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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Home remedy may work for some but not others

Peter H. Gott, M.D.

Dear Dr. Gott: My wife has been diagnosed as having dementia. She also has serious heart problems and is under the care of a cardiologist.

Our family doctor put her on Aricept tablets initially but then switched her to Exelon patches about a year ago. Not seeing any improvement, I stopped her patch and requested a referral to a dementia specialist.

While waiting for the appointment, I heard some people have good results from taking two tablespoons of double virgin coconut oil daily. I began experimenting a week ago with two teaspoons daily added to my wife’s oatmeal. I think it is working. My wife even knows what day of the week it is now. What is your opinion on this alternative treatment?

Dear Reader: There are numerous herbal remedies, supplements and vitamins promoted as memory enhancers. They include coenzyme Q-10, coral calcium, ginkgo biloba and omega-3 fatty acids. Issues that come in to play with supplements are that purity and effectiveness are unknown and may vary between manufacturers or even batches. Makers of these over-the-counter remedies are not required to provide the Food and Drug Administration evidence on which they base claims. Further, the suppliers are not required to report any adverse reactions to the FDA. Therefore, while a product might work for one person, we fail to hear of those on whom it doesn’t work. Claims regarding safety and efficacy are based on testimonials such as yours.

Since the Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t address virgin coconut oil as a recommended supplement to be taken with or in place of FDA-approved drugs, I must defer. I recommend you speak with her new specialist and be guided accordingly.

Because your wife is under the care of a cardiologist, you should also speak with him or her to be assured there will be no adverse reaction between any prescription medication and over-the-counter supplements.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Alzheimer’s Disease.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped, No. 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dear Dr. Gott: I would appreciate information on helping people like me who have lost their sense of smell and taste. My ear-nose-and-throat doctor said it was nerve damage but offered no cures.

Dear Reader: There are numerous reasons for losing a sense of smell and taste. Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, head injury, sinusitis and nasal polyps might be the cause. Antibiotics for infection and medications for high blood pressure can compromise the senses. Diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes have also been linked to the loss, as has the aging process.

If your otolaryngologist isn’t completely aware of all medications and supplements you are on, diseases you might have or exposure to chemicals in your home or place of employment, fill him or her in. This seemingly unimportant information might be all that is required to fit the puzzle pieces together.

Dr. Gott is a retired physician.
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