Are full-body airport scanners safe?

Cancer, General Health
Air travel has not been the same since September 11, 2001, when 3 commercial airplanes were hijacked and transformed into lethal weapons. Air passengers have since become accustomed to increased security, but the latest attempt to detect would-be terrorists has been mired in controversy. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun to ramp up the deployment of whole-body backscatter scanners at security checkpoints in airports across the United States. These scanners deliver narrow, low-density x-ray beams over the entire person, front and back. The radiation is delivered at high speed and reflects off the body and presumably on objects that may be hidden on the person; the aim is to detect any hidden weapons or explosive devices. However, despite assurances from the TSA and the US Food and Drug Administration…
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Taking small breaks from sitting may help heart and metabolic health

Heart Health
Does lunch in front of a computer make us eat more? Two of my recent blogs warned of sitting too long in front of a computer at work: Does lunch in front of a computer make us eat more? Computer time may be linked to increased heart risks Now Bloomberg News reports that "taking small breaks from sitting down such as standing for phone calls or walking to see colleagues may trim office workers' waistlines and help their heart and metabolic health." (more…)
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Shingles vaccine dramatically reduces risk of outbreaks

Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
Readers of this blog know of my fondness for immunizations. For my patients, I recommended the shingles vaccine for people 60 years of age or older and the chicken pox vaccine for children. Unfortunately, both vaccines are quite underutilized. For those of you who are unvaccinated against the varicella zoster virus, I hope this blog will help you to consider updating your vaccinations. (more…)
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“Eggsploitation” documentary tells women of egg donation risks

Bioethics, Woman's Health
Advances in medical technology frequently come with ethical problems, as well as scientific concerns and issues. Egg donation, for women, is no different. Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture has been one of the leading advocates for women in terms of highlighting the problems they face with egg donations, which provide scientists for eggs frequently used in cloning and embryonic stem cell research. (more…)
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Pop Star’s Use of Salvia Puts Hallucinogen in the Spotlight

Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
After a video surfaced on the Internet of pop star Miley Cyrus -- giggling and semi-coherent, holding a bong -- many wondered what the 18-year-old singer had inhaled. According to Cyrus, her addled state was the effect of taking in smoke from the leaves of the Salvia divinorum plant, including its active ingredient, a potent hallucinogen called "salvinorin A." (more…)
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FDA advises against purchasing drinks sold as supplements for sexual enhancement

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health, Nutritional Health
It seems that there are new warnings almost weekly from the FDA regarding potential dangers of certain over-the-counter natural medications (herbs, vitamins, or supplements). The reason is that these substances are virtually unregulated here in the United States and unscrupulous manufacturers constantly take advantage of this to make money at your expense. (more…)
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What Natural Medications are Possibly Effective for the Common Cold?

Alternative Medicine
Possibly Effective: ANDROGRAPHIS (Possibly Effective) View ALL Products Containing: ANDROGRAPHIS Common cold Some clinical research shows that taking a specific andrographis extract, in combination with Siberian ginseng (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) orally, significantly improve symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of symptom onset. Some symptoms can improve after 2 days of treatment. It typically takes 4-5 days of treatment before there is maximal symptom relief (2744,2773,2774,5784,10795,12380). Some research suggests this combination of andrographis and Siberian ginseng relieves cold symptoms better than Echinacea or placebo in children (12381). BIFIDOBACTERIA (Possibly Effective) View ALL Products Containing: BIFIDOBACTERIA Respiratory tract infections Some clinical research shows children ages 3 to 5 years who attend day-care centers have significantly fewer influenza-like respiratory symptoms when given milk containing a specific combination…
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Investigator Planned to Make Vast Profit From Autism/MMR Vaccine Scare

Bioethics, Children's Health, Medical Economics, Parenting
Andrew Wakefield, the lead author on the 1998 study that reported a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and a new condition of regressive autism and bowel disease called autistic enterocolitis (AE), was planning to market a prestudy diagnostic testing kit with expected yearly sales of 28 million pounds (43 million US dollars), a new paper published online in the BMJ reports. (more…)
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