June 3rd, 2014
01:01 PM ET
Approximately 20 million people fall ill every year due to norovirus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the food service industry could do much to decrease that number.
Restaurants and catering services are the most common sources for norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the report. "Infected food workers are frequently the source of these outbreaks, often by touching ready-to-eat foods served in restaurants with their bare hands," CDC experts wrote.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis - often called a stomach bug - in the United States, according to the CDC. Symptoms generally include stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Norovirus particles spread whenever an infected person vomits or defecates. Because swallowing just 18 norovirus particles can sicken a new host, the virus spreads easily, especially when the infected patient is preparing food for a lot of people.
Norovirus is also hardy: It can live for up to two weeks on countertops, survive freezing temperatures, and is resistant to many disinfectants and hand sanitizer.
May 20th, 2014
09:31 AM ET
Ever sit on a plane and wonder how long the germs left by passengers past plan on hanging around?
A new study examined how long two potentially deadly bacteria – E. coli and MRSA – can live on various surfaces inside an airplane’s cabin, and how easily they are transmitted by contact.
Researchers at Auburn University used actual armrests, toilet flush handles, tray tables, window shades, seats and seat pockets provided by Delta Airlines for the study – inoculating them with bacteria and storing them in conditions meant to simulate a pressurized cabin: 75 degrees Fahrenheit at 20% humidity.
In general, bacteria lived longest on the most porous surfaces. For example, MRSA lasted seven days on the cloth seat pocket, six days on the rubber armrest and leather seat, five days on the plastic window shade and tray table, and four days on the steel toilet handle.
May 12th, 2014
05:24 PM ET
The antioxidant resveratrol does not improve longevity when consumed at levels naturally occurring in foods like grapes, red wine and dark chocolate, according to a new study published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
“We looked at the relationship between resveratrol levels and a lot of health outcomes that are thought to be related to resveratrol, such as cancer and heart disease and lifespan. And we found no relationship,” says Dr. Richard Semba, study author and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The potential health benefits of consuming moderate amounts of red wine have been much discussed ever since researchers identified the “French paradox” – an observation that the French have lower levels of heart disease despite consuming relatively high amounts of saturated fat.
April 14th, 2014
08:48 PM ET
A traditional herbal remedy may treat rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as an FDA-approved drug treatment, according to a preliminary study published this week in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Triptergium wilfordii Hook F, also known as the "Thunder God Vine," has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat joint pain and inflammation, though no U.S. manufacturer currently sells the root extract, according to the NIH.
"It actually does show a clinical benefit," said Dr. Eric Matteson, rheumatology chair at Mayo Clinic, who was not involved with the study. "I think it is something that deserves further evaluation, without a doubt."
March 17th, 2014
12:01 AM ET
Colon cancer, which was once the most common cause of cancer death in America, has been on a steady decline for decades, according to a new study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
In 1985, there were an estimated 66.3 cases of colon cancer for every 100,000 adults in the United States. By 2010 that rate had fallen to 40.6 cases for every 100,000 adults. Deaths dropped during the same time period as well - from 28.5 to 15.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
"Incidence is declining primarily because of screening and finding polyps, which are precancerous lesions that can be removed," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. "We find these precancerous lesions, remove them and 'voilà!' the patient doesn't get cancer."
March 5th, 2014
09:12 AM ET
Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long - the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.
Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a protein in your body related to growth and development. Past studies have linked IGF-1 to age-related diseases, including cancer. Mice and humans with higher levels of IGF-1 often have a higher risk of developing these diseases.
Scientists believe protein intake plays a role in IGF-1 activity. Eating less protein, studies have shown, can lead to lower levels of IGF-1 in your body. So theoretically, protein consumption could be directly linked to disease incidence and death. FULL POST
March 4th, 2014
10:10 AM ET
Are schoolchildren actually eating more fruits and vegetables under the new school lunch program? Apparently they are, according to a new study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Children returning to school beginning in fall 2012 found some significant changes to their cafeteria menus: more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The healthier foods were the result of changes to the National School Lunch Program made under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
But lack of enthusiasm about these new requirements soon surfaced. A few school districts even dropped out of the lunch program.
However, the authors of this study say their research proves the opposite: “Contrary to media reports, these results suggest that the new school meal standards have improved students' overall diet quality. Legislation to weaken the standards is not warranted.” FULL POST
February 27th, 2014
02:10 PM ET
Do men have a biological clock of sorts? A large new study suggests they may.
Compared to younger fathers, older fathers' children were found to be significantly more at risk for a host of psychiatric disorders, according to the study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
For example, the children of fathers ages 45 and over were three times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, and 24 times more likely to have bipolar disorder than the children of fathers aged 20 to 24.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 2.6 million children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the effects of paternal age.
February 11th, 2014
04:01 PM ET
Those who make life-saving kidney donations may face a slightly increased risk of suffering from end-stage renal disease themselves, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The study authors compared living kidney donors to healthy individuals who would also likely qualify to donate but never did. While the actual donors had an estimated lifetime risk of 90 out of 10,000 for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the nondonors’ risk was slightly lower at 14 out of 10,000.
“As a medical community, we feel that it’s our imperative to understand, as well as we possibly can, what these risks are and communicate them with people,” says study author Dr. Dorry Segev, a professor of surgery at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
November 5th, 2013
11:49 AM ET
Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue normally lining the uterus’ interior walls also grows outside the uterus, commonly to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvis –- causing pelvic pain and infertility.
“It affects women during their reproductive years and it could be that as many as 10% of women during reproductive ages have endometriosis,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and lead study author.
More than 5 million women have endometriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health.
“What we know about endometriosis is that it's an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it," Holt says.
Once in the body, some organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are believed to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to endometriosis. FULL POST
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.