Cost of treating heart disease projected to triple
January 24th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

Cost of treating heart disease projected to triple

The cost of treating heart disease is projected to triple by 2030, according to a new study from the American Heart Association.

Researchers predict the cost of medical care for heart disease will rise from $273 billion to $818 billion between 2010 and 2030. "The fact that it would go up threefold over the course of 20 years was unexpected," says lead study author Dr. Paul Heidenreich. "We can take steps to reduce it, if we take steps to prevent cardiovascular disease."

The American Heart Association estimates more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.


Walking speed may predict survival in seniors
January 4th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Walking speed may predict survival in seniors

Walking is probably an activity you take for granted, but scientists say it could have something to say about the survival of older people.

A large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that walking speed may be a good predictor of the life expectancy of senior citizens. Slowing down, it seems, may actually mean the end is nearer.


November 29th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Aging partially reversed in mice. Are humans next?

Could mice in a Boston laboratory hold the key to people living longer? Scientists think it's possible. Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say for the first time, they have partially reversed the aging process in mice. In these mice, brain disease was reversed, the sense of smell was restored; the mice even got their fertility back. The study appears in the journal Nature.

“What we have learned is that there’s a point of return for even aged tissues,” said Dr. Ronald DePinho, director of Dana-Farber’s Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science and professor of medicine and genetics at Harvard Medical School.

But before you head to Boston to see if you can get in on the action, there are a few things worth noting. First, these weren't your typical mice. For the experiment, scientists tweaked the telomerase gene in mice, which maintains the protective caps called telomeres that shield the end of chromosomes. As we age, that tip degenerates, opening the door for all kinds of hallmarks of aging, such as gray hair, organ degeneration, cognitive decline and infertility.


Who's sicker: Older Americans or English?
November 4th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Who's sicker: Older Americans or English?

If you're 65 or older, you're more likely to be healthier in England than in America. The catch: in the United States, you're more likely to live longer, a new study finds.

Chronic diseases are more common in Americans than English aged 55 to 64, a study in the journal Demography found, and in this age group American and English have about the same death rate. At the same time, Americans 65 and older don't die as fast as the same age group in England, the study authors found.


September 1st, 2010
05:34 PM ET

Cancer drug may offer clue to Alzheimer's cure

Treatments modeled on the blockbuster cancer drug Gleevec may be the key to finding a cure for Alzheimer's, suggest new data reported in the journal Nature.

Scientists theorize that a protein that accumulates in the brain, called beta-amyloid, develops plaque that weakens certain nerve cells, causing them to die. This creates the breakdown of cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. The key for scientists is to find a way to eliminate this plaque. Although there are drugs on the market that work at ridding the brain of beta-amyloid, the treatments can also destroy healthy brain cells in the process.

So how do you create this delicate balance? New research from the laboratory of Nobel Prize-winner Paul Greengard, suggests that treatments modeled on Gleevec, a drug used in leukemia and gastrointestinal cancers, could be the solution. It turns out that when scientists modified Gleevec, it had the ability to bind to a protein that triggers the production of beta-amyloid plaques.


July 27th, 2010
05:05 PM ET

Social relationships key to survival, study says

Having satisfying social relationships may be about as important as not smoking when it comes to your lifespan, a new study suggests.

It turns out that people with adequate social relationships have a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival than people who have poor or insufficient relationships. That means that having good relationships is comparable to quitting smoking in terms of survival benefit, and is a stronger factor than obesity and physical activity.


July 27th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

'No scientific basis' seen for at-home DNA tests

If you've considered purchasing one of the many products allowing you to perform at-home, personalized genetics tests, a new government report says, don't waste your money.

According to an undercover investigation conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, consumers may fall victim to deceptive marketing and should be wary of products claiming to create personalized supplements, cure disease, and repair damaged DNA. "There is no scientific basis for such claims," the report says.

“It's about time," says bioethicist, Art Caplan, an expert in the field. He says the research just hasn’t supported the use of the tests, and that the biggest surprise is how long it took the government to address what he calls "highly advertised genetic scamming."


July 22nd, 2010
04:38 PM ET

Sitting, even after workout, can cut lifespan

A new study debunks the theory that an hour of exercise a day is all you need to live a long life. Turns out, people who spend more time sitting during their leisure time have an increased risk of death, regardless of daily exercise.

American Cancer Society researchers tracked the activity levels and death rates in more than 123,000 healthy men and women for 13 years. They found women who spend over six hours a day sitting during leisure time (watching TV, playing games, surfing the web, reading) were 40 percent more likely to die sooner than women who spend less than three hours sitting. Men who spend more time sitting have a 20 percent increased risk of death. Essentially, those who sit less, live a longer life than those who don't.


July 9th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Longevity study may have flaws

Last week CNN reported that scientists had identified 150 genes involved in living a very long life, and that researchers could predict with 77 predict accuracy who could live to 100.

But now some experts are saying that the researchers used a flawed DNA chip to get their results. Newsweek reports that this flaw could be addressed with follow-up research, using a different chip, but that the study authors should have done that before publication.


July 7th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Remembering the 'father of geriatrics'

Dr. Robert Butler, regarded as “the father of geriatrics,” died Sunday at age 83. He had leukemia.

His accomplishments included serving as the first director of the National Institute on Aging, where he shaped the aging policy in the United States. His most recent book is "The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life."


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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.