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home : columns : ask the doctors January 20, 2020

New research indicates paleo diet isn't good for your heart
I've been doing paleo for a month, and I have lost 12 pounds. Now my mom is talking about a new study that says the diet is not good for your heart. Can you explain? Do you think it's the same for keto?
Friday, January 17, 2020

Popcorn lung, cobalt lung linked to vaping
Our family is worried; my 18-year-old grandson won't give up vaping. How many people have gotten sick? We just read about something called popcorn lung. What is that?
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Holistic practices can make big differences
Hello, dear readers! We hope this new year is finding you happy and healthy, and that the expectations of the holiday season didn't take their toll. Whether it's a moment of meditation, a quiet cup of tea, or a romp with the family dog, always remember to take some time for yourselves. And now, onward to your letters.
Monday, January 13, 2020

Owning a dog is good for your health
Dear Doctor: I just heard about a study that says if you own a dog, you'll do better after having a heart attack. Is that real, or is it an urban legend?
Friday, January 10, 2020

Cycling offers many benefits with low impact
My company provides perks for involvement in its wellness program, and I've decided to start biking the 4 miles (with a few hills!) to work. Do you think it's a good choice? Any advice for getting started?
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Most anal cancer linked to HPV
I'm old enough to remember the shock over actress Farrah Fawcett's anal cancer diagnosis, which was not a disease you heard much about. Now I'm reading that this type of cancer is relatively common. Isn't there some kind of screening test?
Monday, January 6, 2020

Bone density test helpful in diagnosing Osteoporosis
I just turned 65, and my doctor wants me to have a bone density test. What is it, and how does it work?
Friday, January 3, 2020

Study could impact treatment for coronary artery disease
I keep reading about stents, and how it turns out they're no better for blocked arteries than heart meds. How does something like that get decided?
Monday, December 30, 2019

Special flu shot for older people has more antigen
DEAR DOCTOR: Our 76-year-old mom is nervous about getting the special Fluzone shot for older people because a neighbor told her it will make her sick. Is that true? What makes flu shots so important?
Friday, December 27, 2019

'Tis the season to be safe
Dear Doctor: It's our turn to host our extended family for the holidays. That means my husband and I will have adults, toddlers, teens, babies and a few senior citizens here at the house for at least four days. What should we do to keep everyone safe?
Monday, December 23, 2019

Give yourself help in staying healthy -- get a flu shot
Hello dear readers and welcome to the it's-almost-winter edition of our monthly letters column. The weather has changed, and so have your concerns, moving from the ticks and mosquitoes of summer, to colds and the dreaded flu.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Not all tremors point to Parkinson's disease
My wife does calligraphy, but she's having trouble because her hands have started shaking. She's worried it's Parkinson's disease. What else could be the cause?
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

New drug offers hope in Ebola-prone locations
Our son's work as an engineer is taking him to Kampala, Uganda. He's had to get all sorts of vaccinations, but his mother is concerned that Ebola wasn't on the list. Is there a vaccine yet?
Monday, December 16, 2019

FTD most common form of dementia for those under 60
Dear Doctor: Can you talk about FTD dementia, especially the type that affects behavior? I am sure that a close acquaintance has it, although she is clear-minded. Her symptoms involve increasingly strange behavior and, lately, social withdrawal.
Friday, December 13, 2019

Dysphagia most common in older adults
Why do the elderly often have a hard time swallowing, and sometimes experience a feeling that food is stuck in their throats? I heard there's a procedure to stretch the throat. Does it help?
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Having a Morton's neuroma is a pain in the foot
I have Morton's neuroma in both feet, and my podiatrist has recommended surgery. I really don't want to have surgery, so I am desperately looking for another remedy. I read about a drug that was being fast-tracked by the FDA. Has it been approved yet?
Monday, December 9, 2019

Bell's palsy shares symptoms with having a stroke
Our dad's left eye and the side of his face started to droop suddenly, and it seemed like he'd had a stroke. The doctor says it's actually Bell's palsy. What is that?
Friday, December 6, 2019

Memory-boosting pills have no real benefit
What's with all the ads for brain-enhancing products? Prevagen is one that claims it's been clinically proven to help, but my family doctor says that it hasn't. Who's right? Do these products actually help with memory issues?
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Age-related lung changes affect their function
I just turned 55 and have noticed that I get winded faster these days when I go running. Does getting older affect how much air your lungs can hold? Is there any way to increase it?
Monday, December 2, 2019

Halitosis and metallic taste in mouth are common, usually benign
Dear Doctor: My husband has had very bad breath for several months, and lately he says he has a metallic taste in his mouth. Can you tell us what might be the cause?
Friday, November 29, 2019

New drug treatment brings hope for those with cystic fibrosis
Our godson has cystic fibrosis, and seeing him struggle these past eight years has been hard. Is the new drug Trikafta we've been reading about really as good as people are saying?
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Arthritis pain may be relieved by prolotherapy
I'm a 66-year-old man whose right knee really hurts from arthritis. My sister keeps talking about something called prolotherapy. What is it, and can it help?
Monday, November 25, 2019

Nonallergic rhinitis can be triggered by spicy foods
Hello, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. We're happy to report that you've been busy correspondents, so onward to your letters.
Friday, November 22, 2019

Persistent bruising after break could be hemosiderin staining
How long should a bruise last? I broke my fibula nearly nine months ago, but I still have a yellowish discoloration on my shin, above the fracture. What could it be? My doctor is unconcerned.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Kids want dad to try hypnosis to quit smoking
My sisters and I want our dad to quit smoking, but he says that he's tried before and just can't do it. Should he try hypnosis? Does it work?
Monday, November 18, 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

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