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April 8th, 2013
01:10 PM ET

Some melanoma patients don't protect skin

Some melanoma patients may not be as cautious as they should be, according to a new study.  Doctors have found that more than a quarter of those with melanoma  – the deadliest form of skin cancer  – do not use sunscreen when outside for more than an hour, and many are still use tanning beds.  

“We were shocked," says Dr. Anees Chagpar, associate professor in the Department of Surgery at Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study, “although we found that melanoma survivors did better than the general public at protecting their skin from the sun, we also found that more than a quarter of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen. That blew my mind."

The research was presented the annual meeting of the American Academy of Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

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Why teens may be behind on vaccinations
March 18th, 2013
12:03 AM ET

Why teens may be behind on vaccinations

A new survey finds even though vaccines for certain teenage illnesses are available and are found to be safe, many parents aren't having their teens inoculated. The question is why?

Researchers looked at parent questionnaires collected through a national survey called "Reasons for Not Vaccinating Adolescents: National Survey of Teens, 2008-2010." Investigators wanted to better understand why moms and dads aren't taking their older children in for recommended inoculations.

“These vaccines are safe and effective and people should really have their teens get them," says Dr. Paul Darden, lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. “Parents say pediatricians are telling them about the vaccines, yet they just don’t seem to understand why they are necessary or are skeptical about their safety." FULL POST


Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers
January 9th, 2013
01:52 PM ET

Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers

Could the Pap smear, which is already commonly used to detect cervical cancer, also be used to find endometrial and ovarian cancers?  A small study suggests that may be possible in the future.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that cervical fluid collected during a routine Pap smear can be used to detect both types of cancers by using a genome sequencing test called the “PapGene.”

Researchers administered the test on a small group of samplings, and found the procedure accurately detected all 24 endometrial cancers, or cancer of the lining of the uterus.  However, they were only able to find nine of 22, or 41%. of ovarian cancers.  FULL POST


Overeating in children may be linked to drug use
December 10th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

Overeating in children may be linked to drug use

Do bad nutrition habits like overeating or binge eating lead to smoking pot? Some health experts think they might, according to a study published Monday.

Habits like overeating have always been known to affect our health, nutritionists say.  In some cases, people say they lose control and just can’t stop. Now scientists are finding that both habits and that feeling of lacking control may lead to other health issues.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studied a group of 16,882 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15 who participated in the Growing Up Today Study, beginning in 1996. From that time to 2005, investigators sent out questionnaires every 12 to 24 months, asking if these children were overeating or binge eating. Binge eating was defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in the same time span under similar circumstances and feeling a lack of control over eating during that time. Overeating did not have to be connected to loss of control.

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Doctors make recommendations for safe cheerleading
October 22nd, 2012
10:01 AM ET

Doctors make recommendations for safe cheerleading

Back in the 1800s, when cheerleaders first appeared on a field,  their main goal was to get fans to root for their team, either by yelling chants, clapping or using pom-poms.

But that's all changed. Now being a cheerleader is more demanding because many of these young men and women perform gymnastic stunts that are not only breathtaking but also dangerous.

Because of these dangers, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published a new policy statement, entitled “Cheerleading Injuries: Epidemiology and Recommendations for Prevention,” with a list of recommendations on how to keep cheerleaders trauma-free.

These days, cheerleaders are a lot like acrobats. And there's been some debate over whether cheerleading is a sport. Some cheerleading organizations say it does not meet criteria necessary to be considered a sport. But the AAP says it should be treated like one, because like other athletes, cheerleaders can sustain serious injuries.

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Study: HPV vaccine does not encourage sexual activity
October 15th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Study: HPV vaccine does not encourage sexual activity

There's been a lot of controversy over the HPV vaccine. Because Gardasil is designed to protect young people against human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease, some people believe the inoculation gives teens the go-ahead to have sex.

Researchers are finding that's not the case.

HPV is known to be the cause of a number of illnesses, including mouth and throat cancer, genital warts and cervical cancer. Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all girls aged 11 and 12 receive the HPV vaccine to protect themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also advised that girls and boys at that age be given the shot to fight the virus strain.

But according to a new Kaiser Permanete/Emory University study published in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics, the vaccine has yet to be embraced by the general public. By 2010, fewer than half of girls eligible for the vaccine had received even one dose.

Investigators believe that may be in part because some people who oppose the vaccine wrongly believe that it also protects against pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases, which would open the door for pre-teens to engage in sexual activity at an early age.
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Doctors warn trampolines are not toys
Smaller children can be more at risk from trampoline injuries, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns.
September 21st, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Doctors warn trampolines are not toys

Exercise is important for kids; they need to get outside and move.  But there's one form of exercise physicians say needs to be used with caution - the backyard trampoline.

An updated policy statement published in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that although trampoline injury rates have steadily been decreasing over the past few years, 98,000 trampoline-related injuries still occurred in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations.

Many parents still think these pieces of equipment are toys, researchers say, and they're not.
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Feds create new strategy to fight suicide
Although people of all ages commit suicide, teens, service members and the military seem to have the highest rates.
September 10th, 2012
04:13 PM ET

Feds create new strategy to fight suicide

A new national strategy, unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and representatives from the military and the private sector, aims to reduce the number of suicides in the United States.

Suicide, according to the group, is becoming a serious public health problem in America. For every person who commits suicide, more than 30 others attempt  it, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, claiming more than twice as many lives each year as homicide - and that number is rising.

The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention hopes to give families, medical personnel and communities more options to help those who may be thinking about suicide. It also strives to allocate more money to clinics to provide help to more people, along with resources to help better diagnose suicide in certain individuals. FULL POST


Getting children ready for flu season
Some children may need two flu shots this year, depending on their age and when they received last year's vaccine.
September 10th, 2012
11:28 AM ET

Getting children ready for flu season

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.

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How you vote may be in your genes
Our genetic makeup may play a role in our political behavior, according to researchers.
August 28th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

How you vote may be in your genes

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


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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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