The Food and Drug Administration said it had detected low levels of a cancer-causing contaminant in samples of heartburn medicines containing the drug commonly known as Zantac. It was advising patients who take over-the-counter versions to consider switching medications and that patients who take prescription versions consult a doctors before stopping. Zantac, the brand-name of ranitidine, is sold by Sanofi, but generic versions are widely sold. The contaminant, called N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, can cause tumors in lab animals, and are believed to be carcinogenic in humans.

High blood pressure tied to brain health

High blood pressure can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. It can also cause cognitive decline, a new report said. Researchers from Columbia University found those 55 and older with untreated high blood pressure had a more rapid rate of cognitive decline, compared to those on treatment for high blood pressure and those who did not have it. The scientists do not yet understand why high blood pressure treatments may lead to slower cognitive decline, but they hope to continue their investigations.

Bones not stronger with high Vit. D doses

High doses of vitamin D do not increase bone density, and they may even lower it, researchers report. In a double-blinded, three-year clinical trial published in JAMA, scientists randomized 311 healthy adults without osteoporosis to daily doses of 400, 4,000 or 10,000 units of vitamin D. Declines in bone mineral density in the participants’ arms were 1.2% for the 400 group, 2.4% for the 4,000 group, and 3.5% for those taking 10,000 units a day. Lead author, Steven K. Boyd, a professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta, cautioned that the results apply only to people without osteoporosis who had adequate levels of vitamin D.