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home : columns : ask the doctors November 15, 2019

Eating wasabi won't bring on broken heart syndrome
Dear Doctor: I heard that eating some wasabi gave a woman a heart attack. I love sushi and have it a few times a week, and I do use wasabi. Do I have to stop?
Friday, November 15, 2019


Vegan diet can accommodate need for choline
I've been eating a vegan diet for about a year. My mom says she read that vegans don't get enough choline, and that's dangerous. Is this true? What is choline, and where does it come from?
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Frozen shoulder will eventually thaw
One of the moms in our car pool had to drop out because she has a frozen shoulder. I've never heard of that. What is it, and how did she get it?
Monday, November 11, 2019

It's important to wear masks to protect from wildfire smoke
Dear Doctor: Is wildfire smoke really that dangerous? We're in northern Idaho and our town has been handing out face masks, but I've heard they don't really do much. What should I do to keep our family safe?
Friday, November 8, 2019

research could advance understanding of afm
This week we wanted to discuss some important updates on several topics you've asked about recently, including the poliolike illness called acute flaccid myelitis, the potentially deadly EEE mosquito virus and vaping lung disease.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Nose breathing has more benefits than mouth breathing
I prefer to breathe through my mouth at all times. This is due to fairly constant nasal congestion. Am I getting the same amount of oxygen as breathing through my nose?
Monday, November 4, 2019

Rare auto-brewery syndrome makes sober people drunk
I heard about a guy who tested as drunk but hadn't had any alcohol. Is that really even possible, or is it some kind of urban legend?
Friday, November 1, 2019

Ear piercings create open wounds susceptible to bacteria
My boyfriend let a friend of his pierce his earlobe and cartilage, and both places got infected. He says things will get better on their own, but I'm worried. What should he be doing?
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fitful sleep not necessarily a sign of Alzheimer's disease
My husband has fallen into a strange sleep pattern. Some nights he's awake until 3 a.m., tosses and turns all night, then wakes up tired. I've read that strange sleep cycles may be linked to Alzheimer's disease, which his mother had. I'm worried, but what can I do?
Monday, October 28, 2019

Cannabis use during pregnancy linked to low birth weight
Several studies have shown a correlation between marijuana use and low birth weight, and I understand that marijuana today has been cultivated to be much stronger than what was used in earlier years. Should this be a concern for women who are pregnant?
Friday, October 25, 2019

Senior citizens should listen to body regarding exercise
I'm in my 70s, and I work about 35 hours a week doing shipping, cleaning and light lifting. I've stopped visiting the gym because I'm too tired after work. My back hurts, and I've had heart issues recently, leaving me with a pacemaker and defibrillator. Are the 10,000 steps I walk at work each day enough exercise?
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

There's a reason you turn down the stereo when concentrating
Dear Doctor: My boyfriend laughs when I turn down the car stereo when I'm trying to find a new address, but I've seen his dad do the same thing when he's changing lanes on the freeway. Why does the quiet make you feel like you can see better?
Monday, October 21, 2019

There's a reason you turn down the stereo when concentrating
MY boyfriend laughs when I turn down the car stereo when I'm trying to find a new address, but I've seen his dad do the same thing when he's changing lanes on the freeway. Why does the quiet make you feel like you can see better?
Monday, October 21, 2019

Moisture is the key to battling hemorrhoids
Hello dear readers, and welcome to the first letters column of autumn. Are we alone in wondering how summer flew by so quickly? Here at Ask the Doctors headquarters, you've kept our mailboxes full, so we're diving in.
Friday, October 18, 2019

Two missing gut microbes could influence mental health
I just read about a study where people who were depressed actually had a different gut microbiome than people who weren't depressed. Is that true? Does your gut determine how you feel?
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Chelation therapy rids the body of excess heavy metals
A friend who was working on his old Victorian home in New Orleans started getting bad headaches. He tested high for heavy metals, and now he's supposed to do something called "chelation therapy." What is that?
Monday, October 14, 2019

Restrict red meat to an occasional splurge
I've always heard that it's the saturated fat in red meat that leads to a heart attack. But now I'm reading that it has something to do with the gut? Does that mean probiotics will make it OK to eat steak, which my wife and I just love?
Friday, October 11, 2019

Increasing temperatures extending the West Nile virus 'season'
Dear Doctor: West Nile virus is active again in southern California. What happens when you are infected? Is there a vaccine?
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Increasing temperatures extending the West Nile virus "season'
West Nile virus is active again in southern California. What happens when you are infected? Is there a vaccine?
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Explore tools to manage stress of new job
Dear Doctor: I just started my first post-college job, which I love. Nevertheless, I've been feeling really stressed and anxious. My boyfriend says stress can affect your health. What can I do?
Monday, October 7, 2019

Explore tools to manage stress of new job
I just started my first post-college job, which I love. Nevertheless, I've been feeling really stressed and anxious. My boyfriend says stress can affect your health. What can I do?
Monday, October 7, 2019

Hand, foot and mouth disease common in kids
Dear Doctor: We thought our 4-year-old son had caught a cold at daycare because he had a slight fever, but then he got these weird red spots on his feet. Our doctor said it's foot and mouth disease. Is it dangerous?
Friday, October 4, 2019

