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home : columns : ask the doctors 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

Remember the ABCDE rule when watching moles
Why is melanoma so dangerous? I had a squamous cell growth removed, and it was no big deal. However, a mole that had to be biopsied for melanoma (it turned out to be benign) has my doctor worried.
Friday, August 16, 2019

As temperatures rise, readers should head inside
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the oh-yes-it's-summer edition of our monthly letters column. To date, it seems no part of the nation has escaped the unique misery of a heat wave. Please be careful when temperatures spike, and take all local heat advisories seriously. It's easy to underestimate the effects of extreme heat and humidity and to overestimate our ability to withstand it.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Lifestyle changes could help prevent kidney stones
My husband was in agony recently, and it turned out he was passing a kidney stone. Why does that hurt so much, and what can he do to keep it from happening again?
Monday, August 12, 2019

Water safety is crucial for kids' summer education
Our summer is filling up with pool and beach activities, and though it's great that our kids will get exercise and have fun, I'm also worried. The older boys are decent swimmers, but the youngest, who just turned 4, is still learning. How do we keep them all safe?
Friday, August 9, 2019

Lymphedema common after cancer treatments
My best friend had a successful breast cancer surgery last spring. But the surgeon took out some lymph nodes, and now she's getting lymphedema in her left arm. Is it true that there's no cure?
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Acute flaccid myelitis seen mostly in children
What's the latest on the new children's disease that's kind of like polio? It's been all over the news, and like a lot of the moms around here, I'm getting worried.
Monday, August 5, 2019

Drug-resistant UTIs are harder to treat
Dear Doctor: I had a urinary tract infection that improved on the antibiotic Keflex, but lab tests showed the bacteria was actually resistant to the Keflex, so I had to switch to a different antibiotic. I don't understand -- if the infection was resistant, why did the symptoms go away?
Friday, August 2, 2019

Keep vigilant to prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever
My wife and I appreciate your articles about ticks, and we wonder if you could talk about Rocky Mountain spotted fever? A friend of ours here in Arkansas got really sick from it, and since our family is big on outdoor activities, we want to know what to look for.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Best solution for gallstones is surgery
Our granddad is 86 and wound up in the ER with extreme abdominal pain, which turned out to be gallstones. The doctors say he should have his gallbladder removed. Why? Isn't that a big operation just to take care of gallstones?
Monday, July 29, 2019

Medication is a short-term solution for dementia
Dear Doctor: I'm 95 and was recently diagnosed with dementia. The doctor recommended a pill, but it's not a cure. I don't want to go through that illness for years, as it would be too hard on my daughter. Do you have any other suggestions? I do word search puzzles all the time.
Friday, July 26, 2019

Body's ability to synthesize Vitamin D decreases with age
A recent column about vitamin D prompted a reader to ask this follow-up question: "It is my understanding -- via a doctor -- that when you reach 65 to 70, the body's ability to make vitamin D begins to decrease. Is this true?"
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Symptoms vary when ticks transmit Lyme disease
We moved from the city to rural Massachusetts, and suddenly Lyme disease is a real threat. I've read about it forever, but now that we're here, I realize I don't know much about the disease. How do you know if you've got it? And how do we protect ourselves and our kids?
Monday, July 22, 2019











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