June 8th, 2012
03:26 PM ET
Editor's note: Last summer, this article was one of the most popular on the Chart. We're republishing to share these important tips again with you.
Scientists at the World Health Organization list mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
There haven't been enough long-term studies to make a clear conclusion if radiation from cell phones is safe, but there was enough data to persuade the WHO of a possible connection to make them upgrade the category in May 2011.
Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation, which doesn’t damage DNA the way ionizing radiation does. The cell phone radiation operates more like very low power microwaves, but nobody really likes to think of leaning their face on a low-powered microwave.
If the WHO’s labeling of cell phone use as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" has you alarmed, here are some quick basic tips to limit your exposure.
May 25th, 2012
11:46 AM ET
Obesity is a widespread epidemic, even among the homeless.
While the popularized image of a homeless individual is one of skin and bones, a new study shows the reality is not so. One in three (32.3%) homeless individuals in the United States is obese, highlighting a hunger-obesity paradox.
The paradox is that hunger and obesity can exist in the same person. And although a person may be overweight or obese, he or she can lack proper nutrition.
Nutrition is a daily challenge for homeless people, as the foods they manage to get are often full of preservatives and high in sodium, fats and sugars. They may not have access to healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.
May 8th, 2012
05:35 PM ET
The artist Thomas Kinkade, 54, died in April from a lethal combination of alcohol and Valium, according to an autopsy report from the Santa Clara County, California, medical examiner.
Alcohol and Valium, also known as diazepam, are both depressants that slow down the central nervous system. These depressants slow down the brain and also decrease the heart rate, lower the blood pressure and cause lethargy.
“Because your brain will control autonomic function like heart beat, breathing, when the concentration is so high that area of the brain is affected, it does not function,” said Douglas Rohde, supervisor of chemistry and toxicology at Lake County Crime Laboratory in Ohio. Rohde is not involved in Kinkade’s case.
This could knock a person into a coma, and then breathing and heart beat could stop.
May 7th, 2012
12:22 PM ET
After years of rising obesity rates in the United States, recent statistics show the rates may have steadied. But that may not be enough, according to a new report released on Monday - it estimates about 42% of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030.
The report suggests an additional 30 million Americans will be obese in 18 years. This would cost an additional $549.5 billion on medical expenditures, according to the report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“If you could keep the obesity rates at today’s level, you would save $550 billion,” said Eric Finkelstein, lead author of the report.
About 35% of U.S. adults are obese today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
May 2nd, 2012
04:23 PM ET
The first of two controversial studies about a mutated form of the potentially lethal H5N1 bird flu virus was finally published Wednesday after months of debate over whether release of the research could pose a biosecurity threat.
The journal Nature published the study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka. Similar research led by Dutch researcher Ron Fouchier at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam has yet to be published in its entirety in the journal Science.
Both studies found that with a few genetic alternations, this bird flu virus can be much more easily transmitted. Six months ago the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) asked both journals not to publish essential data because they feared it could be misused and turned into a biological weapon. Scientists in favor of publication argued that the data was important for flu surveillance and public health preparedness.
"This study has significant public health benefits and contributes to our understanding of this important pathogen,” said Yoshihiro Kawaoka, the author of the Nature study and a flu researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a released statement. “By identifying mutations that facilitate transmission among mammals, those whose job it is to monitor viruses circulating in nature can look for these mutations so measures can be taken to effectively protect human health." FULL POST
April 12th, 2012
04:12 PM ET
A premature baby - who was declared dead shortly after birth - was later discovered to be alive after spending 10 hours in a morgue refrigerator. How did this happen?
Doctors at the Perrando Hospital in northeast Argentina can’t explain how several doctors pronounced the child dead or how the premature infant born three months early survived for so many hours inside a chilly coffin. The baby, Luz Milagros Veron, was reported Friday in "very serious" condition after doctors detected an infection.
A similar case occurred in Israel in 2008. A baby was found alive in a morgue refrigerator after having been declared dead for five hours, according to the Jerusalem Post. An Israeli doctor suggested the premature infant's irregular heartbeat could've eluded doctors and that placing the child in the cooler kept her in "suspended animation." The baby later died.
In a case last year, a 60-year-old man woke up in a South African morgue after 21 hours.
Could the cold temperature help people in these circumstances survive?
April 10th, 2012
02:14 PM ET
A new report in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology suggests that we could be inching closer to using aspirin as part of clinical guidelines in cancer prevention.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force encourages an aspirin regimen for some patients to prevent heart problems and strokes.
Aspirin has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and colorectal polyps. Although taking aspirin daily has some promising benefits, it can also raise the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
The report released this week looked at recent studies of aspirin’s impact on cancer prevention. In March, two studies published in the Lancet and one in Lancet Oncology suggested that aspirin could have protective effects against various types of cancer.
April 10th, 2012
03:30 AM ET
The teenage birth rate in the United States has fallen to a record low in the seven decades since such statistics were last collected.
A report released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the teenage birth rate for American teenagers fell 9% from 2009 to 2010. The national level, 34.3 teenage births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-19, is the lowest since 1946.
The rates dropped across all racial and ethnic groups, and nearly all states. Experts suggested that the numbers may mean more teens are delaying sex or using contraception, representing gains for both abstinence-only and contraceptive education programs.
April 8th, 2012
01:01 PM ET
Researchers have identified two genetic variations that appear to increase the risk of childhood obesity.
The study authors took data from North American, Australian and European meta-analysis of 14 studies consisting of 5,530 obese children and 8,318 non-obese kids. The team compared the genetic data. FULL POST
April 4th, 2012
02:03 PM ET
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has reached "epidemic levels" in the state of Washington, health officials say.
As of March 31, the state had 640 cases compared to 94 cases at the same time last year. This could put Washington “on-pace to have the highest number of reported cases in decades,” according to the health department's press release.
There have not been any reported deaths, said a spokesman for the health department. The state had two whooping cough deaths in 2010 and two in 2011.
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.