May 3rd, 2013
10:48 AM ET
Teen suicides often get the most media attention - tragic stories like that of Canadian teen Amanda Todd remind us that depression is a serious mental health issue for adolescents. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more attention needs to be directed at preventing suicide in adults as well.
Between 1999 and 2010, suicides in the 35-to-64 age group increased 28.4%, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Suicides among people aged 50 to 59 years old specifically almost doubled during that time period.
More than 38,000 Americans killed themselves in 2010; that's more than double those who were killed in a homicide that same year, according to the CDC. In 2009, the number of deaths from suicide in the United States surpassed the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes for the first time. FULL POST
May 2nd, 2013
02:39 PM ET
Food and skin allergies are becoming more common in American children, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both have been steadily increasing for more than a decade.
Food allergy prevalence increased from 3.4% to 5.1% between 1997 and 2011, while skin allergy prevalence more than doubled in the same time period. That means 1 in every 20 children will develop a food allergy and 1 in every 8 children will have a skin allergy. According to the CDC, respiratory allergies are still the most common for children younger than 18.
The new report, which looked at data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that skin allergies decreased with age, while respiratory allergies increased as children got older.
April 23rd, 2013
03:03 PM ET
You walk into a fast food restaurant and examine the menu. You could get a salad with grilled chicken and dressing on the side. Or you could get a double cheeseburger.
Seeing the calories listed next to each item isn't likely to affect your decision, according to a new study being presented at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting this week. But seeing the amount of time it would take you to work those calories off at the gym just might.
Researchers at Texas Christian University asked 300 men and women aged 18 to 30 years to purchase food from one of three fast food menus. All of the menus contained the same options, including burgers, chicken tenders, salad, French fries and desserts.
One group's menu had no labels of any kind. The second group's menu was labeled with the total calories in each item. The third group's menu was labeled with the number of minutes of brisk walking it would take someone to burn off the calories in the meal.
March 27th, 2013
11:33 AM ET
In Europe, some allergy sufferers are given sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, to treat their symptoms. These tiny drops of purified allergens - such as pollen or dust mites - are placed under the tongue as an alternative to weekly allergy shots. The drops work like a vaccine, slowly increasing the body's tolerance to the allergen.
The Food and Drug Administration has yet not approved these drops for use in the United States, but new evidence published this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association could pave the way for American pharmaceutical companies.
"There is a tremendous interest in this treatment," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. "As such there have been and are currently clinical trials underway by various companies looking to try to get an approval and come to the U.S. market in the years ahead."
Dr. Sandra Lin from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her colleagues reviewed 63 studies to analyze the effectiveness of allergy drops.
March 19th, 2013
01:01 AM ET
Football injuries among children have increased 22% in the last decade, according to a new study. Overall, however, sports injuries among children have decreased.
The findings surprised Dr. Shital Parikh, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the study's lead author. Parikh will present his research at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting on Thursday.
When he started analyzing the numbers from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Parikh expected to find a big increase in kids’ injuries based on what he and his colleagues have seen in their practice.
Instead he found that the overall number of activity injuries for kids aged 5 to 14 decreased 11.3%. The researchers looked at data from bicycle, basketball, football, roller sports, playground equipment, baseball/softball, soccer and trampoline injuries.
March 12th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
Cigarette smoking increases your heart rate, narrows the walls of your blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to your system, among other things. That’s why smoking is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, obesity is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And most smokers gain between 6 and 13 pounds in the six months after they quit, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The benefits of quitting smoking are well known. “Cigarette smoking has short- and long-term cardiovascular effects that are reversible shortly after cessation,” according to the study authors.
But the researchers wanted to know if the weight gain following smoking cessation would counteract the positive effects quitting has on your cardiovascular system.
February 26th, 2013
10:49 AM ET
You’ve seen it added to cereal boxes, gallons of milk and bottles of orange juice. Experts tout its benefits – from strong bones to a strong immune system – and warn of the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency.
The public relations push is working; between 2002 and 2011, sales of vitamin D supplements increased from $42 million to $605 million, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
New recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force could bump those sales even higher, or - if critics are right - confuse consumers as they head down the pharmacy aisle.
After completing a review of existing research, the USPSTF, an independent panel of doctors and experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is advising against taking moderate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium supplements because there is not enough evidence to prove the supplements reduce the risk of bone fractures.
February 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET
Americans are eating less fast food daily than they used to, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it's not much less.
Using data from 2007 to 2010, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics determined adults eat, on average, 11.3% of their daily calories from fast food. That number was 12.8% in 2006– a one and half point difference.
As you would expect, younger adults tend to eat more fast food than seniors. People older than 60 eat approximately 6% of their daily calories from fast food. Among the younger age groups, non-Hispanic black adults eat the most fast food - using more than one-fifth of their daily calories at fast food establishments.
The CDC did not see a significant difference in fast food consumption based on income, according to the report. Only in the 20-to-39 age group did fast food consumption drop as income increased.
Fast food has been linked to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Not surprisingly, obese adults in each age group ate more of their calories from fast food.
February 14th, 2013
03:46 PM ET
Happy National Condom Day! If you're not thrilled with the abundance of pink paper hearts surrounding your desk, this campaign for safe sex offers a different reason to celebrate February 14.
Fittingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two reports Thursday on contraception use in the United States. The reports summarize data from the National Survey of Family Growth.
One, "Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44," is the first ever published on emergency contraception by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
Here are some of the most interesting highlights from that report:
February 4th, 2013
06:32 PM ET
Semen quality is a much-discussed subject among scientists these days. Data suggests sperm concentration has been declining in Western countries over the past couple of decades - and reasons for the decline are debatable.
The lead author of a new study on the subject, Audrey Gaskins, has been studying the effects of diet and exercise on semen for several years as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her latest research shows a lack of physical activity – and too much time in front of the television - may impact sperm count and concentration.
Previous studies have shown a link between physical activity and decreased levels of oxidative stress, Gaskins says. “Oxidative stress” is stress placed on the body as it tries to get rid of free radicals or repair the damage caused by them. Exercise may protect certain male cells from oxidative damage, Gaskins says, leading to increased sperm concentration.
Those findings led Gaskins to complete an observational study on young men’s exercise and TV habits as they relate to semen quality. The results were published online Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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.