25 Burning Health Questions
23. Shouldn't everyone get the shingles vaccine?
Not yet. "The vaccine has been studied only in relatively healthy people over age 60," says Stephen K. Tyring, MD, PhD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "There's no problem with healthy people under 60 receiving the vaccine, but insurance companies won't pay for the shot, which usually runs at least $150." People with weak immunity—those with cancer or HIV—should avoid this vaccine. A recent study Tyring co-authored suggests that if a blood relative has had shingles, you could be at higher risk and may want to consider the vaccine.
24. Is it true that aluminum-based antiperspirants are dangerous?
There's no evidence, according to the National Cancer Institute, though you wouldn't know it from the persistent Internet and e-mail rumors. Aluminum-based compounds such as those in antiperspirants can be absorbed by the skin and may behave like cancer-promoting estrogen in the body. But no one can say whether antiperspirants lead to a buildup of aluminum in breast tissue, or if that would trigger the breast cell changes that may lead to cancer. Aluminum-free alternatives are out there, though their effectiveness is questionable.
25. What's the best superfood?
Sorry; there isn't one. Forget the latest news on supposedly magical treats like blueberries, chocolate, emu meat, or red wine. Researchers often get their amazing results by isolating a substance in the food and then injecting it into cells in a petri dish or administering amounts to rats that far exceed what you could realistically get in your diet. Yes, these foods are healthy—but only as part of an overall sound diet. Don't let that news dismay you; it should be freeing. You don't have to track the latest food craze—just eat right and in sensible portions. Phew; that sure makes things easier.