June 5th, 2014
11:19 AM ET
"If you’re a cannabis user and you’re trying for a baby ... stop."
This advice comes from Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study that suggests using marijuana could increase a man's risk of fertility problems.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at how a man's lifestyle affects his sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm. Researchers collected data from 1,970 men who provided semen as part of a fertility assessment.
April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.
MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.
Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says. FULL POST
April 22nd, 2014
06:07 PM ET
There are few treatments available for the millions of people who suffer from migraines. New early-stage research offers new hope.
Studies presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting suggest that two new drugs may prevent migraines from happening.
"We've identified a new preventive treatment for migraines, something that reduces frequency, the number of attacks and severity of attacks, how bad the attacks are," said Dr. Peter Goadsby, co-author of both studies and professor of neurology at Kings College, London and the University of California, San Francisco. "The results herald a new mechanism for the preventive treatment of migraines."
April 16th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
If you thought smoking a joint occasionally was OK, a new study released Tuesday suggests you might want to reconsider.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to link casual marijuana use to major changes in the brain. And according to the researchers, the degree of abnormalities is based on the number of joints you smoke in a week.
Using different types of neuroimaging, researchers examined the brains of 40 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who were enrolled in Boston-area colleges. Twenty of them smoked marijuana at least once a week. The other 20 did not use pot at all. FULL POST
April 14th, 2014
09:51 AM ET
Does your baby have difficulty calming him or herself? Falling and staying asleep? It can be stressful, especially for new parents. But once again, researchers are recommending that parents avoid plopping them down in front of the television.
According to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, fussy babies and toddlers tend to watch more TV and videos than infants with no issues or mild issues. And that can lead to problems down the road.
"We found that babies and toddlers whose mothers rated them as having self-regulation problems – meaning, problems with calming down, soothing themselves, settling down to sleep, or waiting for food or toys – watched more TV and videos when they were age 2," said study author Dr. Jenny Radskey, who works in the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
"Infants with self-regulation problems watched, on average, about 9 minutes more media per day than other infants. This may seem small, but screen-time habits are established in these early years."
April 10th, 2014
02:23 PM ET
Tamiflu, commonly used to reduce flu symptoms, may not work as well as the federal government believed when it spent more than $1.3 billion stockpiling it.
The Cochrane Collaboration, a nonprofit network of health practitioners, researchers and patient advocates, recently analyzed 46 clinical study reports on Tamiflu and another influenza drug called Relenza to determine their effectiveness.
The researchers concluded that while both drugs can stop adults' symptoms about half a day earlier, on average, than no treatment, the drugs do not reduce the rate of serious influenza complications, such as hospitalizations and pneumonia. The results were published this week in the British Medical Journal.
"A significant number of doctors see them as pretty mediocre drugs that don't do a whole bunch," said Dr. Peter Doshi, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and associate editor at BMJ.
March 24th, 2014
04:02 PM ET
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
August 28th, 2013
07:09 PM ET
Some 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, those incredibly painful and often debilitating headaches. While they've been known to knock a person out, migraines weren't thought to permanently affect the brain - until now. A new study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology suggests migraines may indeed leave a mark.
"Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways," said study author Dr. Messoud Ashina, a neurologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
A migraine is a common type of headache where throbbing pain is typically felt on just one side of the head. Sufferers experience sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. Women are three times more likely to be affected by migraines than men.
June 12th, 2013
06:01 PM ET
Treating intravenous drug users with antiviral drugs may reduce their chances of HIV infection, according to a new study published Wednesday in the British medical journal The Lancet.
The Bangkok Tenofovir Study was done in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2005-2013. It was run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.
Researchers recruited more than 24,000 people at 17 sites. Half took the pill tenofovir - an antiretroviral drug - daily, while the other half got a placebo. Participants were followed for about four years. Researchers found those taking the drug cut their chances of infection by 49% almost in half - approximately 49%.
May 28th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
The state of Colorado is seeing an increase in the number of children accidentally exposed to medical marijuana, according to a new study in Pediatric JAMA.
Doctors in Colorado evaluated about 1,400 patients aged 8 months to 12 years who came to the Children's Hospital Colorado emergency room from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2011.
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.