October 2006

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For decades many doctors have encouraged patients to skip vitamins and eat a "well balanced diet.�? What that means exactly has been hotly debated for a very long time. One key component, though, has always been whole grains like wheat,... (Read More)
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Q. My wife and I, 58 and 63, both take bone-density prescriptions and 1200 mg daily of calcium. We get bone density tests periodically. Recently, a medical doctor my wife saw for the first time commented that if she was... (Read More)
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Q. I have noticed quite a few skin tags appearing on my body. I have had one or two of the larger flaps cut off by my doctor. I was fascinated to read in your column that a reader had... (Read More)
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Turn on the evening news and you will inevitably see commercials for prescription drugs. It might be something for restless legs, overactive bladder, cholesterol control, osteoporosis or erectile dysfunction. In most cases the actors are smiling and thrilled to tell... (Read More)
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There are 44 million Americans with thinning bones. Although osteoporosis is usually considered a “women’s condition,��? 20 percent of those diagnosed with dangerously weakened bones are men. What causes this degeneration of bone? How can it be prevented, and what... (Read More)
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Humans have a terrible time communicating. Just ask any teenager how well his parents listen. Or turn the tables and ask the parents whether their adolescent son or daughter pays attention to what they say. We’re told that men are... (Read More)
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Q. I’d like to try coconut macaroons for controlling diarrhea, but I am trying to cut out sugar. Could I make my own macaroons using Splenda instead of sugar? Can shredded coconut be used by itself instead of eating the... (Read More)
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Q. I had a gastric bypass 32 months ago. Last year I started craving mint in everything: mint coffee, ice cream, cake, cookies, even mint lip balm. It has now gotten worse. I am worried because all I want to... (Read More)

608 Health News Update

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A nap can be refreshing, or it can leave you feeling foggy. For some older people, long daytime naps might be a red flag that something is wrong. When should you worry? Reiki is a healing technique in which we... (Read More)
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Put orange juice (8 oz? unspecified) and a diced banana or peach into a 16 oz jar, cap tightly and shake. Then add 1/3 cup raw rolled oats and 1 Tablespoon ground flax meal. Cap once again, shake, let sit... (Read More)
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Americans like to think they are Number One in everything. Our politicians frequently tell us that we have the best health care system and the safest drugs in the world. Myths die hard. In truth, we are nowhere near the... (Read More)
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Q. I read about someone who wanted to know how to get rid of plantar warts. My grandson had one on his foot for quite some time and was going to a doctor for treatment. His grandpa had him put... (Read More)
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Q. I take Xanax to sleep at night. I now understand that you can't eat grapefruit when you use Xanax. I've done that in the past before I learned about the issue. How long do I need to wait... (Read More)

Health News 10/14/06

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This week: Link between cola and bone density loss Fruits and vegetables may reduce gallstones Plant stanols may reduce LDL cholesterol Mediterranean diet may reduce risk of Alzheimer's Fish oil may reduce risk of Alzheimer's, but may not help once... (Read More)

Who Ate The Donut Hole?

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Millions of Americans are just now entering the “donut hole��? of Plan D. This Medicare prescription drug benefit has been a hot political potato for years. Faced with growing anger from senior citizens about the high cost of medicine, Congress... (Read More)
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Nearly 30 % of Americans are bothered by chronic symptoms that don’t respond completely to medical treatment. Concern about such symptoms may alter the way people live. But changing the way they view their symptoms may allow them to stop... (Read More)
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There was a time when buying over-the-counter medicines was pretty simple. If you wanted a non-aspirin pain reliever you bought Tylenol, the brand name for acetaminophen. If heartburn was a problem you might choose Maalox. It contained antacids—aluminum and magnesium... (Read More)
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Q. I read about putting soap under the sheet to stop leg cramps in your column. My husband tried it and it worked wonders. Before, his legs had sometimes hurt so bad he would have to sit on the side... (Read More)
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Q. What can you tell me about medication used to fight alcoholism? I am getting out of prison soon, and I need all the help I can get. My four kids need it just as much as I do. How... (Read More)
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Americans love to plug and play. We don’t want to waste a second reading manuals. We just want to plug in the new computer, turn it on and start surfing the Web. That may be an OK strategy for computers... (Read More)
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Women used to be prescribed hormone therapy to prevent heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease as well as osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms. But once the Women’s Health Initiative demonstrated that hormones don’t help the heart, many women and their physicians... (Read More)
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Ibandronate

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Overview Boniva is prescribed to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It belongs to the same category as Fosamax. Bone is constantly being "remodeled," broken down by osteoclasts and rebuilt by osteoblasts. Under normal conditions, these two types of... (Read More)

Amitriptyline

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Overview Amitriptyline belongs to an older class of antidepressants. Under the brand name Elavil, it used to be one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. It is now prescribed generically more frequently. It belongs to a class of compounds called... (Read More)

Alprazolam

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Overview Alprazolam is the most frequently prescribed anti-anxiety agent in the country. It is similar in certain respects to Valium. Once called minor tranquilizers or sedatives, such drugs are prescribed to calm jittery nerves and relieve excessive tension. Alprazolam is... (Read More)
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Alendronate

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Overview Fosamax is prescribed to prevent or treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Doctors prescribe it to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis. It is also used to treat a fairly rare condition, Paget's disease of bone. Bone is constantly... (Read More)
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Before Bob Dole went on television to talk about ED and Viagra, men’s sexual problems were rarely discussed in public. Impotence was a source of shame. Now that ads for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are commonplace, people no longer seem... (Read More)
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Q. I have a question about the effects of saltpeter on erections. I have reason to believe my wife is feeding me saltpeter. I am a very sexual person who has no problems getting and maintaining an erection. In the... (Read More)
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Q. I’ve heard that ibuprofen will negate the positive effects of aspirin if the two are taken together. I read a report that says ibuprofen blocks aspirin’s effect for only two hours and that it’s safe to take ibuprofen 2... (Read More)
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Welcome to Joe's Blog. This is Number 1 and I sincerely hope that you will find my ramblings of interest and worthy of comment. I welcome your feedback. Even before I started writing about drug-related issues 30 years ago, I... (Read More)