Orajel, Benzocaine, and Teething – What Parents Should Know

Natalie Rosseau, Kristine Chin, and Simon Essig Aberg National Center for Health Research When babies start to get teeth, it can be painful–and no parent wants to see their baby suffer! But teething gels have risks as well as benefits. … Continue reading

Cancer of the Immune System (ALCL) in 173 Women with Breast Implants

Diana Zuckerman, PhD, National Center for Health Research A recent study of 173 women with cancer of the immune system caused by breast implants [1] was paid for by a plastic surgery medical association and written by plastic surgeons who … Continue reading

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Diana Zuckerman, PhD Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund A growing body of evidence suggests that using talc in the genital area can increase a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer.  And the more years she uses talc, the more likely … Continue reading

5 Airplane Travel Health Tips

Natalie Rosseau 2016 Did you know that more than 230 million passengers are scheduled to fly on U.S. airlines this summer, setting a record high for summer air travel? If you or your loved ones are among them, here are … Continue reading

“Study drug” abuse by college students: What you need to know

Approximately 2.5 million Americans are prescribed prescription stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a brain disorder that makes it difficult to concentrate and increases impulsive behavior. Prescription stimulants help to reduce these symptoms. However, many people use these drugs for non-medical purposes and without a prescription, especially college students who buy them from a friend with a prescription. Continue reading

Are processed meats more dangerous than other red meats? Yes!

You have probably heard it many times already–whether from your doctor, a health magazine, or a health promotion poster: don’t eat too much red meat. Red meat has been linked to health problems such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. But, the latest research tells a somewhat different story. Red meat-beef, pork, and lamb-may not deserve its bad rap for those diseases. It’s possibly processed red meats, like bacon, hot dogs, and salami, that are the bigger problem. Continue reading

Some antibiotics are riskier than others: what you should know about quinolones

Even when there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics should be chosen with care to ensure that patients receive the antibiotic that is most effective for their specific condition and comes with the fewest risks. Just as penicillins are best for syphilis and macrolides for tonsillitis, quinolones are only preferred for treating certain types of bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and some skin infections. Even for patients over 60 with any of these conditions, other antibiotics may be a safer option. 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

Namenda only works for severe Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Memantine, known by the brand name Namenda, was approved by the FDA in 2003 for use in people with “moderately severe to severe” Alzheimer’s disease. The FDA rejected the manufacturer’s application to expand approval to include moderate or mild Alzheimer’s. However, the drug is often prescribed “off-label” for patients with mild Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment even though there is no evidence of its benefit. Continue reading

Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in military veterans: when two problems collide

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur as a result of experiencing a traumatic event. One of the largest groups of people who are diagnosed with PTSD consists of recent members of the U.S. military forces. Members of the military are also at risk for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A recent study in JAMA Psychiatry, a publication of the American Medical Association, found a connection between TBI and PTSD. Continue reading

Health risks of not enough sleep: Why Z’s Matter!

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can cause health problems beyond just feeling tired and worn out? Recent studies have found that lack of adequate sleep is related to weight gain, sexual problems, reduced concentration, mental health problems, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Good news for coffee drinkers: the health benefits outweigh the risks for most people

Recent research suggests that coffee offers more health benefits than risks for most people. However, women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and women over 65 should probably limit their coffee intake because for them, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Continue reading

Do heartburn medications (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, etc) cause kidney disease?

Popular heartburn prescriptions include Prilosec, Nexium Prevacid, Kapidex, Aciphex and Protonix, which are all a type of drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI). New research shows that people who take popular heartburn medications are more likely to develop serious kidney disease. Continue reading

Are breast implants safe?

The FDA announced that saline and silicone gel breast implants were linked to a rare cancer of the immune system; in an unrelated scandal, tens of thousands of defective breast implants were recalled in Europe. These developments illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the safeguards intended to protect patients in different countries from unsafe breast implants and other medical devices. Continue reading

Statins lower cholesterol but will they reduce your risk of heart attacks or strokes?

