Is it safe to use your expired medicines?

By: Linda A. Johnson

Just how firm are expiration dates on bottles of allergy or pain pills? Probably not as crucial as the “Best By” date on milk cartons. Medicines are expensive and, amid occasional shortages, some people are tempted to use expired pills. After all, a pill good till July 31 can’t be useless on Aug. 1. The expiration date, typically just one or two years after manufacture, simply... READ MORE

Supplement for pain may pose cancer risk

By: Robert H. Shmerling, M.D.

Q: I was thinking about taking chondroitin for my arthritis pain. But I recently read it might cause melanoma. Should I avoid it? A: Chondroitin sulfate is among the most popular supplements in the world. It’s often taken in combination with glucosamine for joint disease. Some take it for prevention, others to treat pain. And yet, evidence that it actually works at all is limited at ... READ MORE

Many doctors approve marijuana for pain

By: Carla K. Johnson

Nearly half of U.S. cancer doctors who responded to a survey say they’ve recently recommended medical marijuana to patients, although most say they don’t know enough about medicinal use. The results reflect how marijuana policy in some states has outpaced research, the study authors said. All 29 states with medical marijuana programs (which include Maryland and the District of... READ MORE

Studying ways pets help keep us healthy

By: A Wellness Update

The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills. Over the past 10 years, the National Institute of Health has partnered with the Mars Corporation’s Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition to fund research studies. Scientists are looking at what the potential... READ MORE

Studying if weight loss can help with COPD

By: Barbara Ruben

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of illnesses that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In people with COPD, the airways in the lungs become partly blocked, which makes it more difficult to breathe. COPD is a progressive disease, and is primarily caused by long-term smoking. It is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Symptoms of... READ MORE

Update on heart attacks and antibiotics

By: Suzy Cohen

First some interesting facts: The beating sound your heart makes is caused by its valves, which open and close routinely, in a specific rhythm. Most heart attacks happen on a Monday. Not to be scrooge, but December 25th, Christmas Day, is the most common day of the year for heart attacks. In an average day, your heart pumps the equivalent of nearly 2,000 gallons of blood through... READ MORE