September 10th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
Flu season has officially started and although most influenza cases don’t begin to pop up till late October, doctors say September is a perfect time to get vaccinated. And that includes getting shots for your youngsters and teens.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its new guidelines on influenza and children. Although there are no major changes, the group stresses it’s important for parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician about the vaccine.
Over the past few years, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended that children over the age of six months get either a traditional flu shot or a LAIV (live attenuated intranasal vaccine) sprayed in the nose, also known as FluMist. That has not changed. But because of the configuration of this year’s vaccine, the AAP is recommending parents be aware of how many shots their children should have.
August 28th, 2012
11:52 AM ET
Ever wonder why we vote the way we do? Is it the influence of family? Or is it because of our culture or where we grew up? Could be, but now researchers are saying it might be in our genes.
Scientists have always wondered what drives our political behavior, and why some of us are passionate over some issues and not others. Now investigators have found it could be something deeper than the "I Like Ike" button your grandfather wore.
Traditionally, social scientists have felt that our political preferences were influenced by environmental factors as well as how and where we grew up. But recently, studies are finding it could be biological and that our genes also influence our political tastes.
In a review out of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, data showed that genetic makeup has some influence on why people differ on such issues as unemployment, abortion, even the death penalty. By pinpointing certain genes in the human body, scientists can predict parts of a person's political ideology. FULL POST
August 13th, 2012
03:28 PM ET
Everyone snores, even children. But if your little ones snore often and loudly, doctors say they may face other problems, such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression.
Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center studied 249 children, surveying their mothers about their youngsters’ sleeping habits. The study found children who snored loudly at least twice a week at the ages of 2 and 3 had more behavioral problems than children who didn’t snore, or who snored at 2 or 3 but not at both ages.
"The strongest predictors of persistent snoring were lower socioeconomic status and the absence or shorter duration of breast-feeding," says Dr. Dean Beebe, director of the hospital's neuropsychology program. "This would suggest that doctors routinely screen for and track snoring, especially in children from poorer families, and refer loudly-snoring children for follow-up care.
"Failing to screen, or taking a 'wait and see' approach on snoring, could make preschool behavior problems worse," he says. "The findings also support the encouragement and facilitation of infant breast-feeding."
July 17th, 2012
05:32 PM ET
The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA has been officially banned from use in certain baby products, the US Food and Drug Administration announced today.
"FDA is amending the food additive regulations to no longer allow BPA in the plastic used to make baby bottles and sippy cups," said Curtis Allen, an FDA spokesman. "As a result, consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA. "
The move came as a result of a petition filed by the American Chemistry Council – an organization that represents “companies engaged in the business of chemistry” –- including plastic companies - saying the government should ban its use in these specific products.
July 16th, 2012
11:10 AM ET
Active teens are healthy teens, but some kinds of activities may be better than others.
New research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that team sports may be better at keeping kids' weight down than biking or walking to school.
Study authors from Dartmouth College looked at the influence sports, physical education and commuting to school had on adolescents and their weight.
Investigators surveyed more than 1,700 high school students by phone and asked them how much they participated in team sports, what other forms of physical activity they were involved in and their height and weight.
July 10th, 2012
11:22 AM ET
The Food and Drug Administration has announced new safety measures for a class of opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain.
Opioids are powerful - patients who suffer from chronic pain say the medications can do wonders. But if they fall into the wrong hands or are used for recreational purposes, these meds can cause serious harm, including overdose and death.
“Although many Americans don’t realize it, prescription drug abuse is our swiftest growing drug problem. Many of those abuses involve opioids," said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. "In 2008, nearly 15,000 Americans died where opioids were involved. In 2009, that number went up to 16,000."
July 9th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
Children who are born to a family with furry pets seem more able to ward off certain illnesses.
A recent study out of Finland finds babies who have a cat or dog around during their first year have fewer health problems than little ones who don't have pets.
The study, published in next month's issue of Pediatrics, followed 397 children from before birth to age 1, and noted the number of times they had contact with either a dog or cat each week.
July 2nd, 2012
07:52 AM ET
Good news, java junkies: Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you may be protecting yourself against skin cancer.
According to a new report published in the journal Cancer Research, drinking more caffeinated coffee could lower your chances of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.
Researchers analyzed data from the famous Nurses' Health Study on more than 112,000 people. One fourth of those studied had developed basal cell carcinoma over a 20 year period. Investigators found the more someone drank caffeinated coffee, (more than two cups a day) the lower their risk of developing this form of cancer.
Scientists noted caffeine seemed to be key factor, because tea, cola and chocolate, all of which contain caffeine also seemed to cut a person's risk.
June 27th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water, the Natural Resources Defense Council has released its annual beach quality report and it’s not pretty.
According to NRDC, a large number of U.S. seashores continue to suffer from storm water runoff and sewage pollution that can cause swimmers to become very ill.
The report, Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches, looks at 2011 data collected from test results taken at more than 3,000 beaches nationwide. It examines the pollution factors that affect these U.S. vacation spots and calls for public efforts to clean up.
The report found that last year the nation’s beach waters continued to be affected by serious contamination and pollutants from human and animal waste. As a result, America’s beaches had the third-highest number of closings or advisories in the report’s history, with the second-highest number occurring just the year before. Progress, according to the report, is not being made.
June 25th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
Older women who don't get enough vitamin D may be slightly heavier than those who do.
A Kaiser Permanente study, published online in the recent issue of the Journal of Women's Health, looked at more than 4,600 women aged 65 and older for a four and one-half year period. Researchers found women with low levels of vitamin D in their blood gained about two pounds more than those with adequate levels of the vitamin.
So what’s the big deal, you ask?
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.