July 4th, 2014
11:14 AM ET
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.
Motörhead is one of the most hardcore rock ’n’ roll acts on Earth
That Motörhead has the reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth may not surprise you. But finding evidence to support this claim in one of the major medical journals might.
June 26th, 2014
08:04 AM ET
When people want to learn more about a new drug warning, they turn to the internet - that’s no surprise. But is the information they find there accurate and up-to-date? Not always, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.
“Despite debates over its credibility, Wikipedia is reportedly the most frequently consulted online health care resource globally,” the authors write. “Wikipedia pages typically appear among the top few Google search results and are among the references most likely to be checked by internet users.”
Wikipedia, along with Google and WebMD, is where more than half of all Americans turn to for health information, according to the report.
Researchers found that when the FDA issues a drug safety warning, Google searches about that drug increase 82% on average in the following week. Wikipedia pages about the drug see a 175% increase in views on the day of the announcement.
June 17th, 2014
10:49 AM ET
If you’re spending a lot of time sitting every day, either in front of the TV or at work, you may be at higher risk for developing certain types of cancer, according to new research published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study found an additional two hours a day of sedentary behavior was linked to an 8% increase in colon cancer risk, a 10% increase in endometrial cancer risk and a 6% increase in risk for lung cancer. It did not find the same connection for breast, rectum, ovary and prostate cancers or for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Researchers came to these conclusions by analyzing 43 existing studies – that included more than 4 million study participants and 68,936 cancer cases – to measure the relationship between hours spent sitting and certain types of cancers.
June 3rd, 2014
01:01 PM ET
Approximately 20 million people fall ill every year due to norovirus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the food service industry could do much to decrease that number.
Restaurants and catering services are the most common sources for norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the report. "Infected food workers are frequently the source of these outbreaks, often by touching ready-to-eat foods served in restaurants with their bare hands," CDC experts wrote.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis - often called a stomach bug - in the United States, according to the CDC. Symptoms generally include stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Norovirus particles spread whenever an infected person vomits or defecates. Because swallowing just 18 norovirus particles can sicken a new host, the virus spreads easily, especially when the infected patient is preparing food for a lot of people.
Norovirus is also hardy: It can live for up to two weeks on countertops, survive freezing temperatures, and is resistant to many disinfectants and hand sanitizer.
May 20th, 2014
09:31 AM ET
Ever sit on a plane and wonder how long the germs left by passengers past plan on hanging around?
A new study examined how long two potentially deadly bacteria – E. coli and MRSA – can live on various surfaces inside an airplane’s cabin, and how easily they are transmitted by contact.
Researchers at Auburn University used actual armrests, toilet flush handles, tray tables, window shades, seats and seat pockets provided by Delta Airlines for the study – inoculating them with bacteria and storing them in conditions meant to simulate a pressurized cabin: 75 degrees Fahrenheit at 20% humidity.
In general, bacteria lived longest on the most porous surfaces. For example, MRSA lasted seven days on the cloth seat pocket, six days on the rubber armrest and leather seat, five days on the plastic window shade and tray table, and four days on the steel toilet handle.
April 30th, 2014
03:34 PM ET
The drumbeats about the dangers of antibiotic resistance just got louder. The World Health Organization says antimicrobial resistance – which includes drug-resistant bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites – is seen in every region of the world.
"The picture is consistent," says Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security at the WHO. "The capacity to treat serious infections is becoming less all over the world. ... This is something which is occurring in all countries of the world."
Antimicrobial drugs are one of the foundations of modern health care – something we all hope to rely on when we get sick with ailments including pneumonia, urinary tract or blood infections, diarrhea or sexually transmitted diseases, Fukuda says. These infections occur worldwide on a daily basis.
But because of overuse or misuse or improper use of existing treatments, the ability to fight these infections is getting harder and harder, he says. FULL POST
April 22nd, 2014
11:18 AM ET
February 3rd, 2014
04:01 PM ET
In recent years, sugar - more so than fat - has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.
Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should. Let's be honest, it's hard not to.
The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought. It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity. Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
January 22nd, 2014
12:01 PM ET
You may want to program the thermostat in your office down a couple of degrees today, despite the more-than-chilly temperatures outside. A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests doing so could help you lose weight.
Regular exposure to mildly cold temperatures help people burn more calories, according to the paper's authors, who have been studying this phenomenon for more than a decade.
"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90% of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," lead author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said. "What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature?" FULL POST
January 7th, 2014
04:27 PM ET
Fifty years ago, Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry made a bombshell announcement: "The strongest relationship between cigarette smoking and health is in the field of lung cancer. There is a very strong relationship, and probably a causal relationship, between heart disease and cigarette smoking."
It was the first time a surgeon general said that smokers had a 70% greater chance of death and that heavy smokers were 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers.
The landmark report launched one of the biggest public health campaigns in U.S. history, including warning labels on cigarettes, cigarette advertising banned on TV and radio, graphic public service announcements, and anti-smoking laws.
Now a new study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association - which has devoted its entire issue to tobacco and smoking - estimates that tobacco control efforts since the first Surgeon General's report have added 20 years of life for 8 million Americans. Without tobacco control, half of those Americans would have died before the age of 65.
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.