April 2010

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Q. I have been taking Benicar for hypertension for about three years. Now I have developed muscle and back pain. When I stop the Benicar, I don't have the pain. My other medications include estradiol, Celebrex and Nexium. My recent... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 767 The New Atkins Diet
Back Pain on Benicar
Cinnamon Helps Painful Fingers
High-Fiber Diet Has Digestive Effects
Healthy Living Extends Life Expectancy
Chocolate Consumption Linked to Depression
Moderate Drinkers Less Likely to Develop Diabetes
Vitamin E Helps Liver Condition
Self-Monitoring Helps Motivated Dieters
Anger and the Heart (Read More)
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Sometimes discoveries are made by serendipity. Several years ago we received the following message from a reader of our syndicated newspaper column. We incorporated it into our Q&A format and it was published on February 5, 2007. *********************** Q.... (Read More)
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Q. I have been on a high-fiber, low-fat diet for a year. I have lost weight, but have more pounds to lose, so I would like to remain on the diet. However, my bowel movements have changed significantly over the... (Read More)
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Lifestyle choices do make a difference in how long you live. If there were any doubt about the effect of smoking, drinking, eating too much or the wrong things and not exercising, British researchers have laid it to rest.... (Read More)
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Many people enjoy chocolate, but a new study has found that frequent chocolate consumption is linked to depression. More than 900 people were asked how often they ate chocolate. They also filled out questionnaires designed to help doctors determine if... (Read More)
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Moderate drinking appears to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A decade-long observational study of more than 35,000 Dutch people found that individuals who usually had one or two alcoholic drinks a day were... (Read More)
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Vitamin E came out first in a test of treatments for fatty liver not due to alcohol abuse. Nearly 250 patients with fatty liver were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: the diabetes drug Actos, 800 UI of vitamin... (Read More)
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Losing weight is one of the more difficult challenges of modern life, but one simple strategy may make a huge difference. Scientists have discovered that motivation is key, but so is a daily diary. Writing down what you put in... (Read More)

Anger and the Heart

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Anger is bad for the heart. A new study shows why. More than 600 heart patients in the Netherlands were followed for roughly six years. During the study about 10 percent died or had a heart attack. People who suppressed... (Read More)
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Q. Acetaminophen is perceived as an extremely safe pain reliever for both children and adults. More people should realize that this drug has numerous risks, including asthma and hearing loss. Even though the FDA knows about the problems with acetaminophen,... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 766 Asthma
Beware Acetaminophen Dangers
Will Tonic Water Cause Hearing Loss?
When Will Doctors Pay Attention to an ACE Cough?
Listerine Lauded as Fungus Fighter
Listening to Patients Reveals Side Effects
Milkweed Juice as Wart Remedy (Read More)
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Q. I drink tonic water all the time. (Really it is half tonic water and half regular water to help with the cramps I get in my legs.) A friend told me the other day that tonic water has been... (Read More)
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We are dumbfounded! No one gets out of medical school without learning about a class of blood pressure medications called ACEi (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors). These are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the pharmacy. We estimate that... (Read More)
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Q. I have a PhD in mycology [study of fungi] and probably picked up my toenail fungus on a research visit to the tropics. I heard a physician on one of your radio shows note that Listerine was used to... (Read More)
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How safe is your medicine? To answer that question you might ask your physician when she prescribes a new pill what side effects it causes. But how reliable is the information she depends on to answer your question? Most doctors... (Read More)

766 Asthma

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It seems that asthma is both more common and more dangerous in the 21st century than at the turn of the 20th century. Asthma is now the most common chronic ailment among children in the United States, and the prevalence... (Read More)
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Q. You sometimes get questions about how to get rid of warts. I've had horses all my life, and warts on a horse's muzzle are common. I've always rubbed the milk from a bleeding milkweed plant on them. It takes... (Read More)
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Q. I have seen some reports linking CT scans and cancer. This news has really bothered me since I've had a couple that I really didn't think I needed. What is your perspective on it? What can be done to... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 766 Asthma
Understanding Radiation Risks
Statins in Tap Water?
Overcoming Insomnia Naturally
Bladder Drugs Have Effect on Mental Faculties
Sugar as Cholesterol Culprit
Vitamin D and the Brain
Can Blueberries Prevent Breast Cancer?
Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer
Statins Strike Out against Colon Cancer
Chocolate Recommended for Cirrhosis (Read More)
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Eating sugar raises heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol and triglycerides. For years, Americans were admonished to avoid cholesterol and saturated fat to control blood lipids. Sugary snacks didn't seem to be a threat. Now, research published in the... (Read More)
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Does vitamin D protect the aging brain? Researchers from both France and the U.S. presented data suggesting that there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of cognitive decline. One study tested 150 Americans with... (Read More)
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Blueberries are superstars of the supermarket when it comes to antioxidant potential. Both animal and human research suggests that blueberries may be helpful in preserving memory as we age. Now a small study in mice points to a possible benefit... (Read More)
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Two breast cancer drugs have been tested head-to-head in high risk women. Both drugs reduced the risk of developing breast cancer, but tamoxifen was somewhat more effective than Evista. More than 19,000 women were followed for seven years. During the... (Read More)
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Statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs don't reduce the risk of colon cancer after all. Previous preliminary research suggested that the anti-inflammatory action of these drugs might act as a preventive against several different kinds of cancer. Unfortunately, analysis of new data shows... (Read More)
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Dark chocolate rich in cocoa compounds called flavanols may have a surprising new health benefit. People with cirrhosis of the liver often have increased abdominal blood pressure following a meal. Scientists in Spain report that 21 patients with cirrhosis were... (Read More)
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We stirred up a hornets' nest of controversy with our editorial column about prescribing the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor for healthy people with normal cholesterol levels. What got people so excited was the idea of putting statin-type medications in salt shakers... (Read More)
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Q. I have suffered from insomnia for many years. My doctor prescribed Ambien, but it doesn't seem to be working very well any more. I also suspect that it affected my memory. Now the doctor is suggesting the antidepressant amitriptyline... (Read More)
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Q. I read with interest an article you wrote about bladder drugs causing cognitive decline. My husband is taking Detrol LA. I have noticed increasing confusion, such as what day it is, not remembering conversations and not being able to... (Read More)
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Q. Last October I started having neurological symptoms. My hands were falling asleep every night with pins and needles. The symptoms got worse and I developed pain in my neck, upper back and arms. Sometimes my feet would fall asleep... (Read More)