March 21st, 2013
04:02 PM ET
Most packaged meals and snacks marketed to toddlers have more than the recommended amount of sodium per serving, meaning children as young as one are most likely eating far too much salt early in life, according to one of several studies on sodium presented this week.
The studies were presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.
The findings were alarming to researchers since there is evidence a child's sodium intake is related to the likelihood that he or she will develop hypertension as an adult. Hypertension is a major risk factor of cardiovascular disease and the number-one killer of men and women in the United States. FULL POST
March 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET
Children raised by gay or lesbian couples benefit when their parents are allowed to marry, America’s top pediatrics group said Thursday in support of same-sex marriage.
“If a child has two living and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond by way of civil marriage, it is in the best interest of their child(ren) that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so, irrespective of their sexual orientation,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement.
Dr. Ellen Perrin, co-author of the policy statement, says marriage gives children of same-sex couples the same advantages of any married couple’s children. FULL POST
March 20th, 2013
04:09 PM ET
The number of children with autism is "significantly" higher than previously thought, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
School-aged boys were four times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis than girls, according to the new data.
The CDC released a report a year ago estimating 1 in 88 American children has a form of autism spectrum disorder - neurodevelopmental disorders that lead to impaired language, communication and social skills. The report looked at medical and educational records of all 8-year-olds living in 14 areas of the United States during 2008. FULL POST
March 20th, 2013
12:06 PM ET
There are pouches on each side of the human nose below the eyes that are called maxillary sinuses. They're involved in sinus infections, so you may already have a bias against them.
But Nathan Holton, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of orthodontics at the University of Iowa, wanted to find out why there's such variation in these structures, and how they are affected by variation in the nasal cavity. A study on the subject is published in the journal The Anatomical Record.
Holton and colleagues took computed tomography scans of 40 people. About half of them were European-Americans, and the other half were African-Americans or native South Africans. FULL POST
March 20th, 2013
07:11 AM ET
Two New York boroughs, Manhattan and the Bronx, are separated by just a few stops on the subway. Nonetheless, they are vastly different in key public health measurements.
The Bronx ranks dead last for health among all counties in New York, while Manhattan (also known as New York County) is near the top third. The rankings were based on rates of premature death and health-related quality of life. The list was recently compiled and updated for every county in every state by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.
March 19th, 2013
01:01 AM ET
Football injuries among children have increased 22% in the last decade, according to a new study. Overall, however, sports injuries among children have decreased.
The findings surprised Dr. Shital Parikh, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the study's lead author. Parikh will present his research at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting on Thursday.
When he started analyzing the numbers from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Parikh expected to find a big increase in kids’ injuries based on what he and his colleagues have seen in their practice.
Instead he found that the overall number of activity injuries for kids aged 5 to 14 decreased 11.3%. The researchers looked at data from bicycle, basketball, football, roller sports, playground equipment, baseball/softball, soccer and trampoline injuries.
March 18th, 2013
12:03 AM ET
A new survey finds even though vaccines for certain teenage illnesses are available and are found to be safe, many parents aren't having their teens inoculated. The question is why?
Researchers looked at parent questionnaires collected through a national survey called "Reasons for Not Vaccinating Adolescents: National Survey of Teens, 2008-2010." Investigators wanted to better understand why moms and dads aren't taking their older children in for recommended inoculations.
“These vaccines are safe and effective and people should really have their teens get them," says Dr. Paul Darden, lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. “Parents say pediatricians are telling them about the vaccines, yet they just don’t seem to understand why they are necessary or are skeptical about their safety." FULL POST
March 12th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
Cigarette smoking increases your heart rate, narrows the walls of your blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to your system, among other things. That’s why smoking is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, obesity is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And most smokers gain between 6 and 13 pounds in the six months after they quit, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The benefits of quitting smoking are well known. “Cigarette smoking has short- and long-term cardiovascular effects that are reversible shortly after cessation,” according to the study authors.
But the researchers wanted to know if the weight gain following smoking cessation would counteract the positive effects quitting has on your cardiovascular system.
March 11th, 2013
12:01 AM ET
Raw meat is a notorious Salmonella carrier. It can also be found on unclean kitchen counters. An investigation published this week in the journal of Pediatrics suggests we should also look for the deadly bacteria in pet frogs.
Investigators from public health agencies across the United States found that African dwarf frogs are causing a nationwide outbreak of a specific Salmonella strain in children.
A group of health professionals make up the Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Investigation Team, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently, the team has been examining the effects of African dwarf frogs on people’s health.
“Amphibians and reptiles should never be kept in homes with children less than 5 years old or with people who have immune deficiencies,” said lead author and CDC public health advisor Shauna Mettee Zarecki. This includes day care settings and nursing homes, she said.
March 4th, 2013
05:01 PM ET
Centralized record-keeping systems may help improve rates of colon cancer screening, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Group Health Cooperative, a non-profit health care and insurance system in Washington state, used electronic health records to identify and monitor almost 5,000 patients who were due for a colon cancer screening but hadn't gotten it.
One group of patients received "normal care" - reminders from their doctor during appointments. A second group received a letter in the mail encouraging them to get screened; a third group got a call from a medical assistant on top of all of that, and a fourth group got a "patient navigator" to manage the screening process.
Each additional step increased the percentage of people who got screened, from 26% in the "normal" group to 65% in the patient navigator group.
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.