Are full-body airport scanners safe?

If you're flying somewhere, and the TSA at the airport is using full-body scanning, it's hard not to have at least a passing thought about the radiation exposure. The exposure may be zero if millimeter-wave scanners are being used. But even if the scans are done with the backscatter scanners, the exposure is so minimal — far lower than the radiation exposure during the flight — most people will decide that they have more important things to worry about. (Locked) More »

Health by the numbers

Statistics on statin use show a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels in those who take the medications, but for people who don't want to or who cannot handle the possible side effects, dietary changes can have similar benefits. For example, you can fill your meals with foods that contain a lot of soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol in the digestive system before it has a chance to get into the blood. You can also steer away from foods that contain saturated fat and trans fat, which are known to increase LDL cholesterol. Many people take red yeast rice supplements to lower their LDL. Researchers have shown that red yeast rice, in combination with fish oil and lifestyle changes, can be just as effective as a statin at lowering LDL cholesterol.  (Locked) More »

Breaking the fast

Breakfast revs up the body after a night's sleep, giving us energy and nutrients to face the day. Studies suggest that eating breakfast regularly is associated with good health — and that the timing of the meal, as well as what's in it, matters. A good breakfast should include some carbohydrates with fiber (whole grains, fruits, or vegetables), some lean protein sources such as eggs or yogurt (Greek yogurt has more protein than regular), and some healthful fats such as those in nuts or salmon. Here are eight breakfast tips: More »

Drugs in the water

Chemicals from medications and personal care products are making their way into streams, lakes, and other bodies of water, but water treatment facilities are not currently equipped to filter pharmaceutical waste from our water supply. At this point, there's really no evidence of pharmaceutical and personal care products in the water harming people, but studies are showing adverse effects on aquatic life. A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000 found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states.  More »