Pediatric Vaccines and Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that generally appears in the first three years of life and is estimated to occur in 2/1,000 children. It is broadly characterized by impaired communication skills and social interactions, inappropriate attachments to objects or routines, repetitive actions, and inappropriate or aberrant responses to verbal cues, pain, danger, and change.(5,6) …

Mercury in Seafood Causes Neurological Problems in Humans

The Scare: Mercury is a toxic metal that is naturally present in the environment and can also be released by human activity such as emissions from coal-burning power plants. Fifty-five percent of global mercury emissions are from natural sources such as underwater volcanoes, and another 42% are from man-made sources outside the United States.(76) When …

Deodorants, Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer

The Scare: Since breast cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer deaths in American women (only lung cancer kills more),(125) it is understandable that any possible factor contributing to its occurrence garners much media attention. Unfortunately, some reports of potential causal factors do not reflect solid scientific consensus, and thus are alarmist rather …

Chemicals in Cosmetics Risks to Health?

The Scare: Cosmetics of all sorts—shampoos, makeup, deodorants, moisturizers—are among the most widely used products in modern America. The idea that chemicals in these products might be a source of disease or even death naturally would lead to great consternation among cosmetic users. Thus, reports that a widely used family of chemicals, phthalates, are commonly …

The Blind Alley of Financial Conflicts of Interest

“Follow the money,” Deep Throat warned Woodward and Bernstein as the two reporters were about to break open the Watergate scandal. Generally, this is good advice for anyone seeking to understand what is happening in a complicated business story. But not always. Former New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editor-in-chief Jerome Kassirer would have us …

Along with Risks, COX-2 Drugs Have Many Potential Benefits

In addition to your nuanced counsel on dealing with the crescendo of dire warnings about various drugs (“The Painkiller Panic”, Dec. 23), another factor that should be considered in the precipitous withdrawal of Vioxx and the untoward panic about various pain-relievers is the vast potential of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) in the chemoprevention of …

Price Controls Limit Drugs

Although it may be appropriate to criticize the revolving-door ethics involved when a former congressman becomes an advocate for an industry with which he had legislative dealings, the issue of government-controlled drug pricing is not a fair target (“Switch raises issues of loyalty,” Opinion, Jan. 3). This part of the Medicare drug bill is there …

The Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares

The Scare: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States. Its known risk factors include age, family history, obesity after middle age, and not having children or having a first child after age 35.(101) Antibiotics are crucial in treating a wide variety of infections, and are an extremely commonly …

The Blind Alley of Financial Conflicts of Interest

“Follow the money,” Deep Throat warned Woodward and Bernstein as the two reporters were about to break open the Watergate scandal. Generally, this is good advice for anyone seeking to understand what is happening in a complicated business story. But not always. Former New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editor-in-chief Jerome Kassirer would have us …

Resolve to Be Healthy

1. Focus your efforts on things that matter. It is important that we distinguish between risks that are real and can be lessened by individuals’ actions and those that are theoretical, very small, or beyond our control. The American Council on Science and Health is dedicated to helping you set priorities for a healthy and …