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Medical marijuana may ease some MS symptoms
March 24th, 2014
04:02 PM ET

Medical marijuana may ease some MS symptoms

Medical marijuana might be the most effective complementary or alternative medicine to provide relief of symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) released Monday.

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are nontraditional therapies often used in addition to (and sometimes instead of) doctor recommended treatments.

The guidelines are based on recommendations made by a panel of nine physicians chosen by the AAN who are experts in the field of CAM. They identified and reviewed 291 studies and literature from the last 43 years. Of those, 115 made the cut; most were short, lasting between six and 15 weeks.

"This is the first-ever review, evidence-based recommendation, on the treatment of MS with CAM therapies," says Dr. Vijayshree Yadav, lead author and clinical director of Oregon Health and Science University's Multiple Sclerosis Center. "There were 29 different therapies included in the guidelines. Nineteen studies looked at cannabis." FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
Go ahead, buy that sports car. Research shows mid-life crises are real.
March 21st, 2014
07:19 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. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.

Probiotics can help preschoolers
Journal: Pediatrics

You've probably heard that taking probiotics - live bacteria commonly found in your gut - can help boost your digestive health. Now scientists have shown that probiotics may help young children as well.

Researchers enrolled more than 300 children at day care centers in Mexico in a double-blind study. Half of the kids received a daily dose of probiotics; the other half received a daily placebo.

They found that the probiotics significantly reduced the number of times - and the duration of - the kids' diarrhea episodes. The live bacteria also helped prevent respiratory tract infections.

Read more from Medscape.com

Mid-life crises DO exist
Published by The Institute for the Study of Labor

Social economists say the life cycle of human happiness is U-shaped. We're really happy when we're young, and happy again when we're old. That low point in the middle? We call it a mid-life crisis.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia tracked the happiness levels of thousands of people in Australia, Britain and Germany over multiple decades. They found people in all three countries were unhappiest between the ages of 40 and 42.

So go ahead and buy yourself that sports car - science has proven you need it.

Genes matter when eating fried food
British Medical Journal

While fried pickles and French fries aren't healthy for anyone, some people are more likely to gain weight while eating them than others.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School say study participants who ate fried food at least four times a week weighed more, on average, than those who didn't. No duh, right? Well the people who ate fried food and carried 10 known obesity risk genes were two points heavier on the BMI scale than those without the risky genes.

While the difference seems small, those two points could move you from the "normal weight BMI category to the "overweight" category.

Bottom line? Genetics matter. But what you eat matters more.

Read more on NPR.org

You should be able to hear me now
Journal: Ear and Hearing

"What?" If you find yourself repeating this word a lot in conversation, listen closely. A study done in the United Kingdom found only one-fifth of people with hearing problems use hearing aids.

The study authors analyzed data from 160,000 people in the UK aged 40 to 69 years. It found 10% of middle-aged adults had trouble hearing speech in the presence of background noise, but just 2% used a hearing aid.

"There still seems to be a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid, where as there is little stigma now associated with vision loss and wearing spectacles," Kevin Munro, an audiology professor at The University of Manchester, said in a statement. That might be because eye care involves lifestyle choices and is available without the need to see a doctor, he said.

Delivering your baby underwater isn't OK
New recommendations from AAP and ACOG

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are warning mothers to stay away from water births.

The professional organizations say undergoing the first few stages of labor in a birthing pool may offer advantages, such as decreased pain and shorter labor time. But delivering the baby underwater has no proven benefit to the mother or the baby, the organizations say, and can pose serious - sometimes fatal - health risks.

It's not known how many women in the United States choose a water birth. Complications can include infection, difficulty controlling the baby's body temperature, a greater risk of umbilical cord damage and/or breathing problems.

Read more from U.S. News & World Report


Studies question fatty acids' heart benefits
March 17th, 2014
05:00 PM ET

Studies question fatty acids' heart benefits

Many health organizations, including the American Heart Association, recommend eating polyunsaturated fatty acids – particularly those called omega-3s and omega-6s – for heart health.  But new research once again casts doubt on whether these fatty acids have any effect on reducing your risk of heart disease.

A meta-analysis published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine did not find significant evidence to support eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fats. It didn't seem to matter whether the fats came from dietary sources or supplements.

"Current evidence does not clearly support guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats," the study authors concluded.

