Archive for December, 2009

PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Cure for underarm odor?

Q: I’ve had bad underarm odor for more than 50 years, and it is a terrible social problem. Then I read your column about rubbing milk of magnesia on the armpits. I tried it, and it’s a miracle.

I no longer use any other deodorant and, most importantly, I no longer have body odor. Thank you for a simple solution for this complex problem. I have been B.O. free for eight weeks.

A: Milk of magnesia seems to work quite well as a deodorant for most people. Because it contains magnesium instead of aluminum, people who have trouble with antiperspirants usually tolerate it well.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy

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HEALTHY EATING: Beat cravings at holiday time

By Carolyn O’Neil, for the AJC

The holiday season provides an extra serving of challenges that often get in the way of healthy eating habits. Party food and big dinners beckon us to enjoy wonderful foods.

Emotional stress can drive us to crave more comfort foods, often high in fat and calories. Are these cravings all in your mind? Yes, and your mind is a strong force. And if you use certain foods too often as your go-to comfort foods, you might actually condition yourself to crave more of them. One of the prime suspects in creating cravings is the practice of eliminating certain splurge foods. Another way to create a craving is skipping meals so that your blood sugar plummets and your willpower gives in to less-than-nutritious choices.

AP Photo/Matt Sullivan

AP Photo/Matt Sullivan

The most common cravings are for sweet and fatty foods, especially chocolate. And don’t try to trick your taste buds. A report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that chocolate cravings are not …

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ASK DR. H: Understanding Fragile X syndrome

Q: What can you tell me about “Fragile X syndrome”? — Anonymous, Dublin

A: Fragile X syndrome may be the most common cause of genetically inherited mental retardation you’ve never heard of. One in every 2,000 males and 1 in every 4,000 females are born with it. Surprisingly, 1 in 259 women in the general population carry the Fragile X gene.

fragile x

Elly and Mike Scott’s son, Morgan, has Fragile X syndrome. Photo by Bob Andres,

It’s a bit tricky, because there are some who have the genetic defect and are normal by all appearances and IQ tests — and then there are those at the other end of the spectrum with severe mental retardation; specific physical appearances (long face and large ears and mitral valve prolapse and double-jointed fingers); and behavioral problems like autism or attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder. Those with Fragile X syndrome may have symptoms that fall anywhere in this spectrum.

This is a genetically inherited disorder, and not …

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PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Home remedies for nail fungus

Q: More than a year ago, I read about multiple home remedies for nail fungus. I’ve soaked my feet in vinegar and Listerine, and applied tea tree oil, Vicks VapoRub and Naftin (a topical prescription drug).

I have been diligent and even spend most of my time shoeless to let my 10 diseased piggies breathe. None of this has worked. The filing I do every two weeks is about the only thing that keeps the nail thickness down.

Given the time I have spent on this project, I am very disillusioned to see so little difference.

A: Treating nail fungus can be difficult. Even prescription drugs don’t work for everyone. It would be unreasonable to expect home remedies to be much more effective. You may want to have your dermatologist confirm that you are actually dealing with nail fungus and not some other condition.

Home remedies do work for some people: “When I read your article about soaking the toes in vinegar and Listerine every day, I figured I had little to …

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HEALTHY EATING: Nutrition goes beyond calories

By Carolyn O’Neil

You know the old adage: If you have to look at the price tag, you can’t afford it.
The same could be said about indulgent menu items with exorbitant calorie costs — that only those who need to lose weight should care about counting calories. But I don’t agree.

In this era of fiscal and physical responsibility, I believe everyone has the right to know the consequences (in cash or calories) before they make a consumer choice.

Given the concern about obesity in the United States and the realization that prevention is the most powerful approach, it makes sense for nutrition education to get more attention.

There’s a movement nationwide to require restaurants to list nutrition facts on the foods they serve; laws already have passed in some states and municipalities (notably California and New York City). And a provision in the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives requires chain restaurants to post calorie counts on …

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