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Marijuana use linked to heart problems
April 23rd, 2014
06:21 PM ET

Marijuana use linked to heart problems

Young people who use marijuana may be at risk for heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems, a new study suggests.

Researchers reviewed records from the French Addictovigilance Network, a national system of centers in France that gather information about drug abuse and dependence. From 2006 to 2010, they found 35 reports of patients who had experienced cardiovascular complications following cannabis use. The  study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Obesity during pregnancy raises stillbirth risk
April 15th, 2014
04:58 PM ET

Obesity during pregnancy raises stillbirth risk

Pregnant women who are obese or overweight have an increased risk of delivering a stillborn baby, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers looked at 38 studies to better understand the potential risks to an unborn child in relation to its mother's body mass index. They found even a modest increase in an obese pregnant woman's weight is linked to an increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth and infant death.

The highest risk was in women with a BMI over 40 (30 is considered obese). These women were two to three times more likely to experience complications. Even women with a BMI over 25 (which is considered overweight) were found to experience increased complications. FULL POST


Angry outbursts may raise heart attack, stroke risk
March 3rd, 2014
08:45 PM ET

Angry outbursts may raise heart attack, stroke risk

Getting really angry might be more dangerous than you think.

A new study found people who experienced severe anger outbursts were more at risk for cardiovascular events in the two hours following the outbursts compared to those who remained calm.

"The relative risk was similar for people who had known pre-existing heart disease and those who didn't," says Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, senior study author and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The study was designed so that each patient was compared to his or her own baseline risk. "A person with pre-existing heart disease or cardiovascular disease, the absolute risk they are incurring is much greater than (that of) a person without cardiovascular disease or risk factors," Mittleman says. FULL POST


Studies link alcohol to early death, memory loss
January 15th, 2014
05:43 PM ET

Studies link alcohol to early death, memory loss

Nearly 80,000 people die as a result of drinking alcohol each year in North and Latin America, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal Addiction.

Researchers looked at alcohol as the cause of death by examining death certificates, over a two-year period in 16 North and Latin American countries. Men accounted for 84% of alcohol-related deaths.

Maristela Monteiro, study author and a senior advisor on alcohol and substance abuse at the Pan American Health Organization, says people are drinking too much and "it's killing people before they should be dying."

"These deaths are all 100 percent preventable," she says.  FULL POST


Pertussis vaccine in teens may reduce infant hospitalizations
October 21st, 2013
03:13 PM ET

Pertussis vaccine in teens may reduce infant hospitalizations

More adolescents being vaccinated for pertussis appears to result in fewer pertussis-related hospitalizations in infants, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

"The number of hospitalizations in 2011 we observed were 30% of  what we would have expected had there not been a vaccine," says lead study author Dr. Katherine Auger, who also specializes in pediatric hospital patient care at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "For every 10,000 infants, we saw 3.3 pertussis hospitalizations. We expected 10.7 hospitalizations had there not been a vaccine."

The study looked at hospitalization rates, using nationwide inpatient samples, and compared it to data before and after the so-called Tdap vaccination was recommended for universal administration to adolescents in 2006.

Also known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious and often serious disease, especially in young children.  FULL POST


Some shoe insoles don't relieve knee pain
August 20th, 2013
04:01 PM ET

Some shoe insoles don't relieve knee pain

For patients with medial knee osteoarthritis, lateral wedge insoles do not reduce knee pain, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Medial knee osteoarthritis is when the cushioning layer (cartilage) between the knees deteriorates over time resulting in the bone rubbing against each other leaving a person with knee pain, stiffness and swelling.  This injury is becoming more prevalent and can make some everyday activities more difficult, including walking, running and using stairs.

Obesity, genetics, biological and environmental factors as well as increased usage can make someone more prone to developing knee osteoarthritis.  Using shoe inserts is a fairly common treatment for knee pain because it's not invasive and it's fairly inexpensive.

Researchers reviewed 12 studies that included a total of 885 participants, 502 who received lateral wedge insoles for the treatment of knee pain.

"We don't seem to see a difference in pain when using a lateral wedge compared to a flat wedge," said lead study author Matthew Parkes. Parkes, who is also a statistician at the University of Manchester, noted that although using the lateral wedge seems like an attractive treatment because it's not invasive - and pretty cheap - the data doesn't support an average overall effect.
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Filed under: Arthritis • Conditions • Orthopedics • Pain

July 29th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Task force: Screen smokers for lung cancer

Editors note: This story was initially published in July. We're republishing because the final USPSTF recommendation was issued Monday.

For the first time the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending lung cancer screening for people who have a high risk of developing the disease. People who have a "30 pack year history of smoking" (for instance, at least 2 packs a year for 15 years), who are between the ages of 55 and 79, and who have smoked their last cigarette within the last 15 years are considered high risk.

The USPSTF's recommendations were published Monday. When it last looked at this in 2004, the group said the data was insufficient to recommend screening for lung cancer.

The task force's new recommendations are based on a review of seven clinical trials where researchers found Low-Dose Computed Tomography (CT) scanning was an effective way to detect lung cancer before patients began to show symptoms.

"Close to 160,000 people in the U.S. die from lung cancer every year," says Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-vice chair of USPSTF. That's more than breast, prostate and colon cancer deaths combined. LeFevre estimates that screening the right people may prevent up to 20,000 deaths each year.

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Filed under: Cancer • Conditions • Smoking

Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth
March 4th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth

Women may experience more symptoms of anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder following childbirth than previously thought, according to two studies published today.

One study, published in the March/April issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, found postpartum is a high-risk time for women to develop these symptoms. More than 400 study participants completed screening tests for anxiety, depression and OCD at 2 weeks. At 6 months, 329 of the women completed the survey again. (The women in the study did not receive a clinical diagnosis by a psychologist.)

"Postpartum women may experience obsessive compulsive symptoms at much higher rates than at other times in their lives," said senior study author Dr. Dana Gossett, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

OCD is a sub-type of depression. In this study, researchers found the most common symptoms were being concerned about dirt or germs, and checking behaviors for fear of harming the baby. While it's not unusual for new mothers to be concerned that they are doing everything with their new baby correctly, the real question, Gossett said, is how it's affecting the mother's daily life.
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New diabetes guidelines for children
January 28th, 2013
04:56 PM ET

New diabetes guidelines for children

Doctors have a new set of guidelines when treating children diagnosed with type II diabetes. It's the first time recommendations have been issued for children aged 10 to 18, a sign that childhood obesity continues to have a broad impact.

More children are developing type II diabetes "largely due to the increase in obesity and overweight (patients) in the pediatric population, as well as the overall population and the decreased activity we are seeing in our young people," said Dr. Janet Silverstein, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and chief of endocrinology at the University of Florida's Shands Hospital.

Type II diabetes affects 90% to 95% of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, while it's still rare in children and adolescents,  it's being diagnosed more frequently among minority populations including American Indians, African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FULL POST


Why you should act quickly at first sign of heart attack
December 18th, 2012
01:40 PM ET

Why you should act quickly at first sign of heart attack

Calling 911 as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin saves lives, according to the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology new guidelines published in the AHA journal Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The newly developed standards are designed to be user-friendly and focus on streamlining care for patients.  They focus on balloon angioplasty and stenting as the best treatment plan for severe heart attacks.

When it comes to heart attacks, helping people understand "time is muscle" is key, says Dr. James Fang, one of the co-authors of the guidelines and director of the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. "The longer the heart muscle goes without oxygen, e.g. blood flow, the greater the heart muscle damage," he says. 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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