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home : columns : ask the doctors January 15, 2021

New vaccine technology aided in speedy development
I don't think I'm the only one wondering how the new coronavirus vaccines got developed so fast when other vaccines in the past took so much longer. Can you please explain?
Friday, January 15, 2021

Exercise can help with progression of MCI
Our dad is 67 years old and just got a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. His doctor told us that getting regular exercise can help. I've never heard this before. Is there a scientific basis, or is the idea just for dad to stay healthy?
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It's prudent to separate different vaccinations
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the first winter edition of our monthly letters column. To those of you who have been sending us questions via the U.S. mail, we're happy to report that those letters have finally been retrieved. We'll begin answering soon. But first, we want to address some of the questions we're getting regarding the coronavirus vaccine.
Monday, January 11, 2021

FDA approves new at-home COVID-19 test
Dear Doctor: It seems like a coronavirus test you can do at home would be really helpful. Then people who don't have symptoms could know that they should quarantine, and maybe that would help stop the spread. Is there anything like that on the horizon?
Friday, January 8, 2021

Fasted cardio is an attempt to burn stored fat
My gym has been closed for months, so I've been doing online workouts during the pandemic. A guy in our session keeps talking about something called "fasted cardio," and how it's helping him lose fat and gain muscle. What is it? Does it really work?
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Rescuers should use compression-only CPR during pandemic
DEAR DOCTOR: A few years ago, you had a column about why it's important to know CPR. My boyfriend took the Red Cross class, and he actually ended up helping someone once. But what about now, during the pandemic? Is it safe to give or get CPR?
Monday, January 4, 2021

Winter brings seasonal affective disorder with it
Dear Doctor: My boyfriend and I live in northern Ohio, and I think we have that thing where you get depressed from not enough light. He's kind of skeptical, but I really do think it's happening. Can you describe the symptoms? Is there anything we can do?
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Multi-generational households must remain vigilant
Dear Doctor: Our family -- ages 66, 59, 27 and 22 -- lives in one household. We've been working from home and keeping socially distant since the start of the pandemic. Now the younger members wish to resume outside employment. How do we safely manage their return to work?
Monday, December 28, 2020

A mid-afternoon nap is one of life's great pleasures
Millions of people throughout the world take a daily nap. In many cultures the afternoon sleep break is built right into everyday life. Businesses close shop and everyone heads home for lunch and a bit of shut-eye.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Artificial sweeteners should be an occasional part of our diet
What are the possible health risks from artificial sweeteners? What are they, and how do we know if they're safe?
Monday, December 21, 2020

You don't have to be outside all day to reap nature's benefits
We're all pretty stressed-out, even the kids. I keep saying that spending a Saturday in the nice park near our house could help, but my husband just laughs. Isn't there some kind of research that being outdoors is good for you?
Friday, December 18, 2020

Long-haul COVID leaves sufferers struggling for months
Is there more than one kind of COVID-19? I heard on the news about something they're calling "long COVID," and it sounds like a whole different kind of disease. How do you get it? Can it be cured?
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Readers offer useful additions to previous columns
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. Like many of you, we're adjusting to shorter days and longer nights, and we are gearing up for the challenges of winter. This makes us even more appreciative of your staying in touch.
Monday, December 14, 2020

Insulin is at the heart of both types of diabetes
DEAR DOCTORS: We keep hearing about Type 2 diabetes, and I'm embarrassed to say, I don't actually know what it is. What does it do, and how do I know if I have it?
Friday, December 11, 2020

Moderate approach to weight loss is healthier
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Transition to vegan diet should be gradual
Our 16-year-old daughter wants to become a vegan. Her father and I think that may be a bit extreme, so we've compromised, and first she's going to try being a vegetarian. What's a good way for a growing teen to safely make the transition?
Monday, December 7, 2020

Wearing a mask continues to be our best defense against COVID-19
Can you please explain about masks again? Why do we need them, what kind should we wear, and what is the proper way to wear them? It would really help me to explain to my friends and family so they can be safer.
Friday, December 4, 2020

Hospital stays can leave elderly patients confused, disoriented
Why do the elderly lose ground mentally when they go to the hospital? Our grandmother had emergency gall bladder surgery, and afterward she got so confused that she thought our grandfather, who passed away, was in the next room. It lasted for a few days, and it was scary.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Block screens' blue light to get better sleep
: Our family spends a lot of time these days on our screens. I've always had trouble sleeping (mom brain), but now my husband and our two teen boys are struggling, too. Do you think all the screen time could be why?
Monday, November 30, 2020

