Don't name that tune in your head

People's Pharmacy

see a neurologist

Health & Fitness

March 28, 2004|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

One of your readers complained about music she heard playing in her head. I want to reinforce your advice to see a neurologist.

I was healthy and active at the age of 60. For several weeks I heard music in my head and ignored it. Then I had a brain stem stroke.

I don't know if promptly seeing a neurologist would have helped me, but I wish I had been aware that this could have been the symptom of something serious.

We have heard from neurologists and other patients that when a person suddenly starts hearing music in his or her head, it is important to get a complete evaluation. Although not all situations are as serious as yours, music in the head might be more than a minor annoyance.

I have a plantar wart on the bottom of my left foot, close to my toes. I have had it for a year and a half.

I saw a podiatrist, who said the easiest approach would be to use Dr. Scholl's salicylic acid wart pads for a couple of months. The wart shrank a little but did not go away.

The doctor says he could try using a laser, freezing it or cutting it out. Do you have any home remedies that might get rid of this wart before I resort to surgery?

Plantar warts on the bottom of the feet can be painful and difficult to treat. Surgery can keep you off your feet for several days and might leave a scar.

Home remedies are not foolproof, but readers report success with duct tape. Cut a piece of tape the size of the wart and put it over the wart for a week. Take it off, soak the wart in warm water, scrape with an emery board and replace with new duct tape the next day. It could take a couple of months for this to work.

Another remedy (Cleveland Clinic Quarterly, 1962) involves soaking the wart in hot water (110 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 to 90 minutes per week. This too will take time.

Thank you so much for your radio show on celiac disease. It inspired me to stop eating gluten-containing grains, and I have never felt better. I am 38 years old and can trace symptoms all the way back to my childhood, but no doctor ever diagnosed it.

I had one close call with severe diarrhea, cramps and gas after eating pizza, but the doctor discounted it as an intestinal virus. I guess that's why no one considered a celiac diagnosis. Is there a test for this disease? Or should I just control my diet forever?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. When the intestine is exposed to the protein gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye, it reacts in a destructive manner. This response interferes with proper nutrient absorption and can lead to a host of problems, including anemia and osteoporosis. Forgetfulness and nerve damage can also result.

There is indeed a blood test for celiac disease. Your doctor can test for tissue-trans-glutaminase, or TTG, to determine if you are sensitive to gluten. If so, you will need to avoid wheat, rye and barley to prevent serious complications.

Many people suffer for years with fatigue, anemia and vague digestive problems before being diagnosed. Celiac is far more common than most doctors realize.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them from their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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