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February 2013

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Q. My skin is in terrible shape. This winter has dried out my skin, nails and even my lips. The tips of my fingers are so dry that they have split open and are incredibly painful. Even typing on a... (Read More)
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Six weeks ago public health officials were wringing their hands and warning Americans about the terrible influenza epidemic sweeping the nation. The governor of New York declared a public health emergency on January 12th. Evening television news reports showed emergency... (Read More)
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Q. Fifty years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was chronically constipated. I did some research and chose to retrain myself. Each morning for many weeks, I drank a 16-oz glass of warm water (ugh!). Soon, I... (Read More)
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Q. I am just recovering from a terrible cough and infection that my doctor diagnosed as walking pneumonia. This is the second time I have come down with pneumonia, and my doctor has warned me to stop taking Prevacid. He... (Read More)
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Olive oil and nuts may be the keys to a heart healthy diet. That's the conclusion of a large, randomized controlled trial of the Mediterranean diet. Spanish researchers recruited roughly 7,500 volunteers at high risk for heart disease. They had... (Read More)
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A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that advanced breast cancer is showing up more frequently in younger women between the ages of 25 and 39. Over 30 years ago, roughly 1.5 young women in... (Read More)
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Diagnostic errors made in hospitals are responsible for up to 80,000 deaths every year. Now a study in JAMA Internal Medicine demonstrates that diagnostic errors are also a serious problem in outpatient settings. The investigators used medical records to track... (Read More)
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For decades, children with earaches have been given antibiotics to treat ear infections. Such infections are very common, affecting three-fourths of youngsters by the time they reach their third birthday. But the American Academy of Pediatrics now says that antibiotics... (Read More)
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For years women have been told to take high doses of calcium along with some vitamin D to keep their bones strong. The wisdom of this approach has been questioned in recent years. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 838 The Wild Life of our Bodies (Archive)
Diet vs Drugs for Heart Health
Coconut Defeats Debilitating Diarrhea
Are Calcium Supplements Safe?
Natural Approaches Can Ease Hot Flashes
Making Migraine Med Work Faster
Compulsion to Eat Dirt Can Be Beaten
Is Stop-Smoking Drug Worth the Risks?
Butter vs. Margarine Debate Revived (Read More)
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Drug companies get excited when their medications reduce the risk of something (heart attacks, strokes, death) by 30% or 40%. When they accomplish a relative risk reduction in that neighborhood, they frequently get their drugs approved by the FDA and... (Read More)
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Q. I want to tell you my success story about using coconut for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I have suffered with debilitating IBS for 20 long years. I could never make any appointments in the morning, because I never... (Read More)
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Q. Almost all women over 50 are told to take calcium supplements to prevent bone loss. Hip fractures, spine fractures and other bone problems can cause a lot of pain and misery, not to mention early death. But now I... (Read More)
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Q. I have been taking black cohosh for hot flashes for about six months with great success. Hot flashes were creeping back at about four months, so I discontinued black cohosh for a couple of weeks and then resumed. Once... (Read More)
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Q. I take Frova for migraines. It works great and doesn't cause a rebound migraine. My only complaint is that it takes a long time to work, sometimes as long as two hours. That's an eternity with a migraine. I... (Read More)
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Q. I am writing from Kenya where a lot of women eat clay. It is even packaged and sold at the supermarkets. Whether they are pregnant or not, many women go through these 200-gram packs of dirt at an alarming... (Read More)
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Q. Taking Chantix was the worst thing I ever did in my life. I wish I could undo the damage it has caused in my life. It triggered a manic episode that lasted 6 months, then a spiraling depression that... (Read More)
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Ask anyone what makes a diet heart-healthy, and you are likely to hear about substituting vegetable oils for butter, lard and other saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends omega-6 fatty acids from corn, safflower, soy or sunflower oils. A... (Read More)
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Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here's what it's about: Thousands of years ago (and more), human beings co-existed with a wide range... (Read More)
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This Week's Radio Show: 838 The Wild Life of our Bodies (Archive)
Listerine Fights Nail Fungus
Zyrtec Withdrawal Is a Nightmare
How Does Coffee Affect Thyroid Medicine?
Is That Test Necessary?
Better Communication Needed for Heart Device
Diet Soda and Dessert
Soda Consumption Correlates to Diabetes Risk
Diet and Diabetes Linked (Read More)

Is That Test Necessary?

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Many familiar medical tests and procedures may be unnecessary. When patients are exposed to these practices just because they are customary, health care costs and possible risks rise. That's the message from the American Board of Internal Medicine. The ABIM... (Read More)
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Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) can save lives. These are devices that are surgically placed in a patient's chest to monitor heart rhythm and shock the heart back into proper rhythm if it stops or if the heart rhythm becomes abnormal. Despite... (Read More)

Diet Soda and Dessert

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Diet soda seems like a sensible way to cut calories, but it has been controversial. Some scientists feared that the taste of artificially sweetened beverages would lead people to have a greater interest in sweet foods such as desserts or... (Read More)
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Diet beverages were not any better than sugar-sweetened drinks in a large, long-term study from Europe, however. This research included more than 66,000 French women who were followed up for 14 years. The EPIC study included this epidemiological inquiry into... (Read More)

Diet and Diabetes Linked

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A diet full of processed foods is also associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of 24 studies that included 125,000 adults found that those who ate the most low-fiber, easily digested foods such as white... (Read More)
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Q. I read in the paper a few years ago to soak nails with fungus in amber-colored Listerine every day for 20 or 30 minutes. I am so happy to say that it worked! I soaked my toes every morning... (Read More)
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Q. After reading some of the stories on your site about Zyrtec, my summer started to make sense in retrospect. I started Zyrtec at my doctor's recommendation for itchy skin on my hands. But every time I would missed taking... (Read More)
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Q. I was alarmed to hear about the interaction of coffee and levothyroxine. I take this medication daily "upon rising" as my doctor instructed me. I usually have a cup of coffee after 30 or 45 minutes. Does this mean... (Read More)
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Listen To Our Podcast: 893 Difficult Decisions
Clonidine (Catapres) Side Effects & Complications
Onion Cough Remedy
Prostate Pill Linked to Hearing Loss
Soap Soothes Hip Pain
Saving Skin from Swimming Pool Rash
Lisinopril Side Effect Made Her Miserable
Accidental Discovery Eases Psoriasis
Tomato Juice as Bedtime Snack in Diabetes (Read More)
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Q. I took clonidine for several years to help with both blood pressure and hot flashes. I took the pill only at night. The nightmares didn't start right away, but after they did, they became progressively more frequent until they... (Read More)