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

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

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

Examining the Safety of Natural Supplements

In their quest for health and beauty, half of all American adults take natural supplements to solve all sorts of problems. But do these products really work, and how much do Americans know about their safety? Not as well as one may think, and not nearly enough.
Ultimately, it is unwise to trust the claims that manufacturers of dietary supplements make about either the effectiveness or safety of their products. Let the buyer beware. Continue reading

Ghostbusting: Exposing Drug Company-Hired Ghostwriters in Medical Journals

Doctors rely on scientific papers for accurate information on which drugs and treatments are best for their patients, but are all these papers trustworthy? Often times, industry-paid “ghostwriters” author these papers, leading to biased articles that mislead doctors into prescribing medication that may not work or could be harmful to their patients. 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

Cancer Researchers with Industry Ties Report “Rosier” Results

With all of the cancer studies being performed today, how can consumers be sure of their accuracy? A study by Dr. Reshma Jagsi at the University of Michigan and her colleagues indicates that cancer studies are more likely to have positive results when the researchers have ties to the company that makes the product being studied. With nearly one-quarter of relevant research articles disclosing a conflict of interest, this causes reason for concern. Continue reading