Even while working at home, keep your body moving
DEAR DOCTORS: I've been working from home for six months, so no more bike commutes and no office staircases. My two young kids are home, too, which means I can't do a lunchtime bike ride, or even go during a break. How bad is it that I'm sitting way more than ever?
Friday, November 27, 2020

Hip fractures in elderly often lead to bad outcomes
Our grandmother, who is 91, fell and broke her left hip. She wound up needing a partial hip replacement. I've read that hip fractures are dangerous for older adults. Can you explain why? Is she still at risk, even though the surgery went well?
Monday, November 23, 2020

Internet searches for 'panic attacks' more common during covid
I had this scary episode happen where all of a sudden, it felt like the world wasn't real. My heart was racing and I thought I was going to pass out. The friend I was with said it was probably a panic attack. Is there any kind of treatment? I really don't want that to happen again.
Friday, November 20, 2020

Toenail fungus remedies abound in letters from readers
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. Once again, a column about the challenges of dealing with toenail fungus has brought a bumper crop of mail, with many of you sharing home remedies. Although the evidence for these types of natural agents remains limited, some people do find them helpful, and the approaches readers have shared here are not harmful.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Herceptin can be an effective addition to breast cancer treatment
I've been diagnosed with breast cancer and really appreciate your recent columns on the subject. What can you tell me about Herceptin? My oncologist has suggested it for after chemotherapy is finished. What is it going to do?
Monday, November 16, 2020

As pandemic wears on, take time for self-care
Dear Doctors: I'm a mom of three great kids and have always been healthy. But after eight months of working from home, being the teacher and keeping everything going, I've started getting sick. Plus, it feels like I'm failing. Can being stressed out make you physically ill?
Friday, November 13, 2020

Frailty assessment may be helpful for dad facing surgery
Our dad is 82 years old and may need to get a pacemaker. My brother and I recently read that surgery is hard on older people, both physically and mentally. Is getting a pacemaker going to be risky? He's physically pretty weak, and we're worried the surgery will be too much for him.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hospital programs help patients with outward effects of cancer
Monday, November 9, 2020

COVID 'Long-haulers' feel virus's effects long after recovery
Dear Doctors: My uncle tested positive for the coronavirus last winter and wound up in the hospital. He was lucky, and he recovered, but it is six months later and he still is not completely better. He says he's what's known as a "long-hauler." Can you please explain what that is, and why it happens? 
Friday, November 6, 2020

World Almanac
Today is the 309th day of 2020 and the 44th day of autumn.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Exploring treatments for excessive sweating
I've read your column for years but have yet to see anything about my problem. I tend to sweat a lot, not under my arms, but in my crotch area. It's embarrassing and even causes me to get a lot of UTIs. I've tried panty liners and medicated powders, wear only cotton underwear, but nothing works. I'm so frustrated. What can I do?
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Smoke from western fires can strain lungs thousands of miles away
We're in central Oregon, and even though the wildfires aren't right next to our town, we've had bad air quality all summer. My husband and I and our kids are feeling irritation in our lungs and sinuses, like when you're catching a cold. Can this happen even when you're not close enough to see the smoke?
Monday, November 2, 2020

Studies indicate fitness trackers can predict illness
Dear Doctors: My husband caught a cold this summer, and he swears the readings from his fitness tracker a few days before warned him that he was about to be sick. Do you think that's really possible?
Friday, October 30, 2020

Exercise with Afib appears to be a good practice
I used to be pretty active, but after a diagnosis of Afib in the spring, I've become reluctant to exercise. My wife is after me to get moving again, and my son says he just read that people with Afib live longer if they exercise. Is he right?
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Early detection is key to colon cancer survival
My husband and I were shocked when our nephew was diagnosed with colon cancer. He's only 36 years old. Isn't that awfully young? It seems like we're hearing about a lot of younger people getting this kind of cancer. Why is this happening?
Monday, October 26, 2020

Congestive heart failure: what to expect
Our grandfather was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few years ago. His strength and endurance have declined a lot, and now he's on oxygen. What are some of the signs that his congestive heart failure is advanced?
Friday, October 23, 2020

World Almanac
Today is the 295th day of 2020 and the 30th day of autumn.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Treatment has changed since his last broken rib
My husband slipped while out on his boat and cracked two ribs. He had a broken rib as a teenager (varsity football) and remembers having his chest wrapped, but that's not happening this time. Why not? He's in a lot of pain and it seems like wrapping could help.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Bee venom shows promise, but needs more study
We heard a story on the news that bee venom can cure breast cancer. Is that really true? How does stuff like that even get researched?
Monday, October 19, 2020

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