Dr. Katz on the Latest Medical News

With all the attention devoted to Hurricane Katrina lately, you may have missed out on some interesting medical news. "GMA" Medical Contributor Dr. David Katz has the latest on headache prevention, smoking and Plan B.

Olive Oil and Headaches

A doctor in Philadelphia was studying anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and he realized that they stung the back of his throat. Later, he was at a conference in Italy and he happened to eat something with olive oil. He noticed that the olive oil stung the back of his throat in the same way, and he decided to find out if there was any connection.

He found that there's a naturally occurring substance in olive oil that has the exact same effects as ibuprofen. But you shouldn't go drink a gallon of olive oil! If olive oil is part of your daily diet, it could stave off headaches in the long run. Yet another benefit of olive oil.

Smoking and Blindness

It won't come as news to anybody that smoking is bad for your health. But did you know it causes blindness?

A recent report reviewed 17 different studies and looked at the rate of macular degeneration between smokers and non-smokers. All the research showed a strong correlation between smoking and macular degeneration, which is the No. 1 cause of blindness among adults. That's just one more reason to quit!

The Latest on Plan B

Plan B is the "morning after" contraception that is remarkably safe and effective and has been used by millions of women around the world to prevent pregnancy the day after they have had sexual intercourse.

Various panels have recommended to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the morning after pill be made available over the counter. Usually, the FDA agrees with its panels but the FDA announced this week that they are putting off making a decision indefinitely.

At issue, the FDA says it doesn't want the Plan B pill to be available to teenagers. The FDA says it doesn't know how to control who would be able to buy Plan B -- which isn't really true. After all, we are able to control who buys cigarettes and alcohol.

Dr. Susan Wood, who was the director of women's health at the FDA, resigned over this decision.

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