Healing body, mind, spirit

Jill Ciccarello’s sister died of cancer. Lorrie Stonehocker’s husband is still battling cancer that has caused him to lose organs, including part of his stomach, as the chemo is shutting down his kidneys. Yet these cancer nightmares have inspired both Spokane women to help other … Read more

Latest stories

For healthier eating, establish kitchen regimen at home

People who eschew takeout for home cooking eat healthier foods, whether they aim to or not, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins University. “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” said Julia A. Wolfson, the lead author of the study and a fellow at the Center for a Livable Future at Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read more

Ask Dr. K: Bladder condition treatable

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have interstitial cystitis. Medications have helped, but not much. What else could help relieve my symptoms? DEAR READER: Interstitial cystitis is a puzzling bladder condition in which the bladder wall becomes irritated or inflamed. We don’t know what causes the condition. Read more

Experts sound alarm on sugar as source of disease

Is sugar making us sick? A team of scientists at the University of California in San Francisco believes so, and they’re doing something about it. They launched an initiative to bring information on food and drink and added sugar to the public by reviewing more than 8,000 scientific papers that show a strong link between the consumption of added sugar and chronic diseases. Read more

Health Bulletin Board www.spokesman.com/livewell/

New Listings “Living with Spondylitis?” - An educational meeting for those with ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases supported by the Spondylitis Association of America. Information and resources will be available to assist with education and management of the disease. Literature and materials will be provided. Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-noon, Woman’s Club of Spokane, 1428 W. Ninth Ave. Free. (509) 838-5667. Read more

Side effects aside, statins can offer big benefits

Dear Doc: Every time my doctor recommends a statin, I cringe. It seems that all you doctors do is push drugs. Look, I don’t smoke, I jog every day and I eat a super-low-fat diet. My doc wants me on the drug because my cholesterol is high and my brother had his first heart attack at 48. But the side effects I read about on the Web scare me. Read more

A last-gasp effort, a first Christmas

SEATTLE – A Seattle baby was home in time for Christmas after local doctors bet on a last-chance, once-discarded treatment that uses liquid, not air, to inflate the collapsed lungs of fragile newborns. Tatiana Saiaana, now nearly 4 months old, smiled and stared with big brown eyes at a sparkling tree in her family’s Seward Park-area home this week, safe in the lap of her mother, Elise Pele, 28. Read more

Get second pneumonia vaccination

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m 70 years old. I already had a pneumonia vaccine, back when I was 65. At my checkup last week, my doctor said I need to get another one. Why? DEAR READER: I always like to hear that adults are staying up to date with their vaccinations, as you did when you received a dose of the PPSV23 (Pneumovax) vaccine at age 65. Pneumovax helps protect against pneumonia caused by one common type of bacteria, called pneumococcus. Read more

Health authorities target ‘silent killer’

Health authorities in the U.S. are taking fresh aim at a “silent killer” with a recommendation that all American adults be screened for high blood pressure. People should be screened once a year if they are at least 40 years old, if they are overweight or obese, if they are African-American, or if their blood pressure is in the “high normal” range, according to a draft recommendation released Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Adults ages 18 to 39 who have no risk factors for high blood pressure should be screened once every three to five years, the panel said. Read more

STAR treatment: Radiofrequency energy used to kill tumors in vertebrae

Cancer patient Jeff Hinz of Post Falls calls it a nuke, delivered by a new medical device that targets radiofrequency energy to heat and kill tumors in vertebrae, normally a tricky area for such precision. “My understanding is they ablate the tumor, nuke it,” said the 43-year-old Hinz, diagnosed fall 2013 with lung cancer that spread to bones. “With this procedure, you’re in and out in one day and walk out of the hospital. You’re a little sore for a day or two, but there’s no major incisions.” Read more

