Birth control pills…are they safe?

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

There are so many different type of birth control pills on the market; some allowing you to have a period every three months, others eliminating them completely.   These pills contain a very low dose of estrogen and a different type of synthetic progesterone called progestin that have decreased side effects like bloating, fluid retention and weight gain.  While you get less periods during the year, you are more likely to get bleeding or spotting between periods.  The amount of bleeding can vary, but it should decrease over time.  Like all birth control, these medications have serious risks including blood clots. If you smoke or you’re over 35, these risks increase.  If you’re seriously considering taking this medication make sure you speak to your doctor about your individual risk.

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Dannon Yogurt sued

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Chalk this up to “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is”.  Dannon yogurt has agreed to pay a settlement due to false advertising claims.  The company was touting it’s Activia Yogurt and DanActive Drink as “a cure for colds and flu and even constipation”.  The Federal Trade Commission said that Dannon’s health claims were deceptive because they did not have any scientific proof.  The yogurt maker was ordered to pay $21 million to 39 states.

Tanning Salon Dangers

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Winter is definitely here and so are those still determined to hit the tanning beds; this is despite the numerous warnings of the increased risk of skin cancer.  A new study from the University of Minnesota suggests that the numbers of people looking for that perfect glow, is rising.  Researchers surveyed over 2000 people between the ages of 18-64.  Many of the participants claim that they did not know about the increased risks of melanoma; and it seems that teenagers are holding onto the belief that “they can’t get cancer”.  Research shows that most sun damage that leads to skin cancer happens before the age of 18.

News Flash: Echinacea doesn’t work

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

If you are one of the millions of people who take echinacea to battle the common cold, a new report suggests you can stop wasting your money because echinacea does not work!

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin tested over 700 patients who were showing symptoms of a cold.  They divided them into two groups: one group given echinacea and the other group a placebo.  In the end, there was no dramatic difference in the outcomes.

Echinacea has become big business.  This year alone, Americans have spent  over $132 million on the herbal remedy.  The best advice when you feel a cold coming on: skip the echinacea, stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.  Do not go to work, you’ll only wind up getting everyone else sick.

Child safety: Deadly cough medicine

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

The FDA has issued a warning to cough medicine manufacturers because some children have died after accidentally ingesting their product.  The drug, benzonatate, is sold under the names Tessalon, Tessalon Perles and Zonatuss. 

The problem?  Kids are attracted to the medication because it looks like candy.  Some children have experienced serious side effects such as cardiac arrest, coma and convulsions 15-20 minutes after ingesting just one or two capsules.  These products have only been approved for children 10 and older.  Tessalon is sold  by the New York based company, Forest Pharmacueticals.  The FDA has mandated the company strengthen its warning label and suggests that the medicine be kept in a child-resistant container.

Waking in the middle of the night?

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Waking up in the middle of the night is called sleep maintenence insomnia.  It’s a very common problem that can be brought on by emotional issues like stress or depression.  Physical factors can cause it too – like acid reflux, pain due to arthritis, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea or hot flashes.  And, of course, disturbing dreams can wake you too.

Most people wake up one or two times a night, so it’s fairly normal.  If you don’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes experts recommend getting out of bed, read with low light, or do something quiet that can relax you.  Do not turn on the lights or the TV; both of these can stimulate you and keep you awake.

More proof that soda is bad for kids

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co Owner of The Academy

It seems that the majority of American children aged 5-12 years old are hooked on caffeine coming primarily from soda; and it’s keeping them awake at night.  According to the Journal of Pediatrics, kids ages 8-12 are consuming up to 109 milligrams of caffeine a day.  That’s the equivalent of nearly 3 cans of soda or one cup of coffee.  Unfortunately, researchers don’t know much about the health effects of caffeine in children since most studies have been done in adults.  We do know that caffeine is a stimulant and soda consumption is linked to childhood obesity, so it’s not recommended.  Parents are advised to limit their kids to an occasional cup of soda.