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5 ways I tried (and failed) to kick the cancer stick
January 31st, 2012
01:53 PM ET

5 ways I tried (and failed) to kick the cancer stick

Editor's Note: Rick Morris is one of 7 CNN viewers selected to be part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Each participant receives all of the gear and training necessary to compete in a triathlon, and will finish his or her journey at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September.  Rick's biggest challenge, he says, is kicking "the cancer stick."

Two o'clock in the morning.  A couple bottles of my strong pale ale Belgium style home brew.  Got the '80s rocking on Sirius Radio.  What better time to write about my smoking cessation progress?

Perhaps it's a corny way to start a blog, but I don't care.  I'm in the mood for reflecting on the “good ol' days” when I was a non-smoker.   You know, the younger years... the energetic era.  Those were the days when responsibilities were minimal and my poison was nothing more than sweets.

Sure, I had to do my homework, mow the grass and clean my room.  But, generally speaking, I didn't have the slightest concern for personal health.  I was cut like a knife – all 126 pounds, a member of the great Pisgah High School wrestling team, and didn't think twice about running 2 miles to the store for a pack of gob-stoppers and various “junk food."
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New skin cancer drug approved
January 31st, 2012
09:18 AM ET

New skin cancer drug approved

Adults with metastatic basal cell cancer now have a new drug to help them battle the disease.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Erivedge under the agency's priority review program. The program provides an expedited six-month review process for drugs that may result in major treatment advances.

Erivedge is for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma  who are not candidates for radiation or surgery, or for those whose cancer has spread. BCC is the most common form of skin cancer in the country. It grows slowly and is generally curable.

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EPA offers free apps to check air quality, UV index
January 30th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

EPA offers free apps to check air quality, UV index

If you wanted to know the air quality Monday morning in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (good), Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (moderate), or Modesto, California. (unhealthy for sensitive groups), a new smart phone app from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could have helped.

The EPA’s free AIRNow app for Apple or Android phones allows users to enter a Zip Code and receive the pollutant and ozone levels for more than 400 cities across the country. You can also choose to check your current location.

The app gives levels for ozone and particle pollution such as automotive exhaust and an overall assessment of “good,” “moderate,” “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” “unhealthy,” “very unhealthy” and “hazardous.”
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Gates pledges $363 million to fight neglected tropical diseases
January 30th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Gates pledges $363 million to fight neglected tropical diseases

Less than a week after the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would give $750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the foundation has pledged $363 million to target neglected tropical diseases over five years.

The Gates Foundation, along with 13 pharmaceutical companies, the World Bank, other global health organizations and the governments of the U.S., U.K. and United Arab Emirates, announced the effort Monday. It's called the London Declaration on Neglected Diseases.

The goal is to eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases by the end of the decade by expanding the drug donations, providing about $785 million to support research and development, and efforts to address treatment. FULL POST


January 30th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Parents ignore booster seats when carpooling

Even though some parents put their little ones in booster seats while in the car, they don't always require them to use one when they are carpooling with other kids– that's according to a new survey published in this week's journal Pediatrics.

The research, conducted by the University of Michigan, found more than 30% of parents do not enforce the rule of booster seats when their kids are with another driver. Investigators also found 45% of parents do not require their little ones to use a booster when they're driving other children who don't have booster seats.

"The majority of parents reported that their children between the ages of four and eight use a safety seat when riding in the family car," says Dr. Michelle Macy, a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a pediatrician at U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. "However, it's alarming to know that close to 70% of parents carpool, and when they do, they're often failing to use life-saving booster seats."
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What the Yuck: I'm seeing brown specks
January 29th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

What the Yuck: I'm seeing brown specks

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: Sometimes I see little brown specks floating in my field of vision. Should I be worried?

A: Those squiggly, dark lines and spots are called "eye floaters." They are typically caused by age-related changes in the vitreous humor, the jelly-like substance that fills most of the eyeball.

Floaters are common and usually nothing to worry about.

If you start having them while seeing flashes of light, though, or suddenly get a bunch at once, see an ophthalmologist right away - you could have a tear in your retina, which may lead to vision loss if not treated ASAP.


War of words over looming EPA dioxin study
January 27th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

War of words over looming EPA dioxin study

With the EPA's deadline only days away, a war of words has erupted over whether the agency should go ahead with a dioxin study decades in the making.

Vietnam veterans, environmental advocates and women’s groups were among the more than 2,000 individuals and organizations signing a letter Thursday urging EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to publish the dioxin risk assessment.

“We are writing to strongly urge you to finalize the EPA’s study on dioxin, which has been delayed for over 25 years,” the one-page letter says.

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Why I orgasmed in an MRI scanner
January 27th, 2012
07:10 AM ET

Why I orgasmed in an MRI scanner

Kayt Sukel is a passionate science writer and the author of "Dirty Minds: How our brains influence love, sex and relationships" - an edgy, irreverent book that examines all the ways our neurons can wreak havoc with our hearts.

Let me just get this out of the way upfront: I had an orgasm in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

That is, as background research for my book, "Dirty Minds: How our brains influence love, sex and relationships," I participated in a study at Rutgers University where scientists measured the activity in my brain as I self-stimulated to an orgasm.

I wasn’t the first woman to participate in one of these studies - and I won’t be the last.
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Home births on the rise in U.S.
January 26th, 2012
01:50 PM ET

Home births on the rise in U.S.

Between 1990 and 2004, the number of women who were choosing to give birth at home steadily declined. But in 2005 the trend turned, according to a new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics on Thursday.

The number of home births in the U.S. jumped by 29% from 2004 to 2009. Although home births are still rare - they account for less than 1% of all births - this is a pretty rapid increase, said Marian MacDorman, statistician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Forty, 50 years ago, there was this idea that hospital birth was more modern. Now it's the opposite."
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Learning how to swim, without a leg
January 26th, 2012
10:42 AM ET

Learning how to swim, without a leg

Denise Castelli is one of seven people chosen to be a part of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. As a recent amputee, Denise is searching for a way to reclaim the feeling of being a competitive athlete that she cherished before her accident.

Getting in the pool has forced me to face a number of fears. The first being the obvious fear - ditching the doggie paddle and actually learning how to swim. The other fear is not so obvious and much more personal.

The swim is the only leg of the race that I’ll be doing, well, legless. Prosthetics aren’t made to be submerged in water and I can imagine it would be quite difficult to swim with a heavy piece of carbon fiber attached to my body.

My prosthetic has been my safety net ever since I learned to walk again. It has essentially become my super hero cape. When I wear it, I know I can do anything. I have the world in the palm of my hand. Without it, am I handicapped?
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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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