Senses of taste and smell often diminish as we age
I've been gradually losing my senses of taste and smell. As a foodie and accomplished cook, this is disheartening. I'm in great health, and I hope it's not just "getting old." I'm 82 and would like to have my taste buds back.
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hyperkyphosis symptoms range from pain to limb paralysis
I had scoliosis as a child, and now, at age 72, I'm living with kyphosis in my middle and upper back. It's very painful, and I would like to know more about it.
Monday, September 30, 2019

Hatha yoga is good therapy for lower back pain
A few months ago, my husband and I helped our oldest son move into his first apartment. I don't know what happened exactly, but my lower back has been hurting ever since. I would rather not use any medications and have heard that yoga can be good for back pain. Is this true?
Friday, September 27, 2019

No new treatments for polymyalgia rheumatica
I am a 77-year-old man who used to exercise regularly. I was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica a couple of years ago. Sometimes I feel like it is going to disappear, and other times it seems to worsen. Are there any new remedies?
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Gut microbiome may have connection to mental health
I've been on a few different medications for depression, but none of them did much of anything. A friend keeps going on about psychobiotics, which to me doesn't even sound like a real word. What is he talking about?
Monday, September 23, 2019

New therapies offer hope to migraine sufferers
DEAR DOCTOR: I hate having migraines. The pain is brutal, they knock me down for days and everyone thinks I'm just having a bad headache. Why do they happen? Can you tell me about any new therapies?
Friday, September 20, 2019

New therapies offer hope to migraine sufferers
DEAR DOCTOR: I hate having migraines. The pain is brutal, they knock me down for days and everyone thinks I'm just having a bad headache. Why do they happen? Can you tell me about any new therapies?
Friday, September 20, 2019

Close to 200 cases of new lung disease linked to vaping
Dear Doctor: What's going on with that outbreak of lung disease that's hitting people who vape? Our 20-year-old son and a lot of his friends vape sometimes, and we're getting worried.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Close to 200 cases of new lung disease linked to vaping
What's going on with that outbreak of lung disease that's hitting people who vape? Our 20-year-old son and a lot of his friends vape sometimes, and we're getting worried.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery reduces stomach size
I feel like I've tried every diet, and no matter what, I just can't seem to lose weight. A friend who had a surgery that removed part of her stomach was finally able to lose 65 pounds. I wonder if that's safe?
Monday, September 16, 2019

IBS diagnosis brings on low-fodmap diet
I was recently diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and was told to follow something called the low-FODMAP diet. Honestly, this is all so new that it's stressful and confusing. Can you explain what's going on?
Friday, September 13, 2019

Heart attacks not always easy to diagnose in women
A month ago, our 69-year-old mother became nauseated and had pain in her jaw. Then she got so weak that my brother made her go to the ER. It turned out she'd had a heart attack. She never had chest pain, so she had no idea anything bad was going on. Is that common?
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Despite mom's example, you should eat your veggies
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the monthly letters column. Although it's almost autumn, the heat waves keep on coming. Please take precautions. Stay hydrated, avoid peak heat hours and use your fans or air conditioning. If needed, seek out air-conditioned public places, such as shopping malls, libraries or local cooling centers. And now, your letters:
Monday, September 9, 2019

Three-quarters of women suffer from yeast infections
Dear Reader: About three-quarters of all women are regrettably familiar with the unique torment of a vaginal yeast infection. Also known as vaginal candidiasis, it's a condition that occurs due to an overgrowth of a species of Candida fungus, most often Candida albicans. The result is irritation, discharge, odor and a nonstop, maddening itch.
Friday, September 6, 2019

3D mammograms better for women with dense breast tissue
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The skinny on keto and paleo diets
I've heard that the keto or paleo diets are good for weight loss and controlling blood sugar. Now I'm reading that a new study says they're bad for your heart. What's actually true?
Monday, September 2, 2019

Many options for menopause symptom relief
I'm 53 years old, officially in menopause -- and officially miserable. I've got hot flashes, headaches, insomnia and crazy mood swings, and it's making me depressed. My doctor means well, but he doesn't really listen and keeps suggesting hormone therapy. Is this really my only option?
Friday, August 30, 2019

Ultra-processed foods should be treats only
Is it true that eating ultra-processed foods raises your risk of cancer? I really don't want to give up my comfort foods, like a handful of potato chips or an order of chicken nuggets every few weeks.
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

New mosquito-borne diseases grab headlines
I just read that there's a new mosquito virus being found in Florida that can harm the brain. What is it? I thought Zika was the one we're worried about.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Acupuncture gaining popularity as treatment option
DEAR DOCTOR: What do you think about acupuncture for lower back pain? What is it, and how does it work?
Friday, August 23, 2019

Pig ear treats connected to latest Salmonella outbreak
Is it true that dog treats made from pigs' ears are giving humans a dangerous infection? I don't buy them because, honestly, they look kind of gross, but our dogsitter brings them over sometimes. Should we be worried?
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Healthy gut biome could help with insulin resistance
Does insulin resistance increase as we age? I just read it has something to do with the gut. Why would that be true?
Monday, August 19, 2019











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