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June 13th, 2014
12:01 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.

Keep your phone out of your pocket – your sperm will thank you
Journal: Environmental International

Since guys don’t usually carry handbags, they tend to keep mobile phones in their pants pockets. A recent study from the University of Exeter suggests this may not be a great idea.

That cell phone could actually have a negative effect on your sperm quality.
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Filed under: Aging • Brain • Cell Phones • Conditions • Dental health • Diet and Fitness • Fertility • Heart • Living Well • Men's Health • Mental Health

Why your back, feet hurt: blame evolution
February 20th, 2013
03:39 PM ET

Why your back, feet hurt: blame evolution

The fact that many people's backs and feet hurt is news that's millions of years old.

It's because of the way we have evolved, uniquely from other mammals, that we also have a lot of aches and pains that our close relatives do not experience, anthropologists said last weekend at a briefing at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

"We’ve known for a long time, since Darwin’s time, that humans have evolved, and that humans are not perfect, because evolution doesn’t produce perfection," said Jeremy DeSilva, anthropologist at Boston University.

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Dental fillings linked to kids' behavior problems
July 16th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Dental fillings linked to kids' behavior problems

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the U.S. for kids. In fact, more than half of elementary school students will have cavities by the time they're in second grade, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

Since the 1970s, dentists have been using tooth-colored fillings that contain derivatives of the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA), in favor of the metal amalgam fillings.

Now a new analysis on dental fillings in children suggests these non-metal fillings may contribute to behavioral problems.  The study authors caution that their results only point to an association; they say their analysis does not prove that BPA causes any behavior changes.
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Gum disease doesn't lead to heart attack or stroke
April 19th, 2012
07:23 PM ET

Gum disease doesn't lead to heart attack or stroke

Despite what doctors have been telling patients for the past few years, having gum disease does not make us more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Treating gum disease does not appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease either.

Cardiologists, dentists, and infectious disease specialists reviewed more than 500 studies addressing the connection between the two diseases. The results were published Wednesday in a statement by the AHA.

The connection was made years ago when experts noticed that people with gum disease tended to have more heart attacks or strokes than people in better dental health. The thinking was that the bacteria causing the infection in the gums got into the blood stream and traveled to the fatty plaques in blood vessels where they attached and helped form blood clots which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
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Brain tumors linked to dental X-rays
April 10th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Brain tumors linked to dental X-rays

A study published this week in the journal Cancer shows that people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma than those who have not.

This does not prove that dental X-rays cause tumors. But it supports previous research about the connection. Dental X-rays have also been implicated in thyroid cancer. But there's still significant doubt about the existence of any direct relationship between meningioma and dental X-rays, and dental professionals were quick to call for more research, saying the study was less than perfect.

"It’s a cautionary tale ... we do know that radiation can cause tumors, and we have to be judicious with its use," said Dr. Donald O’Rourke, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the study.

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Should dentists offer health screenings?
December 15th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Should dentists offer health screenings?

Each year, nearly 20 million men, women and children in the United States fail to see a family physician or similar health care professional, but they do pay at least one visit to the dentist, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

For this segment of the population, dentists may be the only doctors in a position to spot the warning signs of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and provide referrals or advice to prevent serious complications, says Shiela M. Strauss, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor at New York University's Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing.

Oral or dental abnormalities can signal a broad range of body-wide health problems, including HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders, and substance abuse, in addition to diabetes. In a previous study, for instance, Strauss and her colleagues found that 93% of patients with gum disease (such as gingivitis) also met the criteria that should trigger blood-sugar screening under American Diabetes Association guidelines.
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Filed under: Dental health • Health.com

Teeth-grinding could signal sleep problems
December 6th, 2011
07:53 AM ET

Teeth-grinding could signal sleep problems

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

Zach was a life-long teeth grinder.

“It seemed that as soon as his teeth came in, he started grinding," his mother told me.

It was so loud and frequent that Zach was given his own room because his little brother couldn't get any sleep when they shared. For years he had slept at the end of the hall far from his parents’ and his brother’s room, so one suspected that the grinding was getting worse.

When a dentist noticed a progressive worsening of wear on his patient's teeth, he discussed his concerns about a possible underlying sleep disorder with both Zach and his mother. They then came to me.
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October 31st, 2011
01:17 PM ET

4 tips for a healthy trick-or-treat night

Happy Halloween, everyone! For parents, this holiday may seem especially spooky when it comes to kids' teeth and weight. But here are some tips to keep your little treat-or-treaters in good health:

1. Chocolate is the best option for kids' teeth. It melts quickly, it's swallowed easily, and it contains tannins, compounds that don't allow bacteria to grow. And, at least it has some nutritional value. The worst options are candies that are very hard or chewy. The longer it takes to eat a candy, the more opportunity there is for sugar to coat teeth. Kids with braces should especially avoid candies that are hard and crunch, or soft and chewy.

Sanjay wants candy

2. Twice a day, and particularly at night, your child should get into this teeth cleaning routine: (a) floss, (b) brush, (c) use a fluoride rinse. That's because flossing loosens debris from in between teeth, and the toothbrush gets the excess on the surface. The rinse gets back in the crevices and fights decay.

3. Don't let kids snack on candy in between meals. Instead, bundle it together with healthy meals - for example, at the end of dinner. This prevents kids from eating too much at once.

4. When it comes to monitoring your children's eating habits, Halloween isn't that special. You should make sure they have nutritious, balanced meals and stay active throughout the year.


March 21st, 2011
09:54 AM ET

Do dentists still give antibiotics before cleaning teeth?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Janet, Leeds

I have a heart murmur and until recently my dentist said I needed antibiotics when I had my teeth cleaned. When did this recommendation change?

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February 21st, 2011
08:39 AM ET

What are those white lumps in my tonsils?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Christy, Iowa

I sometimes get little white lumps in my tonsils. What's the best way to get them out? 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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