Are Bisphenol A (BPA) Plastic Products Safe?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastics. It is frequently used in sports equipment, water bottles, medical devices, as a coating or lining in food and beverage cans, and in credit card receipts. It leaches out of plastic into liquids and foods, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found measurable amounts of BPA in the bodies of 93% of the U.S. population studied. While early concerns about BPA’s health effects were based primarily on animal studies and research on cells, there is increasing evidence from studies in humans that BPA can cause serious harm, such as increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and sexual dysfunction. Continue reading

Social Networking Sites: Benefits, Problems, and “Facebook Depression”

For better or worse, social networking is an almost unavoidable part of everyday life. The number of people joining social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus is growing exponentially, especially among youth. Due to the prevalence of social media usage among youths, many parents wonder if it is having beneficial or negative effects on their children. Like many things in life, the answer is not so clear-cut: it’s yes and no. Facebook both promotes mental well-being and undermines it. Continue reading

The Failed Promise of Gene Based Tests for Diagnosing and Treating Cancer

When the Human Genome Project released its first “draft” in 2000, many scientists believed it would revolutionize medical research. President Bill Clinton claimed that genetic diagnosis (the ability to tell who has a disease after looking at the genes) would “revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases.”Although the ability to map the human genome has great promise, a decade later it still hasn’t yielded good methods for diagnosing cancer. Even more disappointing: recent scandals and severe product flaws have cast doubt on gene-based research as a whole Continue reading

Procrit, Aranesp, and Epogen–All Risk and No Benefits for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease?

Anemia drugs are widely used by patients on chemotherapy and patients with chronic kidney disease, but there is growing evidence that the misuse of these drugs is harming many patients. The FDA issued a “safety communication” on June 24, 2011 recommending lower doses of anemia drugs for patients with chronic kidney disease. This warning was based on studies showing increased risk of stroke, blood clots, other cardiac problems, and death for patients with chronic kidney disease Continue reading

Getting Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed: Sleepiness, Behavior Problems, and Obesity in Children and Teens

Sleep is essential for the renewal and restoration of the body. But is your child getting enough? Research indicates that children who do not get the recommended 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night may be more likely to have conduct problems at home and in the classroom, as well as suffer from many health problems now and in the future. Continue reading

Can Cleanliness Increase The Risk of Allergies and Asthma?

Is being too clean bad for your health? Research indicates that some of the products we use to avoid germs may contribute to the development of conditions like asthma and allergies. Continue reading

Danger at the Dentist’s (and Orthodontist’s) Office: Children Exposed to Radiation

Has your child been to the orthodontist this year? Was he or she exposed to dangerous levels of radiation? More and more dentists and orthodontists are using an imaging device that delivers significantly higher doses of radiation than regular X-rays. While the machine’s promoters claim that this technology is a safe way to obtain highly detailed images of a patient’s mouth and skull, other health experts are concerned about the cumulative effects of radiation from these scans, and think they shouldn’t be used routinely. Continue reading