Does Your Soda Contain Carcinogens?

Caramel coloring, the stuff used to give sodas their brown color, may sound harmless, but a new study shows it can contain a chemical that’s been linked to cancer – and the Food and Drug Administration is checking it out. Consumer Reports said it found higher-than-necessary levels of a compound called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, in a dozen brands of soda; 4-MEI is an impurity that can form in the manufacture of the coloring. The drinks tested by Consumer Reports were …

Second-Guessing a Blogger’s Life-and-Death Battle

[View the story "Second-Guessing a Blogger's Life-and-Death Battle" on Storify] Story summary: Controversy erupted Monday when a column in the New York Times by Bill Keller repeated criticism voiced last week by his wife, writer Emma Keller, in The Guardian concerning Lisa Bonchek Adams, a New England woman who blogs and tweets about her treatment for cancer in New York City. The Kellers wrote about Adams and her social media activities, including 165,000 tweets about her treatment. Responding to the …

If You Smoke, a Lung Scan May Save Your Life

If you are age 55 to 80 and either a current or former heavy smoker, getting an annual lung CT scan could cut your risk of death from the nation’s leading cancer killer, according to final guidelines issued this week by a federally appointed panel of experts. Lung cancer kills 160,000 Americans a year, more than the total number of deaths from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Catching the cancer early by detecting it on a CT scan could …

Really? Fries, Burned Toast Could Cause Cancer?

We know french fries are bad for our waistlines, but now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants us to know that there’s another reason to cut back on them – a chemical called acrylamide, which forms in foods cooked at a very high temperature and which has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Acrylamide primarily shows up in plant-based foods that are fried, toasted or baked, like potatoes, cereals, breads, dried fruit, even roasted coffee beans. Evidently, the …

Home DNA Tests: Are They Safe?

The promise of genetic medicine is vast. In the future, cancer therapies will better target a specific tumor; couples will better understand their reproductive risks; and once the genetic components of myriad diseases are better understood, potential cures may be just around the corner. But experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and elsewhere worry that our ability to learn about our genome has outrun the medical community’s ability to usefully interpret the results. “It’s not enough to understand …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. Two Swedish women have invented an inflatable bike helmet. (Learn more at Sports Illustrated) 2. Military veteran dogs find second careers as explosives detectives at the U.S. Capitol. (Learn more at Washington Post) 3. A new kind of tattoo on your throat could be used as a microphone – and double as a lie detector. (Learn more at Discovery) 4. The classic rubber duckie and the game of chess are in the National Toy Hall of …