Minority children with autism lack access to specialists
Hispanic and African-American children are less likely to see specialists for autism or other conditions, according to a new study.
June 17th, 2013
09:13 AM ET

Minority children with autism lack access to specialists

Editor's Note: Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh is a resident psychiatrist at Emory University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health.

African-American and Hispanic children are far less likely to be seen by specialists - for autism, but also other medical conditions - and also less likely to receive specialized medical tests than their white peers, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Sarahbeth Broder-Fingert and colleagues studied the records of 3,615 children with autism at the Massachusetts General Hospital,  specifically looking at the rates of both referral to specialists and medical tests undertaken.  They discovered that children from African-American and Hispanic families were far less likely to receive specialized care or specific medical tests such as a sleep study, colonoscopy, or endoscopy.

When compared to their white peers, African-American children were three times less likely to see a gastroenterologist or nutritionist, and half as likely to see a neurologist or mental health specialist, according to the study. The story is similar among children from Hispanic families.


BPA linked to obesity in young girls
June 12th, 2013
05:05 PM ET

BPA linked to obesity in young girls

Poor diet and lack of exercise might not be the only factors contributing to the obesity epidemic. A new study suggests the environment may also play a role.

“Eating too much and exercising too little are important factors,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. “But they cannot explain the steep increase in the obesity rate the last three decades. We haven’t really changed our eating habits and exercise that much.”

The environmental culprit, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, may be bisphenol-a, a chemical commonly found in plastic and cans.

Li and colleagues studied 1,326 school-age children in Shanghai, China, and measured BPA levels in their urine. In girls ages 9 to 12, higher BPA urine levels were associated with a doubled risk of obesity. And as BPA urine levels increased, so did the girls’ obesity risk - measured using their weight in reference to weight distribution in the population. FULL POST

September 26th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Helping the littlest patients fight cancer

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed.

This week we meet a young man who will graduate from Temple University at age 19.  Fabien NavidiKasmai is a survivor of both childhood cancer and cancer treatment. The chemotherapy and radiation led to nausea and changes in his palate, making the foods he loved inedible - if he felt like eating at all.  His mother's challenge was to find healthy foods he would like to eat, so he could stay in the fight.  The recipes mother and son developed together can now be found in their cookbook, "Happily Hungry."  They hope it will help other children and their families survive the treatments designed to kill cancer.

From Fabien Navidi-Kasmai:

In Farsi, they call yogurt "mast."  It isn't spelled like that though, because well, people who speak Farsi write in Farsi, but it's pronounced like "must."

From a young age I've loved mast. My grandma would dice cucumbers and put them in mast, we would put mast on rice, and add honey to mast as a sweet, healthy dessert.  I've even been told stories about how when I was two years old I would demand "more mast!" and my American grandfather would keel over laughing. FULL POST

Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?
A new Consumer Reports investigation examines 10 unknown dangers associated with vitamins, herbs and supplements.
August 2nd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?

Vitamins and supplements could do more harm than good in some cases, according to a new report in Consumer Reports.

The report, in Consumer Reports' September issue, investigates 10 unknown dangers associated with taking vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements. More than half of all Americans take supplements, and the supplement industry has grown to a $27 billion industry.

But supplements aren't necessarily risk-free, according to Dr. Jose Mosquera, medical adviser for Consumer Reports. While patients may believe supplements are safe because they are natural, he says not all supplements are truly all-natural.


A furry angel saved my son
December 23rd, 2011
05:26 PM ET

A furry angel saved my son

Jeff Mitchell of Braselton, Georgia, was 26 years old when he went to war in 2003. In 2007, he was forced to leave the Army through medical retirement after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  After years of futile attempts at treatment, Jeff’s condition began to improve a few months ago after a group called Paws4Vets paired him with a service dog who had undergone her own traumas. Jeff’s mother, Carol, tells what it was like to watch her son struggle.

First, you bargain with God.

Just please let him survive.  Please let us see him again. Oh, please surround our son with your protection.

Prayers are answered. He's back.  He has survived - he's still at Fort Carson thousands of miles from home, but he's back in the United States and he is no longer being targeted by insurgents.

Little did we know then that an even more insidious enemy was trying to take our son. FULL POST

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Filed under: PTSD

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.