September 2011

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This Week's Radio Show: 830 Alpha-Gal Allergy
Blood Pressure Too High In Doctor's Office
Stinky Feet Are Source of Embarrassment
Is Constipation Linked to Colon Cancer?
Coffee Drinkers Less Depressed
Saw Palmetto Extract Ineffective for Prostate Symptoms
Cancer Report Raises Issue of Cost
Maggots Help with Wound Healing
Heavy Antibiotic Use May Predispose People to Bowel Disease (Read More)
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Q. I hate having my blood pressure taken at the doctor's office. The numbers are always a lot higher than the measurements I get at home. For example, last week the nurse got a reading of 170/86, but when the... (Read More)
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Q. My daughter exercises almost every day. She's very athletic and she takes great care with her appearance and her hygiene, showering after every workout and every evening as well. Unfortunately, her feet smell. Her brother teases her mercilessly if... (Read More)
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Women who drink a lot of coffee are slightly less susceptible to depression. That's the conclusion from the Nurses' Health Study, which included more than 50,000 women for longer than two decades. The women answered questions about diet, lifestyle and... (Read More)
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Saw palmetto is a popular supplement for men with symptoms of prostate enlargement. The botanical extract has a reputation for easing symptoms such as frequent or difficult urination. According to a new placebo-controlled study, however, that reputation is undeserved. The... (Read More)
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Many new treatments for cancer are expensive and may extend life no more than a few months. As a result, the journal Lancet Oncology commissioned a report on the costs of cancer care. The authors point out that the issue... (Read More)
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People with diabetes can develop skin lesions that may be hard to treat. Because of poor circulation, these wounds can become infected and are slow to heal. Doctors go to heroic measures to treat them. That can sometimes involve surgery,... (Read More)
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Antibiotics have long been thought of as silver bullets against infection. There is no doubt that such drugs save many lives each year. But there is also a growing recognition that overuse may have unintended consequences. A new study from... (Read More)
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Q. Can constipation cause cancer? My mother is convinced that a daily bowel movement is essential for good health. She insists that constipation leads to colon cancer. I worry that she is hooked on laxatives. Haven't I read in your... (Read More)
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Diabetes is a bummer. It increases the risk for all sorts of serious chronic conditions. Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, vision loss, nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), and foot and skin problems. There... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 829 Medicare
Fecal Transplant Restores Gut Flora
Nana's Solution Cures Jungle Rot
Blackstrap Molasses Eased Hemorrhoids
Dizzy Spells Are Making Her Miserable
Switching Between Dissimilar Medications
Will Vinegar Lower Cholesterol?
Preventing Blood Clots Is Big Business (Read More)
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Q. Many years ago, I developed a terrible Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection in my gut from antibiotic treatment for Chlamydia. Vancomycin did not cure the C diff, which was painful. My elderly gastroenterologist remembered that it used to be... (Read More)
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Q. While doing military service in a tropical paradise for two years, I contracted a fungal foot and nail infection. (My feet were always wet.) No medication was effective. When I returned to the States, my grandmother learned of my... (Read More)
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Q. I'm an avid reader of your column but I am skeptical about some of the suggested remedies such as a bar of soap for leg cramps. I see no rhyme or reason for it. One article intrigued me, though:... (Read More)
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Q. I have been diagnosed with Meniere's disease. This causes dizzy spells that come out of nowhere and are totally disabling. They last from 30 minutes to 4 hours. I saw a specialist who prescribed a diuretic. Unfortunately, the medication... (Read More)
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Q. My insurance company wants to switch my Lovaza prescription to fenofibrate. What do you think of this change? A. Lovaza is a prescription-strength highly purified form of fish oil used to lower high triglycerides. Fenofibrate is a completely different... (Read More)
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Q. I have just been told I have high cholesterol and that I need to treat it with diet and exercise. The problem is, I already exercise and eat a healthy diet. I have read that taking vinegar every day... (Read More)
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Warfarin is a life-saving drug that doctors love to hate. It has been widely prescribed (mostly as Coumadin) since the mid-1950s to prevent heart attacks and strokes due to blood clots. No doubt warfarin has prevented a great deal of... (Read More)

829 Medicare

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Medicare has become a punching bag for politicians. In fact, it was controversial right at the start. But for many decades now, it has been one of the most popular programs for senior citizens, allowing them access to health care... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 829 Medicare
Doctor Disapproves of Raisin Remedy
Is Tamoxifen A Dangerous Drug?
Big Bowel Movements Block Toilet
Flu Shots Reduce Children's Hospitalizations
Probiotics to Ward Off Colds
Vitamin B12 Helps Preserve Brain Power
Newer Diabetes Drugs Raise Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Beta Blockers Against Melanoma? (Read More)
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A natural experiment suggests that flu shots may offer big benefits for little kids. Back in 2006, US authorities recommended vaccinating healthy children two to five years old against the flu. In Canada, a similar recommendation was not made until... (Read More)
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Probiotics may help children as well as grownups fight off colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. That's the conclusion of a new analysis of 14 randomized controlled studies carried out around the world. The review was conducted by the... (Read More)
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Low levels of vitamin B12 may put older people at risk for cognitive decline. Researchers in Chicago studied more than 500 volunteers for over six years. Their mental function was assessed through testing every three years. Blood samples were analyzed... (Read More)
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Two relatively new drugs for type 2 diabetes have been linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Byetta and Januvia are pricey prescription medications that can cost hundreds of dollars a month. They are used to control blood sugar... (Read More)
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Beta blockers such as atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol have been used for decades to help control heart rhythm abnormalities and high blood pressure. A new study suggests that these inexpensive generic drugs may also improve survival for people diagnosed with... (Read More)
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Q. I am very disappointed that you suggest gin-soaked raisins to relieve arthritis pain. I have served on the local Public Education Committee for the Arthritis Foundation. During one meeting someone mentioned this remedy. A physician at the meeting said... (Read More)
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Q. I have been taking tamoxifen for over three years for breast cancer. My neighbor says tamoxifen is a dangerous drug, and now I am concerned. Can you give me any information about this drug? A. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is given... (Read More)
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Q. My 12-year-old daughter has very large bowel movements, so large, in fact, that she quite often plugs the toilet. They are hard and dry. She has no other health problems. She eats a relatively well-balanced diet with lots of... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 828 Dyslexia
Simvastatin Sapped Sex Drive
Losing Bra Eases Breast Pain
Stopping Acid-Suppressing Drug Can Be a Challenge
Drink Tea to Soothe Skin
Pharmacist Heroes Help People Preserve Health
Odd Cure for Hiccups
Some Pills Work Better with Water
Washing Hands Saves Lives and Money (Read More)
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Q. After my doctor prescribed simvastatin I gradually began to lose my libido. I didn't realize that this medication was responsible, but after I dumped the drug because of severe muscle pain my sex drive came back. Do doctors know... (Read More)