Why three is the new terrible two

04 April 2014
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Society in general and moms-to-be in particular are well aware of the legendary “terrible twos.” But every 2-year-old I know, including my own daughter, is quite lovely. Sure, they have their moments. But the ones I observe — and I observe many in various play dates, groups and classes — are, by and large, affectionate, cooperative and perfectly charming. I started to think the terrible twos might be a myth. And then I remembered something my sister-in-law said to me about my now-11-year-old-niece when she was young: “It should be called the terrible threes.”...

New maps may hold clues to brain mysteries

04 April 2014
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(CNN) — The many connections between different parts of the brain have no street signs or trail markers. But in order to better explore this complicated organ that enables us to be conscious, thinking, alert beings, scientists need maps. Big maps. Two studies released Wednesday in the journal Nature showcase brain maps that could have implications for understanding both healthy and impaired brains. One study reveals the most complete map ever of how parts of the brain are connected in a mouse. The other illuminates the developing human brain in terms of genetic expression — specifically,...

Can you die of a broken heart?

01 April 2014
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In 1986, a 44-year-old woman was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital. She felt fine all day, but in the afternoon she developed extreme crushing pain in her chest, radiating through her left arm. It’s a classic sign of a heart attack, but the puzzling thing was that she didn’t suffer from coronary heart disesase. There was no life-threatening clot in the arteries surrounding the heart. It looked, from the outside, like a heart attack, but it wasn’t. Describing the unusual case in the New England Journal of Medicine, Thomas Ryan, and John Fallon suggest the apparent damage...

Vitamin D may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

01 April 2014
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Alzheimer’s disease is possibly the most serious medical condition facing our country today. It is one of the leading causes of death and we have no effective medications. Therefore, it seems that prevention would be the best approach to take for this debilitating illness. Fortunately vitamin D may play an important role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1906 by the German physician Alois Alzheimer. At that time, this form of dementia was quite rare, probably because most people did not live long enough to exhibit the...

Schools increasingly check students for obesity

01 April 2014
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The Chula Vista school district not only measures the academic progress of Marina Beltran’s second-grader, it also measures her son’s body fat. Every two years, Antonio Beltran, like his classmates, steps on a scale. Trained district personnel also measure his height and then use the two figures to calculate his body mass index, an indicator of body fat. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The calculation isn’t reported to Beltran or her son, who cannot see the readout on the scale that has a remote display. Instead it’s used by the district to collect local data on children’s...

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