January 2010

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One of the most unusual home remedies on our Web site is soap for leg cramps. We first heard about this approach in 2004 and were somewhat skeptical. For one thing, there was no obvious explanation for why a bar... (Read More)
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Every day in this country someone dies from a medication mistake. According to the FDA, more than one million people are injured annually because of drug errors. In some cases a patient gets the wrong medicine from the pharmacy. Other... (Read More)
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Q. I have found that drinking Earl Grey tea for a few days seems to trigger nighttime leg cramps. I used to use special soap my sister brought back from France. Her friend in Paris swore that putting it under... (Read More)
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Q. I have been treated for an overactive bladder by two urologists. I took several different prescription medications with no relief but many side effects. I told my doctors that I have noticed (like the runner in your column) that... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 756 Healing the Heart Interventional cardiology is practically the epitome of modern medicine, with its bypass surgery, catheters and stents. But instead of fixing broken hearts, some cardiologists are becoming interested in preventing heart disease.... (Read More)
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The DASH diet delivers once again. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet includes multiple daily servings of vegetables and fruits as well as low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Over the years, the DASH diet has... (Read More)
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A low-carb diet similar to the Atkins Diet has been shown to help people lose weight. Now a new study compares this approach to a low-fat diet in combination with the diet drug orlistat. This medication is found in the... (Read More)
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An irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation responds better to a procedure to inactivate a small area of heart tissue than to drugs. Atrial fibrillation causes an irregular pulse, a rapid and often weak heartbeat and may lead to stroke... (Read More)
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Epidemiologists have linked high exposure to a chemical used in non-stick cooking utensils to a greater risk for thyroid disease. The chemical is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and it is also used in treatments to make fabric waterproof or carpets stain-resistant.... (Read More)
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Blueberries have been shown to improve memory and learning in old rats. Now a small study indicates that aging humans may get similar benefits. Volunteers in their 70s were chosen because they were experiencing memory slips and other signs of... (Read More)
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Q. I am a 39-year-old nurse who is experiencing drastic hair loss. I started taking atenolol for high blood pressure about four months ago. One month after starting the med I started slowly losing my hair. I am sometimes afraid... (Read More)
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Q. I've had a cold and have been coughing and stuffed up for days. I have read that using nasal sprays can be addictive. Cough medicines are not helping much either. I would prefer some natural approaches that don't cause... (Read More)
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Q. I burned my thumb on a pan of roasted veggies last night. I remembered your advice and reached for the tamari soy sauce. (I had a low sodium variety.) To my dismay, when I applied it to my thumb,... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 724 Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (archive)
Low-Sodium Soy Sauce Fails to Ease Burn Pain
Stop-Smoking Pill Made Quitting Possible
Brand Name Drug Price Increases Deemed Extraordinary
Food Remedies Ease Many Problems
No Country-of-Origin Labeling on Drugs
(Read More)
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Q. I know there is controversy over the stop-smoking drug called Chantix. I started smoking when I was 11 and just turned 60. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be able to quit smoking, nor... (Read More)
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Millions of Americans do not have insurance that covers prescription medications. They are being hammered by rapidly rising drug costs. What makes these skyrocketing prices so painful is that they come at a time when the economy as a whole... (Read More)
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Q. I love reading in your column about foods like cherries, curry and ginger that can help alleviate certain conditions. Where can I find out more about these food remedies? A. We have gathered hundreds of remedies, along with the... (Read More)
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The full podcast of this program will be available on Monday, January 25. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are both elusive and debilitating conditions. They are difficult to diagnose and even trickier to treat. Many physicians chalk them up to... (Read More)
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Q. Why don't over-the-counter medications (such as famotidine) have to show who makes them or in what country they are made? Almost any other product, from shoes to bananas, must give this information. Is there a loophole in the law?... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 724 Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (archive)
Arthritis Drug Side Effects: April's Story
Papaya Enzymes Helped Heartburn
Scary Reaction to Cholesterol Combo
Reducing Salt Could Save Hearts
Is Appendicitis Caused by Infection?
Mail Order Makes for Better Prescription Adherence
Beware Counterfeit Weight Loss Drug
Biotech Offers New Weapon against C Difficile Diarrhea
Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Stomach Cancer (Read More)
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The following comment was posted to this Web site on Jan. 20, 2010 by April. This story captures the dilemma that so many people must face when balancing the benefits and risks of powerful medicines. Support groups can be very... (Read More)
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Q. I have read your articles about various ways to treat heartburn naturally. What I have found most helpful are chewable papaya enzymes. They work GREAT! A. We have heard from other readers that chewing a tablet with papain, an... (Read More)
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A national effort to reduce salt intake could reap huge health benefits. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that if Americans cut their salt consumption by about one third they could lower new cases of heart... (Read More)
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Appendicitis remains a mystery despite the fact that it accounts for more than 300,000 operations every year. A new analysis in the Archives of Surgery suggests that this common condition may be precipitated by a viral infection. This epidemiological study... (Read More)
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Does it matter whether you buy your prescriptions at a neighborhood pharmacy or if you order them by mail? A preliminary study from Kaiser Permanente and UCLA suggests that people who use mail order are better at sticking to their... (Read More)
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Alli is the only FDA-approved non-prescription weight loss drug. It is a lower dose of orlistat, prescribed under the brand name Xenical. The FDA is now warning consumers about counterfeit Alli. The counterfeit pills, most of which appear to be... (Read More)
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One of the big challenges for hospitals is to keep patients from picking up a nasty infection while they are being treated for something else. One of the most worrisome is Clostridium difficile, or C diff for short. This bug... (Read More)
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The Mediterranean diet continues to demonstrate diverse health benefits. Not only does it reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it also appears to protect against Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers. A new study adds to the... (Read More)
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Q. Years ago, my cholesterol was in the stratosphere and Lopid (gemfibrozil) was ineffective. When Lipitor (atorvastatin) became available, the doctor prescribed it to be taken as well. It certainly gave amazing results, with the cholesterol count dropping like a... (Read More)
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Q. I have been stressing out over a wart on my face. I have tried every treatment mentioned in your column for over two years, including banana peel, vinegar, Listerine and duct tape. Nothing worked, no matter how conscientious I... (Read More)