Kennedy Recovering After Brain Cancer Surgery
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, 76, will face chemotherapy and radiation treatments after having surgery for a cancerous brain tumor yesterday at Duke University Medical Center, the Associated Press reports. Doctors said the 3 1/2-hour surgery was a success, but they did not provide details about how much of his tumor was removed. Kennedy is expected to remain in the hospital for about a week.
Health Buzz reported on Kennedy's surgery yesterday. Last month, Health Editor Bernadine Healy explained why the diagnosis of a malignant glioma—the type of tumor Kennedy has—may not be so grim. Healy once had a seizure that led to the detection of the same type of tumor. She discussed her own battle with brain cancer in U.S. News and her book Living Time.
Autism Linked to Prematurity, Low Birth Weight
Babies who are born early or underweight may have more than double the risk of developing autism down the road, according to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings are interesting but will not benefit patients at this time, researchers said. Still, the study underscores the need to monitor kids who are born early or with low birth weight for treatable behavioral problems.
U.S. News's Nancy Shute explained last month why a study linking autism and schizophrenia—while scary on its face—was actually good news. Earlier, she reported on evidence dismissing the link between vaccines and autism. And Healy recently looked into the autism-vaccine link.
New Research Lends Insight into Marijuana's Effect on the Brain
Marijuana's effect on the brain is far from understood, but Australian research published yesterday in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that very heavy long-term smoking might be associated with structural changes in two areas of the brain rich in receptors to the drug, Sarah Baldauf reports. The hippocampus, believed to regulate emotion and memory, and the amygdala, which plays a role in aggression and fear, were smaller—12 percent and 7 percent, respectively—in a group that smoked at least five joints daily for at least the past 10 years (and, on average, 20 years) when compared with a nonsmoking group.
Marijuana has been in the news lately for other reasons, too. U.S. News reported on possible links between pot smoking and depression and heart disease risk and marijuana use. Baldauf also explained what parents need to know about pot.
Fruit Juice Not Linked to Weight Gain
A new study published yesterday finds no link between drinking fruit juice and being overweight, Katherine Hobson reports. The results show that kids ages 2 to 11 who drank 100 percent juice tended to have better intake of nutrients like vitamin C than kids who did not and that drinking juice wasn't related to weight status.
The study, which appears in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, also found that kids who drink juice had lower intakes of saturated fats and added sugars. The juice drinkers were more likely to eat more whole fruits, too, suggesting that kids who are drinking 100 percent juice also have other good eating habits.
—January W. Payne