The FDA issued new safety warnings for statins in February 2012 about the increased risk for diabetes, memory loss and muscle pain, symptoms that we have been warning patients about for some time. Continue reading

Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa, and Risperdal are widely used but with dangerous side effects

For patients who suffer from depression or anxiety, it’s hard to know which medication is best. It seems everyday a new “wonder drug” is introduced, often costing 10 or 20 times as much as older medications. Things become even more confusing when doctors prescribe medications “off label.” One example is Seroquel. Not approved to specifically treat depression or anxiety, of what kinds of dangers should one be aware? Continue reading

2016 Update: When should women start regular mammograms? 40? 50? And how often is “regular”?

In recent years, there has been a growing concern that annual mammograms starting at age 40 may do more harm than good for many women. That is why the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an expert group that reviews the latest research findings, recommends that mammography screening for most women start at age 50 rather than 40, and that the frequency be every two years (instead of annually) through the age of 74. Continue reading

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

Health Insurance: It’s open enrollment season – now what?

Laurén A. Doamekpor 2015 In case you hadn’t noticed, open enrollment season is upon us! Open enrollment is the time every fall when you have the chance to either stick with your old health insurance plan or pick a new … Continue reading

What would impact of 21st Century Cures Act be on your healthcare costs and the lives of Alzheimer’s patients?

A controversial proposed new health law would have had a terrible impact on the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their families, who would have spent billions on medications that don’t work and can cause cancer. Continue reading

Do beauty products affect hormones, early puberty, birth defects, and other health problems?

There is mounting evidence that suggests harmful chemicals in personal care products could be a potential cause of early puberty and other health issues. Continue reading

Aspirin: could it reduce your risk for cancer?

Often called a “wonder drug,” aspirin reduces aches and pains, fever, and swelling, and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. Low dose aspirin is used as an inexpensive drug to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients that have had previous attacks or have coronary artery disease. More recent research suggests it might also lower our chances of developing several types of cancer, and help keep cancer from spreading. Continue reading

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

FDA revisits safety of the Essure contraceptive device

NPR, 2015: Many women rely on birth control throughout their lives to prevent unwanted or untimely pregnancies. The Essure contraceptive device is placed in the fallopian tubes essentially sterilizing the woman. This alternative to traditional sterilization methods has caused immense harm to many women and provoked strong responses from patient advocacy organizations and professionals in the health care industry. Continue reading

Osteoporosis: how to avoid it and how to treat it

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that causes the bones to thin and weaken to a point where they break more easily, particularly the hip, spine and wrist. Why should YOU be concerned? What are the causes? How may it be prevented and treated? What are the risks and benefits of various medications? This article seeks to answer such questions based on recent research. Continue reading

Benadryl and other common medications are linked to dementia in men and women

Many people turn to over-the-counter medicines when they need relief from allergy and cold symptoms or have trouble falling asleep. That’s why you might be concerned about a new study showing that one of the most common of those drugs—Benadryl—could lead to serious health problems, including dementia. Continue reading

Hormone therapy and menopause

In recent years, many women have stopped taking hormone replacement therapy because of growing evidence that the risks outweigh the benefits for most women. However, millions still struggle with the decision: should I go on, should I stay on, or should I go off? A closer look at the questionable need for hormone therapy, and it’s risks and benefits. Continue reading

Preventing hip fracture: do supplements help?

In 2012, calcium and vitamin D made headlines in the health world when many new studies on the effectiveness and safety of supplements were released. Read more about these nutrients and why you should or should not take supplements. Continue reading

Breastfeeding or formula: new evidence or just the media crying wolf?

Deciding whether to breastfeed or formula-feed is probably one of the first choices expectant parents have to make and has led to a heated debate between supporters of each side. Contrary to conventional wisdom about breastfeeding, in March 2014, a study was published finding little or no difference between siblings who were breast or formula-fed. Here’s a closer look at what the study really says Continue reading

Oil pulling: snake oil or a worthwhile health practice?

