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

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

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

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

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

December 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

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

Choosing Wisely: Medical Tests You Probably Don’t Need

Consumer Reports and the ABIM Foundation are working with medical specialty societies to create lists of “5 Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” as part of a national campaign called Choosing Wisely (www.choosingwisely.org). Here is their list of tests that are given too often, including recommendations about when they are most likely to be useful or necessary. 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

Comments on Proposed Order “Requests for Ban or Standard on Adult Portable Bed Rails”

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

All the Reasons You Need to Get Your Zs: The Health Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep

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

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): What is it and what are the signs?

Monthly changes in hormones affect nearly all women. Some of the symptoms are more bothersome or noticeable than others, and sometimes they signal health problems. Studies show that 4% to 18% of women of reproductive age have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It can be difficult to diagnose because it is similar to so many other conditions. What is PCOS, and what are the signs? Continue reading

NRC and Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition comments to FDA: Don’t need a new pathway for antibiotics for limited populations!

The FDA considered a new way to approve drugs for use in small patient populations. NRC warn that such a pathway would put patients at risk of harm by giving them poorly studied drugs without knowing if the drugs provide any benefit. Continue reading

Can Taking Fish Oil Supplements Help Lung Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy?

Fish oil is a well-known supplement that is said to have many benefits. Research shows that taking fish oil may help lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy respond better to treatment and reduce side effects of chemotherapy. Continue reading

Are Breast Implants Safe?: New Questions

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

Testimony of Dr. Jennifer Yttri on Bedaquiline

Dr. Yttri testifies to the FDA Committee that the data on bedaquiline indicate that the benefit to patients with multi drug resistant tuberculosis is questionable. The FDA’s responsibility is to approve drugs that will help, not harm, consumers. Treatments exist for patients with multi drug resistant tuberculosis that are safer without the addition of bedaquiline. Continue reading

Statement by Senior Fellow Jennifer Yttri, PhD, at FDA Public Hearing on Antiseptic Preoperative Skin Preparation Products

Dr. Yttri testifies to the FDA on the serious public health issue of contamination of antiseptic products. First, we support the recommendation of the August 2009 Advisory Committee in ensuring that all antiseptic patient preoperative skin preparation products are held to current good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. Second, the FDA should remove ineffective antiseptics from the market. Third, as extrinsic contamination accounts for the majority of contamination outbreaks, FDA should require product packaging that would reduce extrinsic manipulation. Finally, while the majority of outbreaks seem to be related to extrinsic contamination, intrinsic contamination introduced during manufacturing most likely accounts for a greater number of contaminated products. Continue reading

Statement from Dr. Jennifer Yttri, senior fellow, at the FDA Public Hearing Establishing a List of Qualifying Pathogens for the GAIN Act

Dr. Yttri testifies to the FDA that the growing risk of antibiotic resistant pathogens and need for development and responsible use of new antibiotics are critical public health concerns that need to be addressed. 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

Pancreatic Cancer: Could Bacteria in our Mouth Help us Detect this Deadly Cancer Sooner?

Pancreatic cancer has an extremely low survival rate because it is difficult to detect at early stages. A method for earlier diagnosis would greatly improve patients’ chances of survival. New research suggests that a specific type of oral bacteria might serve as a warning sign for pancreatic cancer. 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

Adolescents, Celebrity Worship, and Cosmetic Surgery

A new study shows that media portrayals of celebrities influence how adolescents feel about their looks and influence their decisions to undergo cosmetic surgery. Young adults are not just mimicking the clothing and hairstyles of their favorite celebrities, but rather undergoing invasive procedures to feel better about how they look. 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

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

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

Recall of Device to Treat Irregular Heartbeats is Worrying Patients Who Have Them in Their Bodies

Defibrillators are medical devices that treat irregular heartbeats and can prevent sudden cardiac arrest. The 79,000 Americans who were implanted with the Riata or Riata ST Silicone implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) leads made by St. Jude Medical are left wondering what to do now that the FDA recalled the device in December 2011. This recall was announced a year after the company stopped their sales of the product. Continue reading

Statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) and the New Safety Warnings: What It Means for You

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

Exposure to Heavy Metals and Fertility: What a Couple Should Know

Are you or someone you love trying to start a family or have another baby? A new study suggests that when men or women are exposed to heavy metals in their environment it can make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant. We should be aware of the ways we come into contact with these metals, and limit our exposure. Taking a few preventative measures today might make it easier to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Continue reading

Consumer group questions review of breast implants

Consumer safety advocates are questioning the Food and Drug Administration about incomplete and seemingly erroneous data used to support the safety of silicone breast implants in an agency review last year. The FDA concluded last summer that silicone-gel implants are basically safe as long as women understand they come with complications. Continue reading

FDA Needs to Provide Breast Implant Patients and Physicians with Unreported Industry Data about Quality of Life, Connective Tissue Symptoms, Rupture Rates per Patient, and Other Complications

January 5, 2012 Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director Center for Devices and Radiological Health Food and Drug Administration Silver Spring, MD 20993 RE: FDA Needs to Provide Breast Implant Patients and Physicians with Unreported Industry Data about Quality of Life, Connective … Continue reading

Laser Liposuction—Weight Loss Tool or Scam?

As American waistlines have expanded, the attraction of a quick weight loss fix has increased. Diet and exercise are the key to safe weight loss, but for many of us, the results are discouraging. As a result, liposuction is the third most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States, after breast augmentation and nose reshaping. However, the procedure can result in severe though rare complications including infection, cardiac arrest, blood clots, excessive fluid loss, fluid accumulation, damage to the skin or nerves, seizures, bruising, swelling, and damage to vital organs. Plastic surgeons often present laser liposuction as a safer, effective alternative which works by inserting a laser beneath the skin and liquifying fat. But does it work and is it really safe? Continue reading

Taking Medications While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Some medications can cause harmful side effects to you or your baby if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Sometimes doctors don’t realize how a medicine can be harmful to a baby in the womb until after many babies have been born with problems. While that sounds frightening, it’s important to remember that many pregnant or breastfeeding moms take medications for a wide range of health conditions. It is important to learn more about the possible risks of taking medications while pregnant or breastfeeding and to discuss any potential side effects with your health provider. Continue reading