The brain controls the central nervous system, and when the internal circuitry stops working correctly, the results can be devastating. Learn about Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and other conditions.
With more than 5 million people suffering from Alzheimer's disease in the United States, a number that's expected to rise to 16 million by 2050, the pressure is on to find better methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
When Alden Waters gets migraines, she feels as if her head is being squeezed into a vise. Depending on what she has eaten, she may vomit. The headache takes longer to go away if she can't rest and goes to teach her math classes anyway.
You may remember her as the title character from NBC's "Blossom," or recognize her as brainy Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory."
In 1990, Garen Staglin received a phone call that would change the course of his life.
Patrick Kennedy is sprawled in a too-small chair in a tiny courtyard in Atlanta, talking to a reporter and trying to catch the early spring sunlight.
For years, dermatologists have been aware of -- and baffled by -- people who feel a constant creepy-crawly sensation beneath their skin, which they believe is due to bugs, worms, or eggs below the surface.
"I'm edging towards being a recluse, but choose daily to fight for release from this crippling prison."
In January, a bullet fired from point-blank range tore through her brain. Just last week, she was seen walking, albeit with effort, up the stairs of an airplane.
His was a suicide with a macabre twist. In February, former Chicago Bears safety David Duerson shot himself in the chest, but not before leaving behind a note requesting his brain be studied for evidence of a disease striking football players.
His was a suicide with a macabre twist. In February, former Chicago Bears safety David Duerson shot himself in the chest, but not before leaving behind a note requesting that his brain be studied for evidence of a disease striking football players.
An airborne virus is rapidly turning people into zombies. Two-thirds of humanity has been wiped out. Scientists desperately look for a cure, even as their own brains deteriorate and the disease robs them of what we consider life.
A drug widely used to treat mild Alzheimer's disease appears to provide no benefit to this group of early stage patients, according to a new analysis of previously conducted research.
It's become a classic scenario: You have a headache and after Googling it, you find out a headache can be a sign of a brain tumor.
Former NFL lineman Shane Dronett's transformation from an affable prankster, quick to flash a wry smile, to a person who was often frightened -- and frightening -- was subtle at first.
Science has finally confirmed what anyone who's ever been in love already knows: Heartbreak really does hurt.
Chatting on a cell phone while attempting to cross the street may be particularly hazardous for older adults, a new study suggests.
Tregg Duerson, his face drawn and his eyes exhausted, expressed confusion and dismay about many of the details surrounding his father's suicide last week. But he is sure about one thing.
The radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells, according to a new government-funded study.
Gradual hearing loss is a common symptom of aging, but in some people it may also be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, a new study suggests.
Right before Christmas 2002, Tara Hallman was told her 20-week-old fetus had spina bifida, a common birth defect of the spine.
So, the Packers won the Super Bowl, but fans of mixed martial arts can't stop talking about how Anderson Silva took down Vitor Belfort in an Ultimate Fighting Championship title match with a single kick.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head suffered January 8, is regaining part of her ability to speak and recently asked for toast while having breakfast, staffers said Wednesday.
"Bull in the ring" is a drill almost as old as football.
For an injury that is largely invisible, it is no small irony that a new test to detect concussion involves the eyes.
The doctor currently in charge of Gabrielle Giffords' neurological recovery, the man who's had his very hands in Giffords' brain, was once mistaken for a kung fu expert.
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration has recommended that devices used in electroconvulsive therapy ?also known as "electroshock therapy"?should continue to be classified as high risk.
Parents of future athletes, scientists, judges and corner-office executives, take note: An enriched play environment is critical to a baby's development and teaches skills he will use later in life.
Job interviews can give anyone the jitters; for Jeff Davis, they were torturous.
From a rehabilitation center in New York, Emilie Gossiaux has been planning her next art project, which she will probably never see. She's thinking it will involve constructing a chair out of wood and then covering it in multicolored clay to turn it into a completely different shape.