The latest health and beauty trend called “oil pulling” may seem a little unusual. Oil pulling is an Indian practice that is over 3,000 years-old. It is supposed to improve oral health by strengthening teeth and gums and preventing decay and bleeding gums. But it’s still unclear whether or how the practice actually works to get rid of bad bacteria in our mouths. It’s also unknown what the long term effects on oral and overall health may be. Continue reading

Pesticides and Alzheimer’s disease

Several studies have shown that individuals regularly exposed to pesticides and herbicides are more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease (PD), which makes it difficult for people to control their movements and can cause emotional changes. Now, there is reason to believe that pesticide exposure can also increase a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. 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

New warnings on popular birth control, Yaz

With all the different brands of birth control pills out there, most women have no idea which ones they should choose. Being aware of pill-related risks may aid that decision. In August 2009, two independent studies found that the type of hormone used in Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills put women at higher risk of blood clots than other birth control pills. As such, to reduce risk, it may be best to avoid taking pills that contain drospirenone, such as Yaz, since they increase your risk of blood clots more than other birth control pills. Continue reading

Metal Hypersensitivity to TMJ Implant Materials

Hypersensitivity to TMJ implant materials is an issue that we are frequently hearing from TMJ patients. Metal hypersensitivity (or metal sensitivity) can be defined as an immune reaction that is triggered by specific cells of the body’s immune system in response to certain metals (like: nickel, cobalt, and chromium). Continue reading

Avandia: what’s known and not known

Since heart disease is the #1 cause of death among diabetics, it is reasonable to ask why a diabetes drug that possibly increases rather than decreases the risk of heart disease should remain on the market. Are warnings enough to keep patients safe? After looking at the study results, many experts are urging that patients and doctors consider whether older drugs for diabetes may be safer and more effective–as well as much less expensive. They are asking: should Avandia remain on the market? Continue reading

Another reason to keep the weight off: knee pain and the risk of surgery

2013. When it comes to knees giving out or having problems, it turns out that excess weight is just as bad as or maybe worse than getting older. Changes in diet and exercise can reduce your pain and help you avoid or delay surgery. Continue reading

Do cognitive enhancing drugs improve memory and thinking in older adults?

About 1 in 5 adults who are 71 years old or older have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which means they have more trouble thinking and remembering than most other people their age, but their condition is not severe enough to be considered dementia or Alzheimer’s. What are the outcomes of screenings and drug therapy? Continue reading

Barefoot and minimalist running: what you need to know

Barefoot and minimalist running are the new crazes in the running world, but can you really run faster, longer, and with fewer injuries by shedding your shoes? Find out the benefits and risks of barefoot running to see if it is really a good option for your workout. Continue reading

6 things you need to know about juicing your veggies

There is no question that eating your vegetables is good for your health, but what about drinking them? Juicing vegetables is one of the latest health trends, so here’s what you need to know about adding fresh juices to your diet. Continue reading

Which medications, tests, and treatments should you really get? Recommendations for “Choosing Wisely”

When it comes to our health we often want to know as much as possible. But sometimes there is just too much information on what to do to stay healthy. Continue reading

Comments on proposed order “Requests for Ban or Standard on Adult Portable Bed Rails”

July 30, 2013 — Comments of the National Research Center for Women & Families on Proposed Order “Requests for Ban or Standard on Adult Portable Bed Rails”: We are writing to urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take strong action to protect consumers from dangerous bed rails by either:
1) Establishing mandatory safety standards for adult portable bed rails with adequate warning labels, OR
2) Banning these bed rails if it is determined that they cannot be made safe. Continue reading

How do you recover from rape?

After being sexually assaulted, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Several studies suggest that group therapy is more effective at reducing PTSD, anxiety, and depression than individual therapy. However, group therapy may not be the best choice for everyone. Find out what other forms of therapy are available so you can decide what is right for you or a loved one. Continue reading

Angelina Jolie’s decision

Huffington Post. 16 May 2013. Dr. Diana Zuckerman writes, “Let’s use Angelina Jolie’s announcement to have a frank discussion of the treatment choices for breast cancer and to encourage women to make decisions based on their own situations not on the choice of a celebrity, however admirable she is.” Continue reading