May 13th, 2010
05:20 PM ET

CDC: Twice as many U.S. suicides as homicides

By Madison Park
CNNhealth.com writer/producer

In 2007, the number of suicides was twice that of  homicides  based on  statistics from 16 states, according to a report released Thursday by  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
CDC: National Suicide Statistics at a Glance

The latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that there were 4,563 homicides and 9,245 suicides in the 16  states.

Suicides occurred at higher rates among men, American Indians, whites and people between the ages of 45 and 54 years.  This was a shift, because previously,  people over age 80 typically had had the highest suicide rates, according to the report.

Problems leading to suicide may be related to mental health, jobs, finances, or relationships or crises occurring two weeks prior, according to the CDC report.  Mental health problems were the most commonly noted circumstance for suicide.

Among the deceased who had mental health problems,  74.9 percent had received a diagnosis of depression/dysthymia, 14.5 percent had been bipolar disorder and 8.1 percent had an anxiety disorder, according to the report.   About 20 percent had a history of previous suicide attempts, 28 percent expressed their intent prior  and about a third left a suicide note.

And sometimes, there were no answers.   CNN.com recently reported the story of a mother whose son committed suicide talked about how her  straight-A son in 11th grade took a gun to the train tracks and shot himself  without any warning.
CNN.com: Parents of suicide find 'immediate bond' in each other

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May 13th, 2010
01:39 PM ET

There's an abnormal growth in my brain – now what?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Ronald in Kentucky:

“I am a 63-year-old male. I just recently found out that I have a pituitary adenoma. What can I do? And how long can I live with this condition?”


Ronald, the short answer is you can live with this condition.  A pituitary adenoma or tumor is an abnormal growth that usually develops in your pituitary gland. The gland itself is a small and bean shaped – it weighs less than a gram – and is located below the brain in the base of your skull. Its normal function is to control the amount of hormones released in your body. But when an adenoma or tumor develops in the gland, it can throw off your hormone levels - so it sometimes produces too much or too little - which impacts your body's ability to function normally.  The symptoms patients often experience with a pituitary adenoma can include feeling tired all the time or headaches, vomiting or dizziness.

Pituitary adenomas are fairly common - accounting for about 15 percent of brain tumors. And while people can develop them at any age, they're most likely to appear in older adults. And the good news, Ronald, is that 99 percent of the time these tumors are noncancerous and don't spread.

The most important thing is that you treat it to prevent it from growing larger. They can be dangerous if left untreated - causing hypertension, diabetes, mood disorders, sexual dysfunction, infertility and heart disease.

Treatments will vary and depend on whether the adenoma is causing hormone production, the size of the growth among other factors. Your doctors will most likely first measure and locate the size of the tumor by performing a CT scan or MRI of the brain. From there, they can develop a treatment plan specific to your case. Your doctor may also refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in hormone production of the body to determine your treatment.  While more than half of these tumors will need surgical removal, they can also be treated with medication, radiation or watched over time.

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.