A thumbs up. Two opened eyes. A smile. These simple signs of recognition from U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords kept hope alive for her recovery from a bullet to the head January 8. And later this week, her parents have told family members and friends in an e-mail, she'll be moved to Houston, Texas, to begin aggressive rehab with a team of medical specialists.
He walks slowly and gingerly, with a slight limp. But retired Sgt. Maury Hernandez will tell you that he's doing just fine.
After surviving a gunshot wound to the head at a political event Saturday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition, and Tuesday was seen as significant in her recovery.
After surviving a gunshot wound to the head at political event Saturday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition, and Tuesday was seen as significant in her recovery.
Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner knows how it feels when a 250-pound defender is charging after him on the playing field. He knows the frenzied scramble, the attempt to evade a defender. Warner also knows, when none of that works, how it feels to have 250 pounds of flesh crushing him.
Today is a rare day. Fred McNeill is animated, beaming. Sunlight glances over his face as he relives the glory days 30 years ago when he was a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings.
Max Conradt was used to defensive linemen hurtling their 300-pound frames at him week after week. He was a high school quarterback, the team leader who took his licks and got back up.
Donna Landrigan had been acting strangely for almost a month.
Marijuana makes you slow and raises the risk of addiction, memory problems and cognitive functions, some health agencies warn.
An essential nutrient found in fish oil does not appear to slow the mental decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Of the 84,000 chemicals on the market today -- many of which are in objects that people come into contact with every day -- only about 1 percent of them have been studied for safety, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Tuesday.
People who consume lots of foods rich in vitamin B12 -- such as fish and fortified cereals -- may be at lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than people who take in less of the vitamin, a small study conducted in Finland suggests.
Concussions for student-athletes not only cause headaches and impair concentration and everyday function, they can be deadly, experts testified in a congressional hearing Thursday.
An autopsy of a 21-year-old college football player who committed suicide has revealed mild stages of a type of brain damage typically seen in retired or aging athletes and can cause neurobehavioral disorders and bizarre behavior.
Just like the right diet can prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, health experts are finding that certain foods may boost your mind.
With his head bowed and a barely detectable quiver in his voice, the baseball player known as the "Iron Horse" devastated the crowd at Yankee Stadium, not by hitting a home run, but by announcing that he was dying.
Young, athletic and troubled -- NFL player Chris Henry might have been a football cliché.
A growing body of research is linking five chemicals -- among the most common in the world -- to a host of ailments, including cancer, sexual problems and behavioral issues.
Actor Gary Coleman battled major medical problems including an on-set seizure, several operations, transplants and a lifelong kidney condition.
People who experience serious head injuries often require days -- if not weeks -- of medical care to get back on their feet. For most of them, the mental aftershocks will last long after they've checked out of the hospital.
Imagine having your back cut open, part of your spine removed, a stabilizing device that resembles a mini oil rig mounted on your back, the outer membrane of your spinal cord sliced open and experimental stem cells injected into it -- all for the advancement of science because it's not expected to benefit you.
Sleep has long been known to improve performance on memory tests. Now, a new study suggests that an afternoon power nap may boost your ability to process and store information tenfold -- but only if you dream while you're asleep.
Four years ago, novelist Siri Hustvedt stood at a memorial for her father and began to speak. And shake. Her arms flailed and legs buckled. She had no idea what was happening, but her mind was clear and she could talk clearly, unheard of during typical seizures.
The first week of each month, Karen and Jerry Vaneman pack their car for a four-hour drive from Asheville, North Carolina, to the medical complex at Duke University. Inside the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Karen waits patiently as a parade of doctors and technicians pokes and prods, taking samples of all kinds. On this day alone, she gives 21 vials of blood.
When Ryan Wallace got a diagnosis of autism at age 2, his parents never thought they'd hear him speak.
When mothers speak to children, it's often in a singsong tone. That's no coincidence, scientists say, given that music and language are so intricately linked in the brain.
When your favorite hospital drama star is treating a patient who's having seizures, you might want to pay more attention to what's revealed about the doctor's personal life than what he or she is actually doing.
