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January 2011

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Q. Ten years ago, I lost much of my cognitive ability. An MRI showed that my brain had shrunk radically, and I couldn't answer most of the questions my family doctor and a neurologist asked me. I was diagnosed with... (Read More)
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Q. I have been looking for an explanation of safe levels of vitamin D. There is a lot of confusing information about this. I know that too little is dangerous, but what about too much? One doctor told me that... (Read More)
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Q. A year ago my doctor said my cholesterol was way too high and wanted me to take simvastatin to lower it. Instead I made some changes. I ate oatmeal every morning and quit taking the glucosamine and chondroitin I... (Read More)
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Q. When I developed symptoms of severe depression, a top psychiatrist focused only on my anxiety and prescribed antipsychotics. I gained 60 pounds in three months. My depression expanded as if the doctor had applied helium to my blue balloon.... (Read More)
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Q. Is there a liquid aspirin? I would like to resume my aspirin regimen. I stopped it due to upset stomach. I believe liquid aspirin would stay in the stomach a shorter amount of time, causing less irritation. A. Effervescent... (Read More)
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Q. I had frequent nosebleeds for about 15 years. Then I started taking lutein and bilberry for my eyes. I've had no nosebleeds since. I believe bilberry keeps the capillary walls strong and flexible. A. Although there is no human... (Read More)
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NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are among the most popular pills in the pharmacy. Every day tens of millions of Americans swallow products containing ibuprofen or naproxen, NSAIDs that are available without a prescription. Most people do not realize that these... (Read More)
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When hard times hit the family, parents may brace themselves, but how do they help their children cope? In the past several years, more and more children have been prescribed psychiatric drugs like Paxil, Prozac, or even Abilify. While these... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 800 Natural Mental Health for Children
Solutions for Skunk Smell
Flu Medicine Flap Angers MD
Clindamycin Can Cause Disastrous Diarrhea
U.S. Life Expectancy Lags
Nutrition Labels Are Controversial
Will Losing Weight Improve Health?
Genetic Targeting Improves Treatment for Alcoholism
Quick Expert Treatment Best for Stroke (Read More)
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Q. I read in your column about getting skunk smell off a dog. I had a dog that got skunked several times and the best natural remedy was plain tomato juice. I soaked him in it for about ten minutes... (Read More)
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Life expectancy in the United States is improving gradually, but not as much as in other developed countries. A new report from the National Research Council shows that the U.S. is lagging behind dozens of other countries. Although we spend... (Read More)
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The food industry this week unveiled its new voluntary nutrition labels, but not everyone is cheering. Some critics charge that the "Nutrition Keys" program will be too confusing for consumers. The initiative from the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery... (Read More)
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Weight loss is a primary tool in the fight against obesity, but Australian scientists say it is not very effective at improving health. The primary reason is that most people who diet have difficulty keeping the weight off for more... (Read More)
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Genetic research may result in a new treatment for some alcoholics. Scientists at the University of Virginia have found that specific variations in a serotonin transporter gene can affect a person's susceptibility to abusing alcohol. They have conducted a randomized... (Read More)
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Q. You answered a reader who was furious because her doctor wouldn't prescribe flu medicine over the phone. As a physician myself, I was disappointed that you sided with her and didn't appreciate the doctor's rationale. The word "flu" is... (Read More)
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Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. right after heart attacks and cancer. Survival often depends upon early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Where you are treated can also make a difference. A new study published in... (Read More)
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In June of 2009 we answered the following question about the antibiotic clindamycin: "Q. For an abscessed tooth, I was given a prescription antibiotic called clindamycin. Ever since I took it, I have had unremitting diarrhea. Now my dentist wants... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 799 Making Smart Health Decisions
Pharmacist Spills the Beans on Generic Drug Origins
Garlic Fights Athlete's Foot
Memory Loss Linked to Cholesterol Drug
Natural Ways to Cope with Hot Flashes
T/Gel for Eyelid
Magnesium Supplement Relieved Rosacea
Will Weight Loss Drug Damage Liver?
Antipsychotics Not Just for Schizophrenia Any More (Read More)
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I am a pharmacist with 40 years of practice. I am very disturbed about the generic drugs that are coming into this country from who knows where. Unfortunately, we have little choice in choosing a generic or a brand name.... (Read More)
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Q. Do you have any home remedies for athlete's foot? I have been using over-the-counter antifungal creams with marginal success. If I wear nylons, I have an outbreak almost immediately. A. Home remedies are rarely tested in a head-to-head manner... (Read More)
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Q. My doctor prescribed Vytorin for high cholesterol. While my cholesterol went from over 350 to 190 in five weeks, I ended up having an eight-hour episode of transient global amnesia (TGA). I knew who I was, and I recognized... (Read More)
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Q. What is a safe home remedy for severe night sweats and hot flashes? I'm burning up and sleepless in Bellville, TX. A. There is some research to suggest that herbal remedies such as Pycnogenol (French pine bark extract), black... (Read More)

T/Gel for Eyelid

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Q. I read your response to a reader with blepharitis who suggested T/Gel was helpful. You mentioned there is no study of this treatment. While I can't offer any scientific study, I can offer another data point for the method.... (Read More)
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Q. I am intrigued by the report that washing with an Epsom salt solution (magnesium sulfate) could ease rosacea. I have suffered from this skin condition all my adult life. I took antibiotics and Accutane, but neither of them cured... (Read More)
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Q. Can you tell me anything about the product Alli? It is for weight loss. Does it cause any damage to the liver? A. Alli (orlistat) is an OTC weight-loss medicine that interferes with fat absorption. Last year, the FDA... (Read More)
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Americans spend more on antipsychotic medications than any other type of drugs, including cholesterol-lowering medicines. That's because these pricey medications, which were originally developed to treat schizophrenia, are now being used for many other problems. Drugs like Abilify, Geodon, Risperdal,... (Read More)
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We may be great at making resolutions, but how well do we stick to them? Making the daily decisions required to implement our health resolutions can be harder than we imagine. Making major health care decisions may also be difficult.... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 799 Making Smart Health Decisions
Will Calcium Supplements Cause Kidney Stones
Wife Cries Out for More Sex
Pain Relievers and Cardiovascular Risk
Lexapro for Hot Flashes
Beware Danger of Shoveling Snow
Blueberries to Prevent High Blood Pressure
Lycopene Reduces Ultraviolet Skin Damage (Read More)
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Popular pain relievers have been linked to serious cardiovascular complications. A meta-analysis of 31 studies that included more than 100,000 people found that daily use of drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and rofecoxib increase the chance of dying... (Read More)
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Q. I am lactose intolerant and have to take calcium supplements since I don't drink milk. I have heard that these can cause kidney stones. Someone told me I should take Tums with calcium instead of calcium carbonate. Will this... (Read More)