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Columns

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Q. Can you get rid of warts with duct tape?

For starters, check with your doctor before beginning any self-treatment for warts. You might mistake another kind of skin growth for a wart and hurt yourself.

The jury is still out on duct-tape therapy for warts. A recent study showed that duct tape wiped out more warts than conventional freezing did. In this study, warts were covered with duct tape for six days. Then, the warts were soaked in warm water and rubbed with an abrasive such as pumice stone. The treatment was repeated for as long as two months.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Q. Does the plague still exist?

In the 1300s, the Black Death, as plague was called, killed about one-third of the people in Europe. A combination of antibiotics and improved living conditions have made plague rare today.

Plague is found throughout the world, except for Australia. The greatest number of human infections occurs in African countries. However, the largest numbers of infected animals is in the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Q. Is ginger really good for nausea or is this an old wives' tale?

Ginger is an underground stem that is beige, thick and knotted. The stem extends roughly a foot above ground with long, narrow, ribbed, green leaves, and white or yellowish-green flowers.

The underground stems of the ginger plant are used for cooking and medicinal purposes. In Asia, ginger is used to treat stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Ginger extract is found in many dietary supplements sold in the United States for digestive ailments.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Q. Have you ever heard of sarcopenia?

This one made me go to the dictionary. Sarcopenia, a Greek word that means loss of flesh, is the decrease in muscle tissue that comes with age.

Sarcopenia (pronounced sar-ko-PEEN-ya) begins early in life. Studies show that after age 40, most people lose about 1 percent of their muscle mass each year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Q. I'm having memory lapses and I'm worried about Alzheimer's. What should I do?

If you're having some memory lapses, go to the doctor with a positive attitude. The fact is that many different medical conditions may cause Alzheimer's-like symptoms. You could be suffering from the effects of a high fever, dehydration, poor nutrition, reactions to medicines, thyroid problems or a minor head injury.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Q. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Could you do one of your columns on this subject so everyone in our family can understand it?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a muscle disease. The name comes from Greek and Latin words meaning grave muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis (my-us-THEEN-ee-uh GRAV-us) affects the muscles that control the eyes, face, breathing, chewing, talking, swallowing and limbs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

(This is the second of two columns on hearing aids.)

About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.

Hearing aids have a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. Sound is received by the microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Q. I think I need a hearing aid. Any recommendations?

(I've received this question from more than a few readers. It's a subject of great interest to seniors, so I'm going to write two columns on hearing aids.)

About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Q. I've been reading about athletes using steroids to build themselves up. Do these drugs work for older men?

First some background on steroids. There are two types of steroids: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids, such as cortisone and prednisone, are drugs that help control inflammation. Anabolic steroids, such as androstenedione or andro, are substances that can help the body make muscle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Q. Are there different forms of urinary incontinence?

There are several types of urinary incontinence:

Ÿ If urine leaks when you sneeze, cough, laugh or put pressure on the bladder in other ways, you have stress incontinence.

Ÿ When you can't hold urine, you have urge incontinence.

Ÿ When small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full, you have overflow incontinence.

Ÿ Many seniors who have normal bladder control but have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time, have functional incontinence.