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March 15th, 2013
07:32 AM ET

Moms say two ingredients in Kraft Mac and Cheese pose potential health risk – Elizabeth Cohen investigates

A health story that has two moms are taking on food giant Kraft. They started a petition online calling on Kraft to remove two ingredients from its "Mac and Cheese," a  staple in the diets of thousands of children. These mom food bloggers say the ingredients that give it its bright yellow food color are dangerous.

Now more than 220-thousand people have signed on, asking Kraft to take out the artificial colorings yellow #5 and yellow #6. They point to studies linking artificial food colorings to hyperactivity in children, and cancer in mice. Kraft has already removed them for the European versions of the popular food. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth investigates the story.

The science behind the findings is inconclusive, Cohen reports. “There was a study done in England where they gave some kids food with these dyes in it and then gave some kids food without," Cohen explains. "And they said that they then observed that the kids who had the dyes were more hyperactive." This resulted in the ban in the United Kingdom. But other scientists claim it wasn't well done study, because the hyperactivity could have been due to other ingredients.

Cohen advises concerned parents to make their own decision or their own mac and cheese.

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Filed under: Food safety • Health • Health care • Medical
March 11th, 2013
07:47 AM ET

Actress Valerie Harper diagnosed with rare form of brain cancer – Elizabeth Cohen breaks it down

Actress Valerie Harper, best known for her days on the hit shows "Rhoda" and The Mary Tyler Moore Show has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called that's affecting her brain. CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains exactly what her rare condition is and what Harper is facing.

“This is not a tumor,” Cohen says. Loose cells in Harper’s spinal fluid are affecting her meninges, or the covering over the brain. "There are not a lot of great treatments for this," Cohen says.

CNN is told Harper is receiving chemotherapy. Doctors say "chemotherapy in this case, isn't really done to prolong life," but will help control pain and seizures for the time being, Cohen says. It may prolong life by a few weeks, but not by a lot. “She was told by her doctors [she has] about three months,” Cohen says. “It’s really a terrible, terrible form of cancer.”

Meanwhile, Harper is staying strong, appearing on talk shows to raise awareness about her illness with some inspiring words.

March 6th, 2013
07:37 AM ET

CDC warns about drug-resistant 'nightmare' bug CRE – Elizabeth Cohen reports

There's a new bacteria that medical professionals are worried could become a 'nightmare.' It's called CRE, a form of bacteria that is "impervious to a lot of antibiotics," and "is on the rise," Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reports.

A report from the CDC says that in 2012, 200 hospitals and long-term care facilities had at least one incidence of this bacteria, Cohen reports. “It is spread, basically, by the hands of people who work in hospitals,” she says.

Cohen explains how you can protect yourself as a patient, starting with asking doctors and nurses to clean their hands and cleaning your own hands.

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Filed under: Health • Medical
March 5th, 2013
07:09 AM ET

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health worsens – Shasta Darlington reports

From CNN Wires:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fighting a new infection, and his breathing problems have worsened, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said late Monday.

"There is a worsening of the respiratory function, related to the state of his depressed immune system," Villegas said, reading an official statement on state-run VTV.

He reported Chavez is battling a new and "severe" infection, stressing that his overall condition remains "very delicate." Chavez is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments, he said.

"The president continues to hold fast to Christ and to life, aware of the difficulties he's facing," Villegas said.

This morning on "Early Start," Shasta Darlington reports on the latest in Chavez's condition.

Read More: Battling a new infection, Chavez has breathing problems

March 4th, 2013
08:06 AM ET

Actor Taye Diggs teams up with Kellogg's in 'Share Breakfast' campaign to end childhood hunger in America

Actor Taye Diggs may be best known for his starring roles on the TV drama "Private Practice" and as the opportunistic landlord in Jonathan Larson's groundbreaking musical, “Rent.” But now he has a new role on the national stage working to fight child hunger in America. He's teaming up with Kellogg's as a paid spokesman, to help with their "Share Breakfast" campaign.

Kellogg's is pledging $1 million to breakfast programs to help the one in five U.S. children who start each day without breakfast. This is national breakfast week and Diggs comes to “Early Start” to share more on the campaign.

A staggering 16.7 million children currently struggle with hunger in United States. “People don't realize that this is an issue we are dealing with in our own country,” Diggs says. “So I teamed up with Kellogg's and we are participating in the Share Breakfast program, which is focusing on getting over a million breakfasts out to kids that otherwise would go without.” He says their ultimate goal is to end childhood hunger.

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Filed under: Childhood • Health • Hunger
March 4th, 2013
07:39 AM ET

ADHD may continue in adulthood, lead to another psychiatric disorder – Elizabeth Cohen reports

A new study finds nearly 30% of people diagnosed with ADHD as children continue to have it well into their late twenties. Of that number, more than half (57%) had another psychiatric disorder. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth has more on the finding.

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Filed under: Childhood • Health • Health care
March 4th, 2013
07:03 AM ET

Baby in Mississippi unexpectedly 'cured' of HIV – Elizabeth Cohen reports

Doctors say they've cured a two-year-old in Mississippi of HIV, Cohen reports.

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Filed under: Health • HIV
January 16th, 2013
06:36 AM ET

Calorie shock: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen looks at hidden calories in restaurant dishes

Who doesn't love going out to dinner?

Well, you may think twice after you see how many calories are packed into meals at some popular restaurants.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen shares some astronomical calorie counts on "Early Start" this morning.

Filed under: Calorie counts • Health
August 7th, 2012
10:57 AM ET

Inside the mind of an extreme hoarder – CNN's Elizabeth Cohen discusses new study

According to a new study in Archives of General Psychiatry, two regions of the brain go on high alert when a hoarder is forced to decide whether to keep something they own or throw it away.

This response is quite different from people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder and from people without any mental disorder at all.

On Early Start this morning, CNN's Elizabeth Cohen explains the new study and explains why many hoarders get upset when they are offered help with their problem.

Filed under: Health
May 25th, 2012
09:01 AM ET

15-year-old wins big prize for pancreatic cancer detection test

Students from across the country competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair last week in Pittsburgh, and out of the 1,500 kids who competed from more than 70 countries, 15 year old Jack Andraka was named the top winner, landing the $75,000 grand prize.

Andraka, a high school freshman, created a non-invasive and cheap way to detect pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

The test uses a dip-stick sensor, based on diabetic test paper, to test blood or urine for signs of early stage pancreatic cancer.

Boasting a 90% accuracy rate, the patent-pending sensor is 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive and over 400 times more sensitive than previous tests. Andraka believes the sensor can also be extended to detect ovarian and lung cancers.

Andraka talks to Alina Cho on Early Start today about his big win and what’s next for him.

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Filed under: Health
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