And a second study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that supplementing a diet with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids did not reduce study participants' heart disease risk.
FULL POST


Colon cancer rates down since 1980s
March 17th, 2014
12:01 AM ET

Colon cancer rates down since 1980s

Colon cancer, which was once the most common cause of cancer death in America, has been on a steady decline for decades, according to a new study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

In 1985, there were an estimated 66.3 cases of colon cancer for every 100,000 adults in the United States. By 2010 that rate had fallen to 40.6 cases for every 100,000 adults. Deaths dropped during the same time period as well - from 28.5 to 15.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

"Incidence is declining primarily because of screening and finding polyps, which are precancerous lesions that can be removed," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. "We find these precancerous lesions, remove them and 'voilà!' the patient doesn't get cancer."
FULL POST


5 studies you may have missed
March 14th, 2014
11:50 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.

Blood test may diagnose sports injuries to the brain
Journal: JAMA Neurology

Sports concussions have received a lot of attention recently, as evidence mounts that repetitive injuries to the brain can have damaging long-term consequences. But the science of sports-related head injuries, including how to measure recovery and decide when it's OK for a patient to play again, needs work.

This study proposes using blood biomarkers to diagnose sports-related concussions. To study the phenomenon, researchers used 280 players from 12 teams in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional ice hockey league in Sweden.

Researchers say a blood test measuring a protein called tau could help determine the severity of a concussion, whether there could be long-term consequences and when a patient can return to play. The test could evaluate severity just one hour after injury, they said.

"Concussions are a growing international problem," lead study author Henrik Zetterberg of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg told Reuters Health. "The stakes for the individual athlete are high, and the list of players forced to quit with life-long injury is getting ever longer."

Read more from Reuters Health

FULL POST


Blood pressure in gray area? You're still facing stroke risk
March 12th, 2014
04:02 PM ET

Blood pressure in gray area? You're still facing stroke risk

Nearly one-third of Americans have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When it’s not under control, it can lead to heart damage, stroke and even death.

Now new research suggests anyone with blood pressure even slightly higher than the optimal 120/80 may be more likely to have a stroke –including those patients who are diagnosed as pre-hypertensive.

The research, which is published in the Wednesday online issue of Neurology, looked at 19 studies done on the risk of developing stroke in people with "pre-hypertension," or blood pressure that falls in the gray area, between 120/80 and 140/90. More than 760,000 participants were followed for time periods ranging from four to 36 years.

The analysis found people who were pre-hypertensive were 66% more likely to develop a stroke than people who had normal blood pressure. The results were the same even when investigators adjusted for other stroke risk factors, such as diabetes and smoking.

FULL POST


Grown-ups: Put down the smartphones at mealtime
March 10th, 2014
04:08 PM ET

Grown-ups: Put down the smartphones at mealtime

You’ve seen it before: Parents using cell phones while their children vie for their attention. Now a new study suggests these behaviors can be seen often at mealtime - an important time for child-caregiver interactions.

In the new study, published Monday in Pediatrics, researchers not only observed these behaviors, but extensively recorded and described aspects of caregiver cell phone use.

Researchers observed 55 caregivers with young children at fast-food restaurants in the metropolitan Boston area. Out of the 55 observed, 40 caregivers (73%) used devices at some point during the meal. Nearly 30% used the device almost continuously throughout the meal, only briefly putting it down. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Cancer

Test may some day predict 5-year risk of death
March 10th, 2014
12:19 PM ET

Test may some day predict 5-year risk of death

Will you be alive five years from now? New research suggests it might be possible to predict if you’ll die from a medical condition in the next half-decade.

How, you ask? With a simple blood test.

According to a recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, if your blood registers high levels of four “biomarkers,” biological molecules found in your blood, body fluids, or tissues, you are at a substantially higher risk of dying in the next five years. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Conditions • Living Well

5 studies you may have missed
A team of researchers has developed an intravaginal ring designed to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy.
March 7th, 2014
07:27 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. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.

Don't diss canned vegetables
American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed more than 40 scientific journal studies to see if canned fruits and vegetables provide the same nutritional benefits as fresh and frozen produce. Cans are often cheaper than fresh or frozen products, and therefore easier for low-income families to buy.
FULL POST


Drug-resistant bacteria
March 5th, 2014
11:02 AM ET

CDC: Hospitals contributing to rise of superbugs

Health officials have long been warning us about the overuse of antibiotics and the rise of drug-resistant "superbugs." Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is shining a light on how hospitals are contributing to the problem.

"Prescribing (antibiotics) varies widely among hospitals," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, an infectious disease expert, said in a press conference Tuesday. "Practices that are not optimal are putting patients at unnecessary risk of future drug-resistant infections, allergic reactions and intestinal infections that can be deadly."
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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