January 23rd, 2013
01:00 PM ET
Drama surrounding research on the deadly H5N1 avian flu continues, as 40 scientists urge work on the virus to continue in countries that have established guidelines on the safety and aims of the research. The United States is not among them.
"We declared a pause to this important research to provide time to explain the public-health benefits of this work, to describe the measures in place to minimize possible risks, and to enable organizations and governments around the world to review their policies (for example on biosafety, biosecurity, oversight, and communication) regarding these experiments," the letter states.
January 8th, 2013
05:01 PM ET
Neuroscientists have been discovering mounting evidence that being fluent in more than one language protects against age-related cognitive declines. But there's still the major question: Why?
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to get a closer look at the brains of both bilinguals and monolinguals, comparing how their activity differs during specific tasks. This new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, expands upon previous ideas that bilinguals tend to show superior task-switching abilities compared to monolinguals. The study was led by Brian Gold of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. FULL POST
January 3rd, 2013
05:01 PM ET
Scientists can't really know what a child is thinking, but they are interested in the brain processes that happen in educational settings. To that end, a new study in PLOS Biology compares the brains of children and adults, using "Sesame Street" as a way to test what happens on a neurological level during a popular TV program aimed at learning.
"We’re kind of honing in on what brain regions are important for real-world mathematics learning in children," said lead study author Jessica Cantlon, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.
December 24th, 2012
06:53 AM ET
Ho ho ho, here's some Christmas-themed science!
The British Medical Journal's Christmas issue this month features a study about reindeer that treats a fantastical idea with some medical reality. The result is a lesson in how reindeer noses compare to the noses of humans and what purpose their underlying structures serve.
Can Ince, a professor who works in intensive care medicine at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, studies microcirculation, or how the smallest blood vessels in the body receive blood. Red blood cells go to these vessels to relieve themselves of oxygen, delivering it to the tissues that need it.
November 29th, 2012
02:02 PM ET
It goes without saying that the human brain is complex, and would be hard to build from scratch. But researchers are looking to simulate how the brain works so that more human-like artificial intelligence can be created and we can better understand damage to our own brains.
Chris Eliasmith of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, led research published in the journal Science on a brain model called SPAUN - the Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network.
SPAUN lives inside a computer, can view images with a camera-like eye and can draw responses to questions. For example, show it the number "4" and it will write its own "4." It can even mimic the style of the numeral.
November 21st, 2012
05:01 PM ET
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is often associated with the wandering minds and erratic behavior of schoolchildren, but it can have serious consequences for adults as well. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that people with ADHD who are on medications for the condition are less likely to commit crimes.
"We found the same pattern regardless of which type of crime," said Paul Lichtenstein of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, lead author of the study.
ADHD is associated with conduct problems in children and adults, the study said. People with ADHD commonly stop taking their prescribed medications, particularly adolescents and young adults, according to the study.
ADHD medications control patients' symptoms of impulsiveness, irritability and restlessness. By helping tame impulsive urges, the drugs may be also preventing patients from engaging in illegal acts including violent behaviors, Lichtenstein said. FULL POST
November 15th, 2012
12:01 PM ET
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that significant strides have been made in enacting anti-smoking laws across the United States, but still areas of the country remain that are largely lacking in protective measures against second-hand smoke.
Back in 2000, only one of America's 50 largest cities had laws that prevented people from smoking in bars, restaurants and private workplaces. In 2012, 30 of them were covered by anti-smoking laws, representing a 60% increase.
Also in 2000, there were no states with statewide anti-smoking policies of this nature. By 2010, there were 26 states.
November 14th, 2012
06:02 PM ET
While breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among American women, the number of patients dying from the disease continues to decline. That's the good news; the bad news is that those statistics do not look so good for African-American women.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that large gaps between black and white women in terms of mortality and stage of diagnosis continue to persist.
Black women still have a disproportionately higher breast cancer death rate - 41% higher than white women. This finding is based on 2005 to 2009 data, showing that even though African-American women have a lower incidence of breast cancer, they are more likely to die of this disease than women in any other racial or ethnic group. FULL POST
November 13th, 2012
12:21 PM ET
Climate change, we've all heard, is problematic. Major shifts in climate patterns in the future may affect the spread of disease, devastate coastal areas and cause the extinction of some of our beloved species of wildlife. It may even contribute to future violence.
But if Superstorm Sandy didn't bring climate change concerns home for you, here's something else that might: Allergy mayhem.
New research presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) conference last week suggests that pollen counts are going to get a lot worse in the next 30 years. Dr. Leonard Bielory showed predictions that pollen counts will more than double by 2040.
October 31st, 2012
05:01 PM ET
You're at a big group dinner and it's time to pay up, to divide the total and multiply a certain percentage for the tip. How many people tense up and say something like, "Oh, I'm so bad at math"?
Fear of math is everywhere - in the adult world where there aren't official pop quizzes, and in schools where the next generation of scientific problem-solvers are struggling with homework.
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.