A 10-year study examining 4.9 million births in the 1990s has found more evidence that there's a link between autism and the mother's age at conception.
Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and limiting dairy and meat could do more than keep your heart healthier. It could also help keep you thinking clearly.
For more than 20 years, former San Francisco 49ers lineman George Visger has lived his life out of hundreds of small yellow notebooks. In them he scrawls the minutiae of his daily life: "4:45 am left house. 2 stops to find coffee and a roll. Paper work till 9:25. 10:05 Ed called."
Cruise Bogle, 18, was skimboarding with friends in Delray Beach, Florida, when he took a wave that whipped his board out from under him. Bogle was thrown backward, and his head hit the ocean floor. When friends saw him lying still in the surf, they knew something was wrong and rushed him to the hospital.
The second-to-last time EJ Levy was at Disney World, she used a scooter to navigate the enormous park. Her legs were weak and she suffered from foot drop caused by multiple sclerosis. That was 4½ years ago. On her most recent trip, a few months ago, Levy walked the entire time, thanks in part to a drug approved by the FDA on Friday.
For the first time in the United States, stem cells have been directly injected into the spinal cord of a patient, researchers announced Thursday.
Doctors are already good at diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in a patient with obvious symptoms, which include memory loss, vision problems and confusion. But the cutting-edge research is looking for the brain mechanisms of the condition at its earliest stages, maximizing the potential for intervention.
Ginkgo biloba has failed -- again -- to live up to its reputation for boosting memory and brain function. Just over a year after a study showed that the herb doesn't prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease, a new study from the same team of researchers has found no evidence that ginkgo reduces the normal cognitive decline that comes with aging.
Life was good for Kenny Sparks. A handsome man with a big smile, he was well-known in his town of Little Compton, Rhode Island. He had a loving wife, two beautiful, college-age children and was the co-owner of a multimillion-dollar contracting business.
Psychological trauma may leave a visible trace in a child's brain, scientists say.
Henry Molaison, known as H.M. in scientific literature, was perhaps the most famous patient in all of brain science in the 20th century.
As a large silver balloon floated its way over Colorado, millions of Americans spent hours glued to their televisions wondering if 6-year-old Falcon Heene, assumed to be inside the contraption, was alive.
Michelle Mack has turned medical thinking upside down.
Alcohol, a drug that is a major cause of accidents, may actually protect the brain from a life-threatening injury when an accident does occur, according to a study published this week in Archives of Surgery.
Matthew Sanchez had rarely seen his father cry. But when Rudjard Hayes looked at the X-rays of his son's spine after a high school football accident, he held his wife close and broke down, not knowing that his son could see him.
When cancer invades the brain, the prognosis is usually grim. Despite his treatment at highly regarded medical centers, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who served as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts for nearly 47 years, died just over a year after his surgery.
She was called "the littlest refusenik," one of the many Soviet Jews denied permission to leave the Soviet Union because her father had been exposed to government secrets.
Ever find yourself chatting via instant messaging while checking your e-mail and surfing the Web? Well, don't pat yourself on the back for your super-productive behavior.
For Brad Cohen, the barking and squealing noises he could not control began in the fifth grade.
You're in a room with 10 other people who seem to agree on something, but you hold the opposite view. Do you say something? Or do you just go along with the others?
From supermarkets to the office supply store, it's hard to miss those tiny bottles of 5-hour Energy.
Want to keep your wits sharp as the years go by? You're not alone. Most people are worried about losing their memory as they age, and a new study shows it's a valid concern: In fact, at 53 percent -- more than half of all people -- have at least a minor mental decline in their 70s and 80s, and about 16 percent develop more serious problems with memory and other mental functions as they age.
What was the name of that guy with that stuff in that place with those things? Don't you remember?
If you're looking to curb your appetite and improve your memory, you're probably exercising, eating healthier foods and trying to get some sleep.
Besides charting the nature of space and time and penning the bestseller "A Brief History of Time," Stephen Hawking has another distinction: He beat the life-expectancy odds for people with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Connie and Donald McCracken were watching CNN one evening last week when they learned of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson from a head injury. Immediately, their minds turned to their 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, who was upstairs getting ready for bed.
