April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Treating brain diseases with marijuana

Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.

MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.

Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says. FULL POST

'Love for Alyssa': Examining arthrogryposis
July 2nd, 2012
07:35 AM ET

'Love for Alyssa': Examining arthrogryposis

Arthrogryposis has presented many challenges to Alyssa Jadyn Hagstrom. At just 8 years old, the condition has left her with no use of her legs and arms, and limited use of her fingers.

Alyssa is the subject of photographer Jennifer Kaczmarek’s exhibition called “Love for Alyssa,” which aims to use photography, video and an online blog to raise funds for Alyssa’s and others’ medical needs. The project has put a spotlight on the little-known condition.

Arthrogryposis causes limited range of motion in children’s joints and affects one in 3,000 infants, according to Donald Bae, an orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Group sues EPA over popular weed killer
February 23rd, 2012
02:26 PM ET

Group sues EPA over popular weed killer

The Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit Thursday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over 2,4-D, a widely used ingredient in broad leaf weed killers.

The NRDC went to court with the agency over its alleged failure to respond to a petition calling for the EPA to stop licensing the use of 2,4-D, which was one of two ingredients in the toxic Vietnam war herbicide Agent Orange.

"It's really time to connect the dots with this chemical and be much more cautious about its use," said Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at NRDC. "Right now it's used in widespread fashion on people's lawns, back yards, playgrounds, ball fields and soccer fields, where kids are getting it on their skin. That's a particular problem."

The EPA does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Dale Kemery said.

Sleep apnea linked to silent strokes
February 1st, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Sleep apnea linked to silent strokes

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

This week, a study was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference that caught my eye.  It's a small study that adds further evidence to what most sleep experts already know - that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is linked with a high risk of having silent strokes.

OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea, according to the National Institutes of Health.  More than 12 million Americans are believed to suffer from this sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 to 20 seconds or longer and this can happen at least 20 to 30 times an hour. 

In this new study, researchers at Dresden University in Germany, looked at silent strokes and the prevalence of OSA in 56 patients who had been hospitalized for a major stroke.

October 28th, 2011
12:25 PM ET

Is there a cure for multiple sclerosis?

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 Kayla in North Carolina:

Hi, I got multiple sclerosis about a year ago, and I'm very young. I was curious if there has been any further information about a possible cure or not. I know that people have been searching for a cure, but I'm curious as to how close they really are.

Expert answer


Heisman Trophy winner stricken with rare disorder
June 17th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Heisman Trophy winner stricken with rare disorder

Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner who led the University of Florida to a college football national championship that season, has been diagnosed with a rare immune disorder that attacks the nervous system.

The Desire Street Ministry, where the former quarterback serves as an executive director, released a statement that Wuerffel was diagnosed with “Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), which he recently contracted as a result of a stomach virus.”

In about 60% of cases the immune system reaction occurs after a lung or digestive tract infection, according to the Mayo Clinic.

After a viral infection, the body generates an immune response against the infection.  With Guillain Barre Syndrome, the immune response spills over to the peripheral nerves and starts attacking them, said Dr. Eric Logigian, professor of neurology at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. It damages the nerves’ protective covering, called the myelin sheath, causing weakness. FULL POST

Why it's harder to multitask as you get older
April 11th, 2011
03:56 PM ET

Why it's harder to multitask as you get older

There you are with a phone in one hand and a drawer handle in the other, and after reading a few incoming texts you've completely forgotten why you went to open the drawer in the first place. These kinds of moments that happen to all of us, even 20-somethings. They're related to natural brain aging.

A new study sheds light on why older adults have more trouble with multitasking than younger people. Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the brains of older people, when interrupted, tend to have greater difficulty switching back to their original task than younger folks.


October 26th, 2010
09:51 AM ET

Is it normal to have anger issues after going on and off pain meds?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesday, it's Dr. Charles Raison, a psychiatrist.

Question asked by Cookie of Texas

My husband had major surgery and while on pain meds in the hospital he started developing anger issues. They lowered his pain meds saying this was a side effect for some people. He is out of the hospital and no longer on any meds but he still seems to be unreasonable and angry much more than is typical for him. Is this normal? Is it due to the drugs? I feel like he has become someone other than the man I married. FULL POST

September 30th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

What might cause tongue pain?

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

From Anna, Washington, D.C.

“Is it possible to sprain/strain your tongue? I get shooting pains in my tongue. What can I take to stop the pain?"


September 3rd, 2010
03:40 PM ET

Latest hand transplant patient shows progress

The third person in the United States to receive a double hand transplant can already move his fingers.

Last month, in a first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center were able to salvage most of the nerves and tendons in Richard Edwards' hands. They left his original hands intact and connected nerves to restore their function.

Now, Edwards can make a full fist with one hand and a half-fist with the other. His doctors say his progress is a good sign and that Edwards is six months ahead of where they suspected he would be.


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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.