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

Letter to the CA Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair in Support of Improved Flammability Standards for Furniture

September 3, 2013. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health, the National Research Center for Women & Families strongly supports the proposed revisions of California’s flammability standards for upholstered furniture and other products. 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”

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

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

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

Do Chemicals in our Environment Cause Weight Gain?

Some chemicals that we are exposed to through our food, water, and the products that we use can interfere with our natural hormones, including our sex hormones. The chemicals that do this are called “endocrine disruptors” because they change the way our hormones (our endocrine system) operate. Chemicals can cause the body to “think” that it has to store more fat than it actually does, or they can interfere with the processes our bodies use to make fat cells. Babies developing in the womb are especially vulnerable to these kinds of chemicals. There is evidence that babies who are exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals in the womb may be at higher risk for obesity and other problems as adults Continue reading

Doctors were Paid to Praise Hormone Replacement Therapy

How a drug company convinced the medical community that hormone replacement therapy works and is safe: Wyeth paid highly respected physicians to allow their names to be listed as authors of research studies, reviews, commentaries, and letters to the editor, although they had not actually conducted or analyzed the research nor written the articles. Continue reading

The Wrinkle in Facial Injections and Implants: Safety Questions

In the eternal search for eternal youth, some new technique or product is always being touted as the next best thing. Women and men seek out long-lasting non-surgical procedures that will reduce wrinkles and make them look younger or better. There are many different types of facial injections (some permanent and some temporary) and implants, each having a variety of brand names. We will discuss five of the most popular of these treatments, and in terms of safety concerns, the news is not especially good. 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

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

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