Health Advice





You bet your life

Groucho Marx's comedy game show "You Bet Your Life" premiered on NBC in 1950. One favorite piece of shtick was the lowering of a Groucho-faced duck from the rafters if a contestant happened to say that day's secret word. The prize? $100.

These days, there is no prize if you bet your life by skipping the available COVID-19 vaccines and boosters....Read more

The skinny on vegetable skins

Skinny latte (nonfat milk), skinny jeans (too tight to sit in), skins on the golf course (betting on every hole): The words "skinny" and "skin" get used in a lot of ways. But skins on vegetables -- too often they're just thrown away, even though they're loaded with healthy nutrients. Around a third of the fiber in a vegetable is in its skin, and...Read more

Here's what happens after a high PSA result

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Doctor Roach: I'm a 91-year-old male who has had excellent health all of my life. I'm very active for my age, as I play golf twice a week, workout at the local gym once or twice a week and walk about 1/2 mile once to twice a week, including a rather steep grade.

At my recent annual physical exam, my blood test showed everything was normal ...Read more

Country Living

Health Advice / Scott LaFee /

There are a lot of pluses to living in the country, such as open space and fresh air.

Good health, however, may not be one of them. A new CDC report compared working-age Americans who lived in rural or small urban counties with their counterparts living in large urban counties. All were asked to rate their health.

Rural folks rated theirs ...Read more

Secrets of the heart

Aortic stenosis. Sounds serious. It is. Aortic stenosis means that the opening of the aortic valve in your heart has narrowed, and the valve is no longer able to function normally. The valve's job is to sit between your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery called the aorta, and make sure oxygen-rich blood flows ...Read more

Asthmatic's nasal polyps persist despite surgery

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I have suffered from asthma and nasal polyps for more than 20 years. The asthma is controlled, and I mention it only because it might have some connection with my polyps. The polyps get so bad that both sides of my nose are blocked, and I have to breathe through my mouth. It is miserable. I have had three surgeries to remove ...Read more

It's no dream -- you can sleep weight away

Star athletes are super-star sleepers, according to a survey of 14 sports legends. Ninety-three percent of them, including LeBron James and Rafael Nadal, said they aim for eight to 10 hours of shut-eye a night. Turns out, it does more than restore and repair everything from your brain and heart to your exercise-weary muscles and bones. ...Read more

Restlessness doesn't count toward your optimal sleep time

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I read that seniors are strongly advised to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. While I am in bed for that time, nature calls once or twice a night, and I have some difficulty getting back to sleep. So if I am resting while trying to get back to sleep -- say, 20% of an eight-hour night -- does that meet the sleep advisory?...Read more

Gut thinking is good thinking

Actor Dolph Lundgren and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are both reported to have an IQ of 160 -- making them exceptionally intelligent. It would be interesting to know what microbes are lurking in their gut biome. New research shows that specific bacteria have a direct impact on a person's mental function in middle age.

Looking at the gut biome ...Read more

This common steroid can have a big effect on blood sugar

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in March 2020. We recently learned on our own that prednisone greatly affects blood sugar. This needs to be more common knowledge. We found this out when my son's blood sugar was averaging 250 a day, 100 more than usual. We called his endocrinologist, who temporarily increased his pump ...Read more

On Nutrition: Things left unsaid and agriculture's honest role in climate change

Health Advice / Nutrition /

Elaine from Carmel, California writes: "I noticed that you did not mention pecans in your column today. Is there any reason for that? I love walnuts, but they cause sores on my gums if I eat them regularly, so I switched to pecans with my morning Greek yogurt and blueberries."

No Elaine, there was no good reason why I failed to mention pecans. ...Read more

Nutrition News: Plant Protein

Health Advice / Nutrition News /

Having a more plant-forward diet is important for a lot of health reasons but leaving out meat altogether may not be best for children, teenagers, breastfeeding women and older Americans.

In a study from the University of Illinois and Colorado State University, researchers found that the protein in plant-based burgers wasn't digested as much as...Read more

To replace hormones or not

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I need some guidance on the use of estradiol. I have been taking a low dose (1 mg) for the past 15 years, following a hysterectomy and oophorectomy. My doctor said I needed it to provide the estrogen once provided by my ovaries that he had just removed. At the time I was also suffering from menopause symptoms such as night sweats...Read more

Omega-3 and vitamin D can slash your autoimmune disease risk

"Omega Man" -- the last man alive (Charlton Heston, 1971), "Omega Doom" -- cyborg vs. man (Rutger Hauer, 1996) and "I Am Omega" -- the last man alive, again (Mark Dacascos, 2007): Makes you think omega-anything is risky business. Well, when it comes to omega-3s, nothing could be further from the truth -- especially when it partners with vitamin ...Read more

From flat foot to fat foot -- a new way to treat plantar fasciitis

Veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik led the major leagues in stolen bases in 2004 with 70, but chronic pain from plantar fasciitis benched him off-and-on during his 12-year career. Too bad they hadn't yet postulated that injecting his own body fat into his foot could treat the persistent crippling pain.

PF is caused by inflammation of connective...Read more

Definitive therapy reasonable for this patient

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: What is the endgame of hyperthyroidism? I am a 54-year-old female, diagnosed in September 2020 with hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease. My endocrinologist started me on 10 mg of methimazole and 100 mg of metoprolol daily (my heart rate was above 100 beats per minute).

I have bloodwork done quarterly. My thyroid-related ...Read more

In the End, Who's Best?

Health Advice / Scott LaFee /

Researchers ranked 81 countries on how well their health systems provide for the physical and mental well-being of patients at the end of life. Only six countries earned a grade of A while 36 countries scored Ds and Fs.

"Society should also be judged on how well people die," said study author Eric Finkelstein at Duke Global Health Institute. ...Read more

Immune health: What are your food follies and food smarts?

Folies Bergere in Paris was christened in 1872, and it became famous for musical revues with extravagant costumes and risque entertainment -- and entertainers. Today it is still in business.

It seems no one is eager to give up their follies -- especially when it comes to food. In 2016, more than a third of Americans ate fast food once a day -- ...Read more

Period of increased urination may follow chaotic heartbeats

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a woman, 74 years old and in fair health. Eight years ago I had surgery for lung cancer. The first night after, I was told I had atrial fibrillation due to the surgery being so close to the heart. I was started on metoprolol. Every now and then I would feel that my heart skipped a beat. My pulse was usually normal, and my ...Read more

How marijuana exposure harms your newborn

Puff may be a magic dragon -- but despite the flower-child message of that 1963 Peter, Paul and Mary hit, it's all evil magic when you consider the effects of marijuana on the health of a newborn.

Unfortunately, more women are smoking marijuana and more are doing it while pregnant. A 2019 study in JAMA Open found that over the past eight years,...Read more