August 2005

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Q. I read an article in your column about using Listerine for itchy scalp. It reminded me that forty-plus years ago when I was a glue chemist, we kept a crystal of thymol in our pH buffers to prevent the... (Read More)
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Q. I take six Tylenol Arthritis Pain pills every day. They contain 650 mg each of acetaminophen. I read recently that acetaminophen can increase blood pressure. Should I worry? A. You are taking the maximum allowable daily dose of acetaminophen... (Read More)

Old Scams In New Bottles

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Why is the grass always greener someplace else? The idea that remedies from a far-away, exotic location are more potent than anything home grown harkens back to the traveling medicine shows of the 19th century. These days, instead of snake... (Read More)
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Shame is a universal emotion that fuels fears and wreaks havoc on our capacity to act, speak, create, or even just show up! Why is something that's been studied since Adam and Eve talked about so infrequently? Some see shame... (Read More)
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Q. A year or so ago, you had a letter from a reader who said a pill she was taking turned her gray hair dark again. I know it's not guaranteed to work, but I'd like to try it. Do... (Read More)
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Ever since 1999, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark report on medical error, health care leaders have been bemoaning the sorry state of American medicine. Authors of the study, "To Err Is Human," estimated that nearly 100,000... (Read More)
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Q. I have a history of high cholesterol dating at least to bypass surgery about 12 years ago. My cholesterol was running around 290. Several months ago I decided to try cinnamon, about a quarter teaspoon every morning. I usually... (Read More)

#555 Open Lines

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The pharmaceutical industry is issuing new guidelines for prescription drug advertising to consumers. We talk with Ken Johnson, Senior Vice President of PhRMA, to find out what they are. New research shows that compounds in dark chocolate can lower blood... (Read More)
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Q. I am in the construction industry and have to deal with all kinds of weather. I am also an emergency medical technician with 18 years of experience. On July 19th, I died. Fortunately for me, I was with co-workers... (Read More)
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In 1997 the FDA opened Pandora's box when it changed its rules to permit widespread advertising of prescription drugs to consumers. Before that, regulations were so strict that most drug companies didn't see any value in promoting such products to... (Read More)
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Q. A camper recently asked how to avoid insect bites. My family faced this problem when I was young, living in the hills of Arkansas. Much of our food, such as huckleberries or blackberries, came from the woods. When we... (Read More)
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What do Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong have in common? Rather than letting hardship, trauma or physical illness destroy their lives, their resilient natures allowed them to shape their lives, getting through adversity and coming out... (Read More)
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With scary headlines and late breaking news, it's hardly any wonder so many people are staying up past their bed times. Even under the best of conditions, Americans are severely sleep deprived. There can be serious consequences for physical as... (Read More)
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Q. My son Mike was prescribed Paxil for depression while he was a graduate teaching assistant at New Mexico State University. Around day 13 he slipped into a mood that I had never seen before. He never came out of... (Read More)
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LICE! Just reading the word can make your head itch. What is it about lice that inspires such loathing? Otherwise normal people become hysterical at the mere thought of these bloodsuckers. Many people associate lice with uncleanliness. This idea is... (Read More)
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Q. My sister recently visited me with a bad cold and introduced me to echinacea. I now take it three times a day to prevent colds. What do you think about it? Are there any other natural cold remedies I... (Read More)
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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, more than one million people will have a heart attack this year. Over half of them will die. We will learn about... (Read More)
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Q. What can you tell me about selegiline? The vet prescribed it for my elderly dog. She had been showing serious agitation, pacing for hours at a time (sometimes 12 or 15 hours straight!). She would pace until she dropped... (Read More)
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Q. I have heard that carob is a healthy substitute for chocolate. I don't like it as much, but if it really is better I would consider it when I crave chocolate. How healthy is it? A. Carob is completely... (Read More)