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FDA proposes new changes to mammography regulations

The US Federal Drug Administration recently proposed the first new rules on mammography in 20 years. If approved, they would require:

* Mammography centers to notify women whether they have dense breast tissue, which can increase the risk of cancer and mask tumors

* Allow the FDA to notify women and their doctors if a mammogram center fails to meet quality standards, and to advise that a patient’s test should be re-evaluated or redone

Other changes would tighten rules that govern recordkeeping and equipment. The rules are open for public comment for 90 days.

Source: The New York Times

Hooked on vitamins

More than half of Americans take vitamin supplements, and among older adults, 29 percent take four or more supplements of any kind, according to a Journal of Nutrition study published in 2017. But an article from Kaiser Health News points out that “the enthusiasm outpaces the evidence.” There’s no conclusive evidence that dietary supplements prevent chronic disease in the average American, says Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And although there are more than 90,000 dietary supplements from which to choose, federal health agencies and advisers still recommend that Americans meet their nutritional needs with food, especially fruits and vegetables. And taking megadoses of vitamins and minerals, using amounts that people could never consume through food alone, could be problematic.

Antibiotics pose special risks to older patients

Fluoroquinolones, a type of antibiotic, has prompted warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about their risks of serious side effects. The FDA has warned that this class, which includes Cipro and Levaquin, increases the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, particularly in older adults; that it can cause peripheral neuropathy, and lead to low blood sugar. The agency advised in 2016 that the potential side effects of fluoroquinolones outweighed their benefits for several common infections such as uncomplicated urinary tract infections and upper respiratory viral infections.

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