic's efforts to conceive have been the main theme of her reality show "Giuliana and Bill." On Monday she revealed she has to postpone her next round of IVF after her new fertility expert insisted she get screened for breast cancer, even though she is only 36 years old.

Rancic said, on the Today Show,  that her doctor told her "I don't care if you're 26, 36. I won't get you pregnant if there is a small risk you have cancer. If you get pregnant it can accelerate the cancer. The hormones accelerate the cancer."

Her doctor may have been taking the step as a precaution.

"There’s no evidence for a link between breast cancer and infertility treatment," says Dr. Eric Widra, who chairs the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. A 2005 study looked at a possibility but the study authors concluded a link to breast or ovarian cancer had not been found.


September 27th, 2011
05:06 PM ET

Some patients question propofol, doctor says

With the opening of the trial for Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray, we'll be hearing the word "propofol" a lot again.

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled that the pop superstar died on June 25, 2009 from "acute propofol intoxication." The anesthetic was among the drugs found in Jackson's body at the time of his death, according to the autopsy toxicology report.


Dr. Drew on 'Octomom':  Going beyond the caricature
July 28th, 2011
05:39 PM ET

Dr. Drew on 'Octomom': Going beyond the caricature

Editor's note: Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified internist, regularly interviews people in the spotlight to learn more about their emotional lives. Nadya Suleman will be Dr. Drew’s guest on a special edition of "Dr. Drew" on HLN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

Nadya Suleman - we gawked, we gasped, we rolled our eyes. Ultimately, we turned her into a cartoon character, giving her the moniker "Octomom" - not altogether unreasonable, considering her bizarre behavior:

To us, it looked like the reckless decision of a madwoman - giving birth to eight children on top of the six she already had. Raising just one child is a world of responsibility - raising multiples, even more so (I know from experience – I have triplets), but 14?

We asked, how could she dive headlong into such a huge commitment, alone.


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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.