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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.