July 31st, 2013
04:08 PM ET
There is no single test to determine if someone has dementia. The harsh reality is that at this point, it can only be conclusively diagnosed during an autopsy.
So for now doctors rely on physical exams, lab work and cognitive indicators to diagnose dementia with a high degree of certainty while a patient is still alive.
Anemia may be one sign someone has an increased risk of developing dementia, according to a new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“I’ve been studying Alzheimer’s for a long time,” says study author Dr. Kristine Yaffe, of the University of California – San Francisco. “In particular, I’m interested in things you can modify: cardiovascular disease, sleep, physical activity. We’ve done a number of studies looking at how different chronic diseases of the body effect aging. We started looking into the issue of anemia... after seeing rudimentary studies that linked it to dementia.”
January 29th, 2013
10:18 AM ET
The halls of every middle school in America are filled with teenagers looking to find themselves, express themselves and fit in with the crowd. But it’s what happens at home, at night, that can lead to some of the problems those teens may put on display.
Seventh-graders who are exposed to alcohol ads on television –- and who say they like the ads - may experience more severe problems related to drinking alcohol later in their adolescence, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics.
December 31st, 2012
04:05 PM ET
It's not the color, but what's inside that counts when it comes to medication. However, doctors suspect that's not exactly how patients see it.
According to a study published Monday in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine, changes in pill color significantly increase the odds that a patient will fail to take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.
First, the basics
Generic drugs are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs. These off-brand alternatives must be “bioequivalent” to the brand-name version, meaning they must be identical in terms of dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality, intended use, and clinical efficacy. But the FDA does not require that the two versions look alike. FULL POST
December 18th, 2012
05:15 PM ET
It’s a story we’ve been reporting on for more than a decade: The health of the brave, heroic responders who breathed in the dust, debris and fumes at the World Trade Center site in the hours, days and years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Today’s headline: Rescue and recovery workers exposed to the dust, debris and fumes have already exhibited an increased incidence of prostate and thyroid cancers, plus multiple myeloma, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. No increased incidence was observed among those not involved with rescue/recovery. Twenty-three types of cancer were investigated. This is the first WTC incidence study to include both sexes, all ages and races, and both rescue/recovery workers, as well as those not involved in rescue/recovery.
The observational study, conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, looked at nearly 56,000 New York state residents enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry in 2003-2004, who were tracked from enrollment through December 2008.
November 28th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
That cigarette may be doing more damage than meets the eye. If you’ve been smoking for an extended period of time, you’re likely familiar with at least some – if not all – of the bodily symptoms associated with smoking, including but certainly not limited to: Cravings, coughing, shortness of breath and changes to teeth, hair and skin. Coronary heart disease and/or lung cancer might not be far behind.
But a new study published in the journal Age & Ageing concludes that smoking can damage your mind, too. A consistent association was observed between smoking and lower cognitive functioning, including memory.
The bottom line: Smoking and long-term high blood pressure appear to increase the risk of cognitive decline. FULL POST
August 6th, 2012
08:48 AM ET
Any parent with a child old enough to speak has no doubt endured many sleepless nights as the result of bad dreams. Sometimes there’s a monster hiding in the closet. Other times there are bugs crawling underneath the bed, or a witch lurking in the hallway.
Countless observational studies have reported an association between media and sleep problems in children. But a new study published Monday in the American Academy of Pediatrics now purports a causal relationship between violent or inappropriate media and poor sleep.
The study’s authors analyzed more than 500 children aged 3 to 5, their media viewing habits and their quality of sleep. The results show that replacing violent content with age-appropriate and educational alternatives can indeed lead to improved down time.
April 17th, 2012
05:43 AM ET
Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to Noah “40” Shebib, a music producer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 20s.
Q: What was it like to receive that diagnosis as such a young man?
A: It started with sensory issues. I woke up one day and all the temperature in my body was distorted. My sense of hot and cold and what that meant to my brain was very confusing. Any time something like that happens to your body - which is very difficult to explain when you have MS - is that your brain is tricked, so your nerves are telling you something that's not true. Any time your brain is telling you something that's not true, there's a little bit of trauma for your body in general to understand what's going on, so you're a little bit in shock.
I went to the hospital very quickly after that and was diagnosed within a couple of weeks. It continued to escalate to a much worse place in a month, and I spent the next two years of my life getting back on my feet.
March 12th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
They don't call it "The Big C" for nothing. People don't even like to say the word out loud.
The good news, we're told, is that there are many things we can do – or not do – in our adult lives to lower our risk of developing different types of cancer. Want to avoid lung cancer? Don't smoke. Want to lower your risk of skin cancer? Stay out of the sun, or utilize a proper sunscreen.
But a new study published Monday in Cancer suggests that at least one decision our parents make FOR us may have an impact on our predisposition to certain types of cancer.
February 27th, 2012
06:30 PM ET
Most of us put a good deal of thought into the food we put in our bodies. But do we ever consider the food in our medicine?
That's right, the food in our medicine.
While television and print ads alike are loaded with messages about potential serious side effects, prescription drug disclaimers are issued to warn against possible unintended consequences resulting from a drug’s active ingredient(s).
But what you may not know is that the bulk of your prescription pill is made up of inactive ingredients, known as “excipients," and that your drugs couldn’t be made without them. Quite simply, excipients are what encapsulates your capsule or forms your pill into a solid as opposed to a powder.
Here’s the rub: One of the most common excipients used is gelatin, which is almost universally of animal origin. This presents a problem, as you might imagine, to those living within religious or dietary restrictions.
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.