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Why laughing is healthy
April 28th, 2014
09:57 AM ET

Why laughing is healthy

Can watching a funny cat video at work actually improve your productivity?

Maybe!

A study presented at this year's annual Experimental Biology conference finds that when people laugh, their brains are activated in the same way as when people are mindfully meditating.

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Bullies in popular culture
February 17th, 2014
03:13 PM ET

Bullying's mental health toll may last years

Victims of bullying may suffer mental and physical consequences even after bullying occurs, research shows.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that bullying is associated with poor physical and mental health among children, particularly among those who were bullied in the past and are being currently bullied.

The effects were strongest among children who were bullied continuously, in more than one grade, particularly in terms of psychological health, said lead author Laura Bogart, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital. Psychological measures included negative emotions such as anger and depression.

"We were able to show that these effects of bullying snowballed and compounded over time," Bogart said. FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
If babies are ingesting both solid foods and breast milk, the immune system can learn the food is safe, scientists say.
November 22nd, 2013
02:26 PM ET

5 studies you may have missed

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?
Journal: Pediatrics

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.

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Your thoughts: Treating PTSD with Ecstasy
Readers sounded off about the study of the effects of MDMA, the chemical name for pure Ecstasy, on those with PTSD.
December 4th, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Your thoughts: Treating PTSD with Ecstasy

CNN recently published a three-day series on the experimental use of the drug Ecstasy as part of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Readers had a lot to say in response to scientists who are studying the effects of MDMA, the chemical name for pure Ecstasy, on patients with PTSD.

Many readers said they were familiar with past research that’s been done on these drugs and questioned why they are still illegal.

Thom Burke
"I think the judicious use of many psychedelics can be very helpful in a lot of these cases. Sad how their use got derailed in the '60s because of culture wars.”

Pagan Champ
“100% agree Thom. The real problem is that politics and policy stand in the way of advancing science and medicine for chemicals that we've had at our disposal for nearly 100 years now.”

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Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky
October 31st, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky

For years, pregnant women who suffer from depression have been told it's safer for them and their unborn child to continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

Now a new study is challenging that advice, suggesting the opposite is true and advocating against most women taking these drugs. If the depression is severe, however, the benefits might outweigh the risks, so it's best to check with your psychiatrist or physician.

Experts say about 13% of women take an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy. Many drugs are called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Taking these medicines while pregnant, however, may raise safety concerns, according to a review of existing research published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction. FULL POST


Stress may harm brain - but it recovers
September 3rd, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Stress may harm brain - but it recovers

We all know stress is bad for you, but just how bad?

It would be unethical to intentionally subject people to extreme psychological duress in the name of science. But ongoing military operations offer opportunities to see what happens to people exposed to stressful situations.

Researchers in the Netherlands found the brains of soldiers who go into combat show impairment in function and structure upon returning, but that these effects largely go away over time.

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August 13th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

What is bipolar II disorder?

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. made headlines last month when he was said to be undergoing treatment for a mood disorder. Now, doctors have specified his condition: Bipolar II disorder.

This mental illness "is a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors," the Mayo Clinic said in a statement Monday.

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones also has been treated for bipolar II.

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Treatment guidelines for Gender Identity Disorder in development
July 5th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

Treatment guidelines for Gender Identity Disorder in development

In recent years, stories about transgender people have been front page news. The transformation of Chaz Bono, son of singers Sonny and Cher, from female to male is perhaps the most well known.

"In puberty, I felt like my body was betraying me," Bono said in an interview.  Now the nation’s top psychiatrists are beginning to talk about developing treatment guidelines for transgender people.

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Filed under: Psychology • Sex

It's true - you can practice in your sleep
June 26th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

It's true - you can practice in your sleep

Northwestern University researchers are validating procrasti-nappers everywhere – they say a 90-minute nap can actually help in learning a new skill.

At least when that skill is remembering a musical tune.

Participants in the study, published June 26 in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, learned two different musical sequences on a computer screen while watching moving circles that went along with them, similar to video games such as Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution.

After practicing for 25 minutes, the participants took a 90-minute nap. The researchers monitored the participants’ brain activity, and when they entered the “slow wave sleep stage” - a period of deep sleep with occasional intervening periods of REM sleep - the psychologists played one of the two sequences quietly.
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Filed under: Brain • Psychology • Sleep

June 11th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

What is histrionic personality disorder?

The trial of  Jerry Sandusky has begun. Prosecutors accuse the former Penn State assistant football coach of abusing at least 10 boys, allegations that have become widely known.

What may be less familiar is a mental illness his lawyers are connecting with him: Histrionic personality disorder.  The defense attorneys say they intend to offer expert testimony from a psychologist who "will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder," according to documents.

Histrionic personality disorder is part of a class of conditions called dramatic personality disorders, which are marked by unstable emotions and distorted self-images, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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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