Shining a light on MS rates

The Pacific Northwest is a great place to live. However, we have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis. A couple factors contribute to our region’s high rate of MS. One, our population is predominantly of northern European descent, the ethnic group at the highest risk of MS. And second, growing evidence suggests our low levels of vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin” – may play a role in development of MS. (Prevalence of MS in sunny southern states is much lower than northern states.) Read more

Low majority of vasectomy reversals take

DEAR DOCTOR K: I had a vasectomy many years ago. I’ve since remarried, and my new wife wants to have children. Can my vasectomy be reversed? DEAR READER: Normally, sperm – the male reproductive cells that fertilize a woman’s egg – are made in the testicle. Sperm travel away from the testicle through a tube called the vas deferens. There are two vas deferens, one for each testicle on each side. The vas deferens connect with a reservoir where the sperm is held, ready to be ejaculated during sex. The sperm also mixes with secretions from the prostate gland that keep the sperm alive. When the sperm is ejaculated, it travels through another tube, the urethra, inside the penis. Read more

Anti-anxiety drugs linked to dementia

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m an older woman who sometimes takes Valium or Xanax for anxiety or if I’m unable to fall asleep. I recently heard that this type of medication may cause dementia. Should I stop using it? DEAR READER: Valium and Xanax are benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety drug. Like you, many people take these drugs to calm their nerves or help them sleep. And as you’ve heard, a recent study raised the possibility that benzodiazepine use may lead to dementia. Read more

Plenty of reasons to toot the horn for beans

Beans, beans, beans – even talking about them makes you smile. And, of course, you know why. Every adolescent seems to have a bean joke or story somewhere in their repertoire. But put those jokes into your back pocket, because beans are making a comeback. New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows these unsexy vegetables might help control diabetes and reduce the risk for heart attacks and stroke. Read more

The importance of the flu vaccine, and what to do if you get sick

Public health officials explain the importance of the influenza vaccine and what to do if you get sick. Q. Should I get vaccinated? Read more

Challenge of flu vaccine lies in strains

Flu viruses are constantly mutating. Which means that formulating the vaccine each year is always “a best-guess scenario,” said Paul Throne, of the Washington Department of Health. Read more

Ask Dr. K: Drug-free ways to treat hand joint pain

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have osteoarthritis in my hand. Could you recommend some drug-free treatments to relieve the pain? DEAR READER: Osteoarthritis causes stiffness and pain in the joints. It develops when cartilage – the connective tissue that covers the ends of bones – deteriorates. In a joint, the ends of two or more bones come together. The softer and more flexible cartilage that covers the ends of the bones acts as a cushion. If the cartilage were not there, the hard bones would grind against each other. Read more

Fresh and healthy on food banks’ wish lists

Comforting, sweet and cheap, “white food” has its appeals. But the frosted cinnamon rolls and chocolate-chip scones packed by the clamshell into cardboard boxes in a food bank warehouse last week wouldn’t do anyone’s health much good. Read more

House Call: This isn’t your grandparents’ arthritis

When you hear “arthritis,” your first thoughts are probably of your parents, grandparents or an elderly friend. But it’s not only older people who get arthritis. Children can develop this condition too. While older adults often have osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear on joints over time, children – nearly 300,000 of them in the United States – develop other types of arthritis, which are grouped together under the name “juvenile idiopathic arthritis.” Read more

Ask Dr. K: Iron deficit in teen girls treatable

DEAR DOCTOR K: My teenage daughter recently learned that she has iron deficiency and anemia. Why would her iron be low? What is the treatment? DEAR READER: Anemia means that the blood does not have enough red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. There are many kinds of anemia. In the United States, iron-deficiency anemia is the most common; it occurs when the body does not have enough iron to make red blood cells. Read more

FDA to clarify labels for drugs’ safety during pregnancy

WASHINGTON – Pregnant and worried about your medication? The Food and Drug Administration is revamping confusing labels on prescription drugs to make it easier to understand which are safe to use. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding often agonize over whether a drug needed for their own health might hurt their baby, or even if the woman’s changing body requires a higher or lower dose. Read more

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