New research suggesting a link between birth control pills and heart attacks has reignited a furious debate among scientists about the risks of oral contraceptives. Researchers in Europe found women had a 20-30% increase in artery-clogging plaque for every 10 years on oral contraceptives, CBS News reports. Nearly 12 million American women—100 million worldwide—use the pill.
Oral contraceptives' effect in increasing blood pressure and the risk of blood clots is well documented, but research on connections between the pill and heart disease has produced contradictory results. One doctor called the new findings a "staggering" statistic. "I think this is a wake-up call for women and their physicians," said a cardiologist.