Today’s Headlines: Sunscreen, Gingko Biloba, and Medical Bills

Daily Sunscreen Use Slows Aging of Skin: “Regular sunscreen use helps keep skin looking younger longer,” according to a study published online June 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This isn’t new to dermatologists. They have advised patients for years to wear sunscreen to combat skin changes caused by exposure to the sun, no large-scale human studies existed up until now that backed up that premise. “The study involved 900 white people ages 25 to 55 in Australia, where intense sun exposure is a fact of life. Most had fair skin, and nearly all burned in the sun.” The majority of the participants were “using sunscreen at least some of the time, and two-thirds wore hats in the sun.” “After 4 1/2 years,” participants who used sunscreen every day “were 24% less likely to show signs of increased aging.” (New York Times)

Group Urges FDA To Pull Products Containing Gingko Biloba: “The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants the Food and Drug Administration to “pull products that contain the herbal extract Ginkgo biloba from the marketplace.” The consumer advocacy group cited a study (PDF) released in March by the NIH’s National Toxicology Program that concluded the extract caused cancer in rodents. On Monday, CSPI Director Michael Jacobson and Senior Nutritionist David Schardt sent a letter (PDF) to FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Director Michael Landa, urging the “agency to make companies recall their products containing the extract and ‘take legal action’ against diet supplement firms that resist.” The Hill notes that in March, the “agency told the Stewart Brothers, Inc., juice company that Ginkgo was ‘an unsafe food additive.’” (The Hill) 

Study Finds California Law Lowers Medical Bills for the Poor: A study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, which found that “a California law limiting how much hospitals can charge the uninsured likely resulted in lower bills for many patients – and free care for most of the state’s poorest uninsured residents.” The article notes that the law is considered to be stricter than the provisions under the Affordable Care Act which will require “nonprofit hospitals to give discounts to people who qualify for their financial assistance programs — charging them no more than they would for people with insurance.” (Kaiser Health News)