Every week, Jackie Kaminer of Roswell, Georgia, buys fish for dinner at the local market. Although she knows it's full of nutrients -- including good-for-your-heart omega-3 fatty acids -- she's careful of the types of fish she brings home.
When Julian Asher listens to an orchestra, he doesn't just hear music; he also sees it. The sounds of a violin make him see a rich burgundy color, shiny and fluid like a red wine, while a cello's music flows like honey in a golden yellow hue.
We all make bad decisions sometimes. In some contexts, to a certain extent, psychologists know why.
A blow to the head that at first seems minor and does not result in immediate pain or other symptoms can in fact turn out to be a life-threatening brain injury, experts tell CNN.
Children and teens who have a parent with bipolar disorder are 14 times more likely than their peers to have bipolar-like symptoms themselves, and are two to three times more likely to be found to have an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, according to a report in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
The government is warning that taking the psoriasis drug Raptiva could result in serious brain infection and even death.
Brain scans may identify which patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, are likely to progress to Alzheimer's disease, and who will probably not develop the disease, according to a new study. The findings, published in April 2009 issue of the journal Radiology, could help in developing new drugs for Alzheimer's. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, about 3.5 million have mild cognitive impairment.
Key structural changes have been identified in the brain images of some patients with mild cognitive impairment which could help determine who's at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.
Years ago, a frustrated boy with a violent temper attacked his own mother with a hammer (his older brother restrained him). He stabbed a schoolmate over a dispute about which radio station to listen to; the knife blade luckily hit a belt buckle.
Ever wonder how your fingers can tell that silk feels different from paper, which feels different from wood?
Placebos, or "sugar pills," have been used in medicine since ancient times. Today, most placebos are given in clinical trial studies for new drugs. A study in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 45 percent of Chicago, Illinois, internists report they have used a placebo for patients at some time during their clinical practice. Only 4 percent of those admitted they were giving a placebo.
For years after his NFL career ended, Ted Johnson could barely muster the energy to leave his house.
Susan Craig's brother Roger died of a pulmonary embolism in 2007, at age 38. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in high school, he had been on antipsychotic drugs for years. At the time of his death, he was carrying 280 pounds on his 6-foot-4-inch frame.
People with Parkinson's disease who have a pacemaker-like device implanted in the brain spend an extra four-plus hours a day free of tremors and involuntary movements than they do on medication, according to the largest study of the treatment, which is known as deep brain stimulation.
Age-related macular degeneration is a baby-boomer disease that, according to the American Medical Association, affects more than 10 million Americans. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over age 65. A study published in the July 2007 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that current smokers are four times more likely to develop this eye problem than nonsmokers.
For the 150,000 American women entering menopause each month, the mood swings, hot flashes and libido changes that often accompany a drop in estrogen can leave them feeling like they need help. In the past, hormone replacement therapy was often used to help ease symptoms, but compelling research has shown a significant drop in breast cancer cases among women over 50 after they stopped hormone therapy. This leaves many women asking, how do I manage menopause?
A National Institutes of Health study from November 2007 found that in youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the brain matures in a normal pattern. However, it is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared with youth without the disorder. The researchers used a new image analysis technique that allowed them to pinpoint the thinning and thickening of sites in the cortex of the brains of hundreds of children and teens with and without the disorder. The findings bolster the idea that ADHD results from a delay in the maturation of the cortex.
Stress-induced analgesia occurs when an injured person can ignore the pain of an injury because of other stressful situations going on at the same time. For example, if you bang your shin while hiking, it stops hurting if you see a mountain lion. Researchers say a stress hormone, noradrenaline, also known as norepinephrine, which floods the bloodstream during stressful events, numbs the brain's pain-processing pathway. Previous studies have shown that adrenaline is also part of the reason that certain forms of stress can boost the immune system and help fight off the flu. A study on rats explains how someone injured in a car wreck can still manage to save other people.
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