January 2006

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Q. Do blueberries have any bad side effects for cardiac patients? I put some fresh berries in my yogurt every day. A. Blueberries are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Rats fed a diet rich in blueberries have better blood vessel... (Read More)
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Q. I drank decaf coffee for 25 years. About 15 years ago, my cholesterol started going up. I’ve done everything my doctor suggested, including diet, exercise, Mevacor, Zocor, Lipitor and red yeast rice. Some numbers went down but my triglycerides... (Read More)
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Once upon a time, before the end of the last century, Americans could buy cough medicines that worked. Codeine-containing syrups were widely available without prescription. Physicians also recommended terpin hydrate, an expectorant, from the late 1800s until the early 1990s.... (Read More)

#574 Health News Update

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Aspirin is the cheapest wonder drug around. New research shows that it has different benefits in men and in women. What are the risks of daily aspirin? Birth control pills have provided reliable contraception for millions of women over the... (Read More)
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Q. I have heard that sour cherry juice can ward off gout attacks. Have you heard of this remedy? My doctor thinks it is ridiculous. A. Cherries have traditionally been recommended for gout prevention, but the medical evidence has been... (Read More)
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Q. I was amused to hear that scientists have finally figured out that birth control pills reduce a woman’s sexual desire. I’ve known that for years. When I was younger, the effect wasn’t as obvious, but in my 20s and... (Read More)
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Americans are obsessed with sex. All you have to do is turn on television in the middle of the day and you will see steamy scenes on the soap operas. “Desperate Housewives��? is one of the more popular prime time... (Read More)
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Whoever coined the phrase “sleeping like a baby��? must have been childless. No parent who’s walked the floor for hours with a fussy infant or gotten up for numerous nighttime feedings would imagine babies sleep well. At the other end... (Read More)
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Q. All my life my knees have ached at night. I would use Aleve, arthritis-strength aspirin or Tylenol and usually woke up and had to take more about 3 am. I read in your column about using turmeric for arthritis... (Read More)
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Q. I read about a new drug called ribotanan, I think, but I may have spelled it wrong. The drug affects the body's cannabinoid receptors. It is supposed to curb appetite, lower cholesterol and block glucose. Are you familiar with... (Read More)
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Everyone talks about cancer screening, but it doesn’t always catch cancers early enough to make a difference in survival. Researchers are looking for early markers that will let us know something is going haywire long before there are symptoms or... (Read More)

How Safe Is Aspartame?

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People love to hate artificial sweeteners. Starting with saccharin in the late 1950s, some have enthusiastically embraced the idea of sweets without calories. Others have warned that saccharin, cyclamate and aspartame are too dangerous for human consumption. The debate is... (Read More)
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Q. I have been plagued with jock itch for weeks and had tried a couple of OTC creams with little success. I was getting ready to see my dermatologist when I read about using Listerine for jock itch, athlete's foot,... (Read More)
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Q. All my life I have had a strong sex drive. Over the last few years, however, I have had some difficulty maintaining an erection. My urologist prescribed Cialis, which works pretty well. But he scared me by saying I... (Read More)
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Headaches affect almost everyone at some point. 45 million Americans get chronic, recurrent headaches. Even children can suffer. Find out why over-reliance on over-the-counter medications can be counterproductive. What are the best new treatments? Can acupuncture be helpful? Guests: Joel... (Read More)
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There’s increasing encouragement for people to drink alcohol. Headlines state that a drink or two a day may protect against heart attacks, strokes and maybe even Alzheimer’s disease. At holidays, the social pressure to drink a toast is even greater.... (Read More)
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Q. My husband has suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol for years. HCTZ and Monopril control his hypertension and Vytorin has lowered his cholesterol. Since starting the drugs, he’s had trouble with impotence. He refuses to see a... (Read More)
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Q. In the last four months or so, my blood pressure began to climb higher and higher, despite my daily dose of the blood pressure medicine, lisinopril. In the last month, I began to feel short of breath and weak,... (Read More)