Are Bisphenol A (BPA) plastic products safe for infants and children?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastics, and is frequently used in baby bottles, sports equipment, water bottles, medical devices, and as a coating in food and beverage cans. Continue reading

Vytorin and Zetia lower cholesterol but do they improve health?

There are many cholesterol-lowering medications on the market today, but just because a drug lowers cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean that it will improve health or save lives. So, DO cholesterol medications improve health and save lives? Several recent studies seek to answer this question by looking at Vytorin and Zetia–two of the most popular (and expensive) cholesterol medications. Continue reading

Heart CT scans: new heart disease test may cause cancer

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the U.S., so some doctors have recently started using a “CAT scan” (or CT scan) to detect blockages in the heart’s arteries. Unfortunately, a CT scan uses relatively large doses of radiation, which could ultimately lead to many new cases of cancer from increased exposure to radiation. Although heart CT scanning may be a useful tool in detecting blockages in heart arteries, there is not enough evidence to show that this test is worth the risks and is therefore not recommended for screening for heart disease at this time. Continue reading

The facts about medication for colds and the flu

Cold and flu are two of the most common illnesses and there is no “cure” for either. Because antibiotics do not treat symptoms or cure either cold or flu, many people turn to over-the-counter medications in an effort to prevent and treat cold and flu symptoms. But, do these products work, and are they safe? Are they safe for children as well? Can the risks outweigh the benefits? Continue reading

Ginkgo biloba may help memory, but may have serious health risks

Ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and today it is one of the most popular herbal supplements, widely advertised as a beneficial antioxidant that helps prevent memory loss and dementia. Like most herbal products, however, there have been few clinical studies to see if these claims are accurate. Though both possible risks and benefits have been found in research, whether or not ginkgo biloba is good or bad for you is not yet known, and should be discussed with your physician. Continue reading

Obesity in America: are you part of the problem?

Despite our country’s obsession with weight and appearance, most people who are medically overweight don’t realize it. What we’re talking about isn’t annoying “love-handles” or a body that doesn’t match the supermodels we see in magazines. Instead, we’re talking about a condition that significantly threatens health, well-being, and longevity. Our collective weight problem is so bad that only cigarette smoking causes more preventable deaths in America than obesity does. Continue reading

Eating habits that improve health and lower body mass index

More and more research studies are confirming the importance of keeping body mass index (BMI) and waistline measurements under control in order to reduce the risk of disease and premature death. Keeping track of calories and fat percentages can be confusing, and the nutrition labels on the foods we buy aren’t always that helpful. How are consumers supposed to figure out which diet advice is just hype – that ultimately don’t contribute to better health – and which advice offers good, medically sound information? Continue reading

How to report problems with medical products to the FDA

Every year, tens of thousands of consumers suspect that their medicines or medical devices might be causing unexpected side effects. It is sometimes difficult to tell if a health problem is caused by the medical product, or is merely a coincidence. As such, it is important to report suspected problems related to medical products to a physician and to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which may be done through a program called MedWatch. Continue reading