Are Breast Implants Safe? Regulators Don't Know

Long before the latest global breast implant scare, American health officials were toying with the idea of building a registry that would track patients with implants.

The registry would give a better idea of the number of complications over time, such as rupture or infection.

But to this day, none exists for the world's largest healthcare market, which often serves as a global model for regulatory practice. Some individual countries in Europe have made their own attempts but with only limited success, and there is no continent-wide registry.

In the wake of the current scandal surrounding France's Poly Implant Prothese, which used industrial grade silicone instead of medical grade silicone in implants placed surgically in some 300,000 women worldwide, advocates for a registry are again pushing the idea.

The French government has advised the 30,000 women in France who bought the implants to have them removed and governments in several other countries, such as Britain and Brazil, have asked women to visit their doctors for checks.

"If we had had registries, we would have known years ago if it's true that PIP implants break sooner," said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families. "We would have known if Mentor ones break sooner or later than Allergan's," she said, referring to the two largest makers of breast implants.

There were almost 400,000 breast enlargement or reconstruction procedures in the United States in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That includes silicone and saline implants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has relied on company-funded efforts to track the safety of implants since allowing the silicone versions back on the market in 2006. It had banned silicone implants in 1992 after some U.S. women said the devices leaked and made them chronically ill.


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Moms' Pesticide Exposure Tied to Kids' Infections

A new report links remnants of a once-common pesticide to lung infections and wheezing in kids exposed to the chemical before birth.

Known as DDE, the compound is a broken-down form of the harmful pesticide DDT and is found in many places around the world. It is absorbed into a person's body when they eat contaminated food or breathe contaminated dust.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, shows babies exposed to high levels of DDE in the womb grew up to have higher rates of pneumonia and bronchitis.

"We found that the risk of infections and wheeze increased with increasing DDE exposure," Martine Vrijheid, associate professor at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain, told Reuters Health by email.

Vrijheid and her colleagues took blood samples from a large group of pregnant women in Spain, measuring the women's exposure to three different pollutants.

Later, when the babies were about a year old, the researchers asked the mothers whether their toddlers had had breathing trouble or lung infections.

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Don't Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer's Read more: Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Don't Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer's Important: A

The government is ratcheting up its efforts to convince Americans to get flu shots. "You can't walk into a pharmacy without seeing lines, and the government is now telling preachers to tell their congregations to get flu shots," says Dr. Russell Blaylock, renowned neurosurgeon and editor of the Blaylock Wellness Report. "I've never seen anything like it.

"The incidence of flu across the United States is extremely low — there are virtually no outbreaks — and not a single child has died. Yet, the flu vaccine is being pushed as if it's the greatest health advance ever discovered.

"The vaccine is completely worthless, and the government knows it," says Dr. Blaylock. "There are three reasons the government tells the elderly why they should get flu shots: secondary pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Yet a study by the Cochrane group studied hundreds of thousands of people and found it offered zero protection for those three things in the general community. It offered people in nursing homes some immunity against the flu — at best one-third — but that was only if they picked the right vaccine.

Read more: Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Don't Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer's
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.