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August 2009

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Listen To Our Podcast: 737 Diagnostic Errors
Kids and Grown-Ups Missing Out on Vitamin D
Celery for Lower Blood Pressure
Pectin for Arthritis Pain
How Dangerous Is Floating Poop?
Heartburn Medicine Led to Vitamin Deficiency
Sunscreen and Bug Repellent Don't Mix (Read More)
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Parents can't win. Dermatologists tell them to keep their kids out of the sun or slather them with sunscreen to prevent skin cancer later in life. But now scientists say that an astonishing number of children are deficient in... (Read More)
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Q. You have discussed ways to control blood pressure but not the one I use. I have found eating celery and using celery seeds on my food reduces my blood pressure in minutes. A. Celery and celery seeds have been... (Read More)
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Q. I'm an active 69-year-old man. I ride my bicycle, work out 5 days a week and do my own landscape work. I no longer play softball since my knee operations. I have arthritis, and the left knee is... (Read More)
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Q. I am totally confused about floating poop. I had always heard that it was due to a high-fiber diet and not a cause for concern. Then I read in your column that it could be an early warning... (Read More)

Vitamin C Eased Hives

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Q. I suffered from chronic hives for years without much help from the allergist or the dermatologist. The medicines they prescribed did little to relieve my symptoms and left me in a fog. I was becoming a hermit. Following... (Read More)
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Q. A gentleman wrote you that he had been taking a prescription heartburn pill for years. Through his own research he learned that he might have a B12 deficiency due to his use of the drug over an extended... (Read More)
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Q. I have to use insect repellant every time I go outside. When I also need sunscreen, which goes on first? A. This straightforward question has no simple answer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend, "Sunscreens should be... (Read More)

737 Diagnostic Errors

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Diagnostic errors have gotten less attention from health care critics than medication mistakes or wrong-site surgeries, but they are just as dangerous. Without the right diagnosis, getting the right treatment is a matter of guesswork or luck. Two renowned patient... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 737 Diagnostic Errors
Is Alli a Danger to the Liver?
Reclast Not for People with Kidney Problems
American Heart Association Urges Curb on Sugar
Tamoxifen Reduces Risk of Common Breast Cancer but Boosts Risk of Rare Cancer
Spinal Manipulation Makes No Difference in Back Pain (Read More)
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A popular diet pill is under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. When orlistat was first introduced in 1999 it almost seemed too good to be true. This drug, known by the brand name Xenical, blocks the absorption... (Read More)
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The FDA has also issued a new warning about a long-acting osteoporosis drug called Reclast. This medication is injected once a year to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. The FDA has received two dozen reports of serious kidney problems... (Read More)
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The American Heart Association would like to see Americans cut excess pounds, and it has issued a scientific statement urging adults to cut back on sugar. This is a rather radical recommendation, since the science linking sugar to obesity... (Read More)
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Women diagnosed with estrogen-positive breast cancers are frequently prescribed the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen as a follow-up treatment. This medication and its metabolites bind to estrogen receptors in the breast so that natural estrogen cannot stimulate breast tissue. Over the five... (Read More)
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Lower back pain is common and can be quite debilitating. That's why people frequently turn to a chiropractor for help. A new study from the University of Bern in Switzerland suggests that may not be worth the effort. The... (Read More)
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Surprising Soap Story! Can Soap Relieve Leg Cramps?
Listen To Our Podcast: 736 Health Care Overhaul
Vitamin E Is Controversial Treatment for Scars
Ground Flaxseed Solves Constipation Problem
Epsom Salts Soak Eased Rosacea
Beet Juice and Breathing for Blood Pressure
Excessive Sweating Might Be Caused by Overactive Thyroid
Non-Hormonal Help for Hot Flashes
Mother Desperate for New Lice Treatment (Read More)
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Dermatologists insist that putting vitamin E on a burn or a wound will do nothing to prevent scarring and may even do harm. The People's Pharmacy readers, on the other hand, are convinced that topical use of vitamin E... (Read More)
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Q. I have been having constipation problems for over a year. I tried everything, from increasing my activity level to adding more fiber to my diet. I took soluble fiber supplements and Chinese herbal medicine. Nothing really worked. Then... (Read More)
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Q. I read about using milk of magnesia for treating acne. My skin condition is called rosacea. It is a painfully embarrassing problem and no one seems to know what causes it or how to cure it. (W. C.... (Read More)
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Q. I was diagnosed recently with borderline hypertension. My internist has prescribed the diuretics HCTZ and spironolactone. My reactions to those have been headache, nausea and intestinal upset. We have also tried Coreg, Norvasc, Accupril and lisinopril. My reaction to... (Read More)
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Q. Recently, someone complained to you of excessive sweating. That person might have an endocrine problem. I used to sweat so much that I would ruin my clothes. This stopped once I had my hyperactive thyroid removed. A. Excessive... (Read More)
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Q. I am 51 years old and my doctor says I can't take estrogen or other HRT because I am very prone to blood clots. Do you have any recommendations for natural remedies for hot flashes and insomnia? The hot... (Read More)
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Q. My kids and I have a major problem with lice. We have spent lots of time and money fighting them, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good. Nix and Rid (at $10 an ounce) are supposed to... (Read More)
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Overhauling the health care system is high on the President's list of to-dos. But it has become a political hot potato. Why are so many people so excited about this policy issue? We talk with Howard Dean, MD, about... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 736 Health Care Overhaul
Flu Season Comes Early
Osteoporosis Drugs May Help Fight Flu
Fracture Rate Rising
New Osteoporosis Drug Under FDA Scrutiny
DASH Diet May Protect Kidneys from Stones (Read More)

Flu Season Comes Early

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Unlike most influenza outbreaks, the H1N1 Swine flu did not disappear during the summer. Flu made the rounds of summer camps and is already showing up on college campuses as young people reconvene for sports teams and orientation. The vaccine... (Read More)
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Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza may help shorten the severity and duration of the H1N1 flu virus, but neither drug is a miracle cure for this influenza bug. Help may eventually come from an unexpected source. Two injectable... (Read More)

Fracture Rate Rising

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Over the last decade or so, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of fractures resulting from osteoporosis. In 1995 55 people out of 100,000 were hospitalized with a broken bone brought on by osteoporosis. The comparable... (Read More)
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A new drug for treating osteoporosis is up for approval by the FDA. An advisory panel of experts has recommended that denosumab, a biotech compound made by Amgen, be approved for treating postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. These are the... (Read More)
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The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension has been making headlines of late because it has been linked to a lower risk of dementia. Now a new study suggests that it may also reduce the... (Read More)