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Shakespeare can teach doctors about mind-body link
November 25th, 2011
10:58 AM ET

Shakespeare can teach doctors about mind-body link

You probably never thought about reading the works of William Shakespeare for medical advice, but it turns out that the Bard had a keen understanding of the mind-body connection, a study in the journal Medical Humanities reports.

Dr. Kenneth Heaton of the department of medicine at the University of Bristol argues that Shakespeare, more than his contemporaries, depicts the relationship between psychological distress and bodily symptoms.

The findings "should encourage doctors to remember that physical symptoms can have psychological causes," Heaton wrote in the study.

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What the Yuck: I get gassy on planes
November 25th, 2011
08:44 AM ET

What the Yuck: I get gassy on planes

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Why do I get so gassy on plane rides?

For starters, as the plane ascends, air pressure decreases (that’s what can cause your ears to pop), so the gas in your intestines expands.

Adding to the problem, many of us avoid using the plane’s tiny (germy!) bathroom, but holding in a bowel movement can cause flatulence, as well as discomfort and pain.

To avoid this problem, use the facilities when nature calls and steer clear of carbonated drinks. It also helps to get up and walk around during your flight - which you should do anyway to prevent blood clots - to prevent your crunched abdomen from putting additional pressure on your intestines.


My second triathlon was a huge success... Now it's your turn!
November 25th, 2011
07:12 AM ET

My second triathlon was a huge success... Now it's your turn!

Joaquin Brignoni was one of six CNN viewers chosen to be a part of the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He trained with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and raced the New York City Triathlon on August 7. Since then Brignoni has kept up his new healthy lifestyle and recently raced in an international distance triathlon. CNN is looking for viewers like Brignoni to join our 2012 Challenge. Click "Share Your Story" to apply.

Last year around this time was probably one of the lowest points of my life. I had endured some pretty tough economic losses, was 30 pounds overweight and felt defeated. Not only was I disappointing myself but the example I was setting for my children was not good. I was sick and tired of feeling out of shape and frustrated.

So, I decided to Tri. What I mean is that one year ago I submitted my entry video to CNN Fit Nation for the Tri Challenge. I was ready to make a change and was hopeful that this could be my turning point.
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Sleep deprived on Black Friday
November 24th, 2011
11:58 AM ET

Sleep deprived on Black Friday

Stores used to open at 6 a.m. on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving. Sure, you spent all night in a tent outside, but at least you caught SOME shut eye. Now the big chains like Target, Kohl's and Best Buy are opening at midnight. That’s six extra hours of sales time. What’s a dedicated shopper to do but stay up all night?

An estimated 152 million people are expected to shop over Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s 152 million people who could be  feeling just a little bit exhausted, not to mention the thousands of employees who are working this weekend, including those on overnight shifts.

Anytime you mess with your body’s natural circadian rhythm there are going to be consequences. First to go is your mood, says CNN sleep expert Lisa Shives. You’ll be irritable and impatient, making the mall a perfect storm of stress. Next to go is your metabolism – so stay away from the food court.

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NFL observers will watch for injuries
November 23rd, 2011
04:52 PM ET

NFL observers will watch for injuries

Injuries are prompting the National Football League to change the way it monitors play during games. 

Beginning with Thursday's games, the league observer in the press box at each stadium will be trying to spot possible player injuries, including concussions, that might be missed at field level. In a memo sent to all of the NFL teams, the league said the decision was made "to enhance the NFL's ability to identify an on-field injury as soon as possible."

The NFL says league observers have been present at its games for decades but have been primarily tasked with following the officiating of the game. Now phone lines from the observer to each team's bench will be installed, allowing the observer direct access to a team's physicians and training staff.

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A cancer survivor's thanks
Amanda Enayati poses with her older brother in a photograph from their childhood.
November 23rd, 2011
07:01 AM ET

A cancer survivor's thanks

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

In two weeks I am going into surgery to reconstruct my right breast, which I lost to late-stage breast cancer four and a half years ago. The tumor was the size of a baby Godzilla. “Nine centimeters!” I remember my mother wailing. “Your entire breast isn’t nine centimeters!”

When the surgeons performed the mastectomy in 2007, they put in an expander - like a placeholder - to stretch out the skin in preparation for an implant. Back then the plastic surgeon said I had to wait something like three to six months for my skin and body to recover from chemo and radiation before I could have the reconstruction.

I was dying to get back to “normal” and so I used every Jedi mind trick I knew to convince the surgeon to operate faster. I even resorted to my old Iranian negotiation tactic of asking the same question over and over again using slightly different words until the person just breaks down from mental exhaustion. Alas, the Stanford surgeon was an ex-New Yorker. He prevailed.
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Filed under: Cancer • Stress

Canned soup raises BPA levels
November 22nd, 2011
04:36 PM ET

Canned soup raises BPA levels

Eating even moderate amounts of canned soup significantly increases exposure to Bisphenol-A according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The chemical BPA, suspected of causing damage to human health, is used in the interior lining of the vast majority of canned soups and vegetables.

For the study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health fed fresh soup made without any canned ingredients to a group of students and staff for five days in a row, and fed 12 ounces of canned soup to a second group for the same five days.
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How meditating may help your brain
November 21st, 2011
06:05 PM ET

How meditating may help your brain

When you're under pressure from work and family and the emails don't stop coming, it's hard to stop your mind from jumping all over the place.

But scientists are finding that it may be worth it to train your brain to focus on something as simple as your breath, which is part of mindfulness meditation.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest in a hot emerging field of research examining how meditation relates to the brain. It shows that people who are experienced meditators show less activity in the brain's default mode network, when the brain is not engaged in focused thought.

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Tri Challenge: Triathlon helped me change my life
November 18th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Triathlon helped me change my life

Kendrick Henley was one of six CNN viewers chosen to be a part of the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He trained with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and raced the New York City Triathlon on August 7. CNN is looking for viewers like Henley to join our 2012 Challenge. Click "Share Your Story" to apply.

It has been almost a year since I applied to be a part of CNN Six Pack. When I applied, I had been trying to get in shape for the past several years, but could not seem to follow through. So, I thought if I did the CNN challenge, it would motivate me to get fit or at the very least, hold me accountable. So I decided to submit a video. As I thought about what to say, I decided that I would just be honest and plainly spoke into my webcam and sent my video.

I remember getting the call on Christmas Eve from Dr. Sanjay Gupta indicating that I was chosen to be a member of the Six Pack. I was so excited, but said to myself, “I have to do this.” I must say that this was an incredibly hard challenge for me, but it was so rewarding.

I still remember when I first arrived at Well-Fit Triathlon Training Center for my first workout where I was constantly stopping and could not continuously exercise for more than 2 minutes. Then came the small breakthroughs: my old belt being too big, biking 20 miles, running a mile without stopping and finally crossing the finish line in New York. I cannot believe that I did it. I realized that this journey was going to be more than 6 months and that it would take additional time to reach my goals, but I am so glad that I took this first step. It has helped me begin to change my life.


November 18th, 2011
03:20 PM ET

Baby in parents' bed: As dangerous as a butcher knife?

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

The ads at bus stops in Milwaukee make you catch your breath: A baby sleeps next to a butcher knife that’s almost as long as the baby and very, very sharp.

Underneath the ads, the text reads “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.”

The point of the ads is that babies should sleep in cribs, not in adult beds. Between 1990 and 1997, 515 infants died while sleeping in adult beds, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About a quarter of the deaths occurred when parents rolled over on their babies. The rest were due to other causes such as babies suffocating in a soft blanket or getting stuck between the mattress and the bed frame.

But some wonder if  the ads have gone too far.

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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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