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 …

Tests Show Herbal Supplements Are Often Fake

Herbal supplements, like echinacea, ginkgo biloba and St. John’s wort, are taken by millions of Americans to supposedly help fight off colds, relieve mild depression, improve memory and any number of other unproven claims. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter In fact, we spend an estimated $5 billion a year on these pills that are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration because they aren’t considered either food or drugs. So how can we be sure the pills …

Ready-to-Eat Salads With Meat Recalled for Listeria

Updated Friday Oct. 25: Refrigerated, ready-to-eat salads from two firms have been hit with government recalls because of possible contamination with dangerous listeria, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration announced. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter Listeria can cause serious and sometime fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause …

Buying Arthritis Supplements Online? A Warning

Buying dietary supplements online is easy and popular, but using Reumofan, a Mexican product marketed online to relieve arthritis and joint pain, can cause dangerous side effects, including liver injury, internal bleeding, stroke and death, the government warns. The Food and Drug Administration has been issuing warnings since 2012 that this so-called “natural” supplement actually contains three powerful prescription drug ingredients, including a corticosteroid that can affect blood sugar levels and impair the body’s ability to fight off infection, and …

Is That Chicken Nugget Made in China? You’ll Never Know

Everyone from chefs to health experts to the first lady has touted eating locally grown food, praising it for its freshness because it doesn’t have to travel far to get to consumers. Which is why it was stunning to learn this month that chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. may soon be sent for cooking and processing to China, then sent back to the U.S. to be sold in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets. Sign up for the AARP Health …

Gluten-Free Foods Get New FDA Rules

After more than six years of study, the Food and Drug Administration has announced new standards for foods labeled “gluten-free,” a step the agency said would help the 3 million people with celiac disease who cannot digest the naturally occurring protein. Gluten is primarily found in wheat, as well as in some other grains like barley, rye and triticale. It can cause bloating, pain and inflammation of the small intestine in people with celiac disease. The only way to avoid …