Health Tip: Why Cough?

(HealthDay News) -- Coughing is the body's way of ridding the respiratory tract of an irritating substance. Allergies, asthma or inhaling secondhand smoke are common triggers for a cough.

Health Tip: Prenatal Care Is Important

(HealthDay News) -- Getting regular checkups and screening tests -- what doctors call prenatal care -- is key to keeping you and the developing baby healthy during pregnancy.

'Screen-Free' Play Best for Toddlers' Brains

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Unstructured play is much better than TV or videos for encouraging brain development in infants and toddlers, a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement says.

Breast-Feeding, Vaccinations Lower SIDS Risk, Experts Say

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say breast-feeding and proper immunizations can both lower baby's risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Parents, Doctors Often Differ on Chemo for Incurable Kids

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with incurable cancer tend to prefer to continue aggressive chemotherapy rather than pursue supportive end-of-life care, researchers have found.

Smoking's Effect on Lungs Similar to Cystic Fibrosis: Study

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking seems to have a similar effect on the lungs as cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease affecting the lungs and other organs, a new study reveals.

Factors Identified That May Raise Risk of Early Menopause

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Certain factors have been found to be associated with a raised risk of early menopause, including having a chronic inflammatory disease or having one of two genes known to be linked to breast cancer, especially among those who smoke, according to two new studies.

Katrina's Aftermath: Failed Pregnancies for IVF Moms Nationwide

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Hurricane Katrina's devastating effects six years ago appear to have extended beyond the Gulf Coast, with miscarriages and premature births among fertility patients rising markedly across the United States in the months after the disaster.

Report Tracks Patient Outcomes at 5,000 U.S. Hospitals

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Large gaps in quality persist among hospitals in the United States, according to a new report that examined patient outcomes at nearly 5,000 hospitals across the country.

Pap Test Still Best for Cervical Cancer Screening, Experts Say

MONDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) --Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing isn't likely to replace conventional Pap tests as a cervical cancer screening tool among women older than 30, a new report suggests.

Hormonal Treatment of Hot Flashes Still OK for Some: Experts

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women do have options when it comes to treating hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, and these still include the short-term use of hormone replacement therapy using estrogen alone, experts conclude in a new consensus report.

Weight Loss Surgery Can Help Whole Families: Study

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- When one member of a family has bariatric surgery to lose weight, other family members may be more likely to shed a few pounds, a new study finds.

Health Highlights: Oct. 18, 2011

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Link Explored Between Colon Cancer, Bacterium

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancers contain high levels of a bacterium that may contribute to the cancer and could prove important in diagnosing, treating and preventing it, according to new research.

Promising Malaria Vaccine May Save Children's Lives

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In an important first, a new vaccine has been shown to cut the risk of malaria in young African children by about half, according to research announced Tuesday.

Fewer Patients Hospitalized for Heart Failure, U.S. Study Finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In the past decade, the number of Medicare patients hospitalized for heart failure has dropped significantly, researchers report.

Study Links New Dialysis Technology to Rise in Bleeding Risk

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A seemingly innocuous change in the way that parts of kidney dialysis machines are sterilized may have adverse health consequences, new research suggests.

More Facebook Friends, More Gray Matter in Brain?

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- People with lots of Facebook friends tend to have areas of the brain that are larger than those of online social network users with fewer friends, British researchers say.