Galen Kipe puffs on an electronic cigarette in Ashboro, N.C., in August.
December 8, 2010 A federal appeals court says the FDA can regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products but not as medical devices or drugs. That means the FDA, which got sweeping powers to regulate tobacco products in 2009, can't ban electronic cigarettes.
Most gases used in anesthesiology eventually end up in the atmosphere where they trap heat even more effectively than carbon dioxide.
December 6, 2010 Some gases used to anesthetize patients for surgery are hundreds of times more potent at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The volume of anesthesia gases used worldwide for surgery is about as bad for the climate as 1 million cars.
A CT scan of the brain shows the cerebellum, a small portion of each temporal lobe, and the sinuses.
Andrew Ciscel via Wikimedia Commons
November 29, 2010 A new study shows that CT scans have increased in emergency rooms nearly six-fold since 1995 and show no sign of tapering off. But the findings also suggest that the ER may be overusing or misusing the technology.
An external defibrillator sits on the sidelines at a football practice at Jesuit Preparatory High School in Dallas in 2006.
November 15, 2010 Laymen can save people's lives by using automatic external defibrillators to shock their hearts back to life. But the Food and Drug Administration says a pattern of design and manufacturing problems shows improvements are needed.
November 8, 2010 Doctors are taking less money from industry than they did in 2004, a national survery finds. But it's still the case that most doctors have a financial relationship of some sort with industry. Free drug samples, food and drinks remain common.
Army Captain William Krueger studies CT scans at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
CWO4 SETH ROSSMAN/NAVY VISUAL NEWS SERVICE
November 5, 2010 The 20 percent mortality reduction found for lung CT screening for heavy smokers is in the same ballpark as the probable benefit from mammograms – which reduce breast cancer deaths by 10 to 30 percent, depending on the age of those screened.
November 4, 2010 A federally funded study provides evidence that a screening test may help fight the nation's top cancer killer. The study, involving heavy smokers, showed CT scans cut deaths by 20 percent. Even so, the approach isn't ready for routine use.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/131070579/131075727" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
When the going gets tough in the operating room, it's easy for surgeons and nurses to misplace a sponge or scalpel.
October 6, 2010 Computerized systems for tracking equipment in operating rooms can reduce errors that hurt patients. The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota hasn't lost a sponge inside a patient in more than a year and a half.
September 23, 2010 A heart valve that doctors can implant with a catheter may help patients too frail to undergo open-heart surgery to repair a defective aortic valve.
September 20, 2010 Even without Food and Drug Administration approval for use in kids, gastric bands are becoming a popular choice for teens undergoing weight-loss surgery.
August 27, 2010 About 1 in 8 people who have received the affected hips need surgery to replace them within five years of implantation. That failure rate is more than double the average for similar products.
Scarce radio spectrum is sparking a battle between makers of medical devices and aircraft.
July 28, 2010 The Federal Communications Commission set aside a small band of radio waves for jet makers to test new planes. But medical device makers covet the same frequencies for a new generation of equipment.
July 26, 2010 Contact lenses and hypodermic needles are the devices that sent kids to the emergency room most often. The most serious injuries, however, came from implanted devices.
July 21, 2010 Harvard Medical School unveiled rules that clamp down on conflicts of interest, but don't eliminate them.
June 23, 2010 Safety concerns and ballooning costs provide strong incentives for doctors to be more prudent in ordering CT scans.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor