March 30th, 2011
06:16 PM ET

Does radiation from dental X-rays cause thyroid cancer?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Asked by Cate, Kennesaw, Georgia

I have heard that there is an increase in the number of people getting thyroid cancer. Is this true and is radiation from dental X-rays a cause for the increase?

Expert answer:

Dear Cate,

The thyroid is a gland in the neck below and in front of the throat. It secretes hormones that control metabolism. People with low thyroid function gain weight and are lethargic. Those with an overactive thyroid have weight loss and can experience nervousness and other problems.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 44,670 new cases of thyroid cancer occurred in 2010 (33,930 in women, and 10,740 in men). Thyroid cancer caused about 1,690 deaths (960 women and 730 men). Thyroid cancer is different from many other adult cancers in that it is commonly diagnosed in younger people. Nearly two of three cases are found in people between the ages of 20 and 55.


Triathlon challenge: If I can do this, you can
March 30th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Triathlon challenge: If I can do this, you can

Linda Fisher-Lewis was a competitor in the 2010 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge.  She is in training to compete again in the 2011 Nautica New York City Triathlon along with the 2011 competitors, and wrote the following words of inspiration for the new group of triathletes.

Congratulations on becoming a member of the Fit Nation Triathlon team. You are in for quite the ride. In looking back at my training prior to the New York City Triathlon, there were a lot of bumps and bruises as well as victories. Staying motivated for an event so far away, and getting in shape can be a very daunting task. My advice to anyone getting ready for such an event and likely a lifestyle change is staying focused, taking “baby steps” and setting obtainable goals.

First, staying focused. It is easy to not “feel” like training today. Especially when your muscles are tired or your energy feels low. Training is essential, and so is the fuel to train correctly. If you're feeling this way, look at everything you are doing. Fuel: What are you eating? Training: Are you over-training? Are you spending more time on one sport (swimming, biking, or running) because you like it more? Remember, you need to fuel your body to train for the event…don’t over train, listen to your trainers.

Baby steps. This is likely a change to your normal routine. You do not need to do the Olympic-distance event daily as part of your training. Train smart; take small steps to reaching your August 7 goal. Run reasonable distances, bike reasonable distances and definitely mix it up. Swim reasonable distances and do all of these for a reasonable amount of time. I did bricks a couple of times a week instead of just once a week early on. This definitely started a trend of over training.

Lastly, attainable goals. Nothing will take away your motivation and momentum than setting goals that are too difficult to obtain. I talk with people regularly about training goals. I will hear, “I’m gonna run a marathon this year.” I will ask what other races they have run, and they’ve never run a 10k. A goal such as a marathon is great for down the road but will quickly seem unattainable, and training may stop. You need to train to be successful, so take small steps, set attainable goals, and give your body the fuel it needs for success. You can do this!

I spent the four years prior to joining the CNN team on my couch. If I can do this, you can! I will be cheering for you the whole way and look forward to racing with you in August.

Evidence of food dye-ADHD link weak, FDA told
March 30th, 2011
01:54 PM ET

Evidence of food dye-ADHD link weak, FDA told

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee began weighing evidence Wednesday on whether dye additives in food affects behavior in children. The panel listened to testimony from doctors and scientists who contend that studies, although small in many cases, do show that some kids begin to show signs of hyperactivity once they are exposed to certain dye mixtures.

The question is, should the FDA committee urge the agency to strengthen its regulation of these ingredients?


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.

March 2011
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