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Ask the Doctors

Owning a dog may protect against later mental illness

Dear Doctors: My wife read somewhere that when kids grow up with a do in the house, it can keep them from getting schizophrenia. I know that having a pet can help kids develop responsibility, but preventing mental illness seems like a stretch. Is this based on psychology — or something else? Dear Reader: Your…

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Rabies shots needed after exposure to rabid bat

Dear Doctors: My brother woke up to find a bat on his bed. He captured it in a bucket and took it to animal control, and it turned out to be rabid. Even though he didn’t touch the bat and his doctor couldn’t find any bite marks, he still had to get rabies shots. Why…

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Vigilance is required to avoid E. Colli

Dear Doctors: It seems like there’s a new E. coli outbreak every week. We never worried because we’re careful about washing our produce, but our son-in-law got pretty sick with it after eating a fast-food hamburger. How dangerous is E. coli? Where does it come from? Is there any way to avoid it? Dear Reader:…

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Atopic Dermatitis is most common form of Eczema

Dear Doctors: I got a few patches of itchy, red skin on my arms six months ago. My doctor says it’s atopic dermatitis, but the cream he gave me isn’t helping. My friend says it’s eczema, which she also has. She let me try her prescription cream, and it got better. Does that mean I…

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Study links drinking carbonated water and wait gain

Dear Doctors: As part of a reducing diet, we like to drink plain carbonated water. There’s no sugar in it, no additives and no sweeteners. But apparently there is a new study that says carbonated water leads to weight gain? Why would that be? Should we give it up? Dear Reader: Carbonated water gets its…

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Does mom have dementia or depression?

Dear Doctors: After our dad died, we realized our mom has some memory problems. Now she’s having angry outbursts, which is new. It may be depression, but my brothers and I worry about dementia. We suspect it’s been happening for a while and she was hiding it. How do we know which it is? Dear…

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Ask the Doctors by Eve Glazier, M.D. & Elizabeth Ko, M.D.

Wildfire smoke dangerous to those with lung conditions DEAR DOCTORS: I got sick with COVID-19 this summer — racing heart, heavy lungs, the whole bit. I was just getting back to normal when our part of Washington got hit hard with smoke from wildfires. It seems like it’s making my COV- ID-19 symptoms come back.…

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Drinking beer can boost microbial diversity

Dear Doctors: I enjoy staying current on research into the gut microbiome. But I have to say, the new information I’ve been reading — that drinking beer is good for your gut — sounds a lot like wishful thinking. Where did this idea come from? Will having a beer really help your gut microbiome? Dear…

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Health benefits of coffee remain in decaf version

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to our monthly letters column. We have a lot to talk about, so we’ll dive right in. — In a column about coffee, we discussed research that linked daily coffee consumption to lower rates of cognitive decline. This prompted a question from a reader. “Does drinking decaf provide the same…

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Balance is a surprising link to overall health

Dear Doctors: What’s the deal with that 10-second balance test we’re seeing all over the news? It doesn’t seem like living longer would come down to being able to stand on one foot. Is there any science behind it, or is it just another meme? Dear Reader: The balance test that you’re referring to does…

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