Is Implantable Device Reform Almost Here?

It’s not always an easy question for a consumer to answer, yet it comes up for more people than you might think. In the case of certain heart defibrillators, for example, consumers with defective devices run the risk that their device will either deliver an unnecessary jolt of electricity—akin to being hit across the chest with a baseball bat—or, worse, simply fail, potentially leading to cardiac arrest and death. Unfortunately, more than a few implantable devices have become defective. An …

Clinical Trials: Will Older Patients Finally Be Adequately Represented?

Would you want your doctor to prescribe a drug even though she did not know how it would affect you? Of course not. But this is exactly what happens all too often with older patients, given that many drugs and other therapies have not been tested on people beyond a certain age. In fact, one study found that 72% of clinical trials excluded patients due to age. With older adults being so underrepresented in clinical trials, clinicians often don’t know …

Regulatory Reform Options for Implantable Devices

In 2011, some widely used implantable heart defibrillators, designed to correct potentially fatal irregular heart rhythms, developed cracked insulation on their high-voltage electrical wires. The result was that in some cases they caused severe shocks, and even deaths. Consumers with the defective implants had to decide whether to undergo dangerous surgery to replace the device or simply monitor it. Until the defective device is replaced, consumers run the risk that it will deliver an unnecessary high-voltage jolt of electricity—described as …

New Nutrition Facts Label: What’s in It for Older Adults?

Since the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, Nutrition Facts labeling has been mandatory for most packaged foods. The majority of food items sold in grocery stores are processed and packaged. Nutrition Facts labels provide consumers with the amount of calories and nutrients in these food items, which can help them make healthier choices. Now more than ever, Americans, especially older adults, are using Nutrition Facts labels when they shop for food. In May, the FDA …

6 Foods a Top Food Poisoning Expert Won’t Eat

Think of every major outbreak of foodborne illness in the past 23 years and Seattle attorney Bill Marler was involved, representing victims who were hospitalized or, in several tragic cases, died from eating tainted food. He and his firm, Marler Clark, not only have won more than $600 million for their clients, but Marler has become a de facto expert in the complexities of our food safety system, from the science of tracking an outbreak to dealing with recalcitrant restaurant …

Dietary Supplements Send 23,000 to ER Yearly

Popular over-the-counter supplements, including multivitamins, energy boosters and diet pills, send 23,000 Americans to the emergency room yearly with chest pain, heart palpitations, choking and other problems, according to the first large study to look at the products’ adverse effects. The federally funded research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It’s based on data from 63 emergency rooms across the country, from 2004 to 2013. Unlike prescription medicines, the $32 billion supplement industry is largely unregulated; the …