Q. Does massage do anything besides make you feel relaxed?
Massage therapy, or massage, was first used thousands of years ago. Ancient writings include references to massage in Greece, Japan, China, Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent.
Massage became popular in the United States during the 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, advances in medicine overshadowed massage treatment. Then, massage started a revival in the 1970s.
Second of two parts
Statins, which are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are drugs that lower cholesterol by blocking the liver substance responsible for making cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has accumulated on your artery walls.
Some of the best-known statins include: simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and fluvastatin (Lescol).
In addition to reducing cholesterol, there are other advantages to taking statins.
First of two parts
Q. I’ve heard statins referred to as wonder drugs that we should put in our drinking water. Do they deserve this reputation?
Statins, which are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are drugs that reduce cholesterol by blocking the liver substance responsible for making cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in blood. You need it to produce cell membranes, protect nerves, and make hormones.
Q. I’m getting pain in my right leg and my doctor says its sciatica. Could you write one of your columns about this?
Sciatica is pain that runs down the sciatic nerve from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. Age-related changes in the spine are a common cause of sciatica.
Other sciatica symptoms include numbness, muscle weakness, a burning sensation and tingling. In rare cases, there is a loss of bladder or bowel control. Usually only one side of your body experiences sciatica.
Q. What exactly is Salmonella and how can I avoid it?
Salmonella are microscopic living creatures that spread from the feces of people or animals. Salmonella can be found in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and unwashed produce. Any food can become contaminated. Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States.
Salmonellosis is an infection of the intestinal tract from the bacteria. Symptoms of the infection, which usually last four days to a week, include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and headache.
Q. How common are albinos?
People get their color from a pigment called melanin. Albinos have no melanin in their skin, hair or eyes.
Q. I’ve been reading about athletes using steroids to build themselves up. Do these drugs work for older men?
First some background on steroids. There are two types of steroids: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids, such as cortisone and prednisone, are drugs that help control inflammation. Anabolic steroids, such as androstenedione or andro, are substances that can help the body make muscle.
Q. I’ve been reading about “dirty bombs” that spread radiation. They can kill by giving you radiation sickness. What exactly is this?
Radiation sickness is an illness caused by too much exposure to radiation. How ill you become depends on the dose and the rate of exposure. Exposure to low-dose radiation, such as X-ray examinations, does not cause radiation sickness.
Q. Do wrinkle creams work?
The American Academy of Dermatology says that over-the-counter wrinkle creams do little or nothing to reverse wrinkles.
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved prescription tretinoin cream to treat aging skin. In addition, the FDA has also approved lasers for skin treatment.
Tretinoin cream, which is a vitamin A derivative, is sold under the brand names Altinac, Atralin, Avita, Renova, Retin A Micro Gel, Retin-A and Tretin-X.
Q. Does drinking carrot juice help with cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the clear part of the eye that helps focus images like the lens in a camera. Cataracts can blur images and discolor them. Most cataracts are related to aging. More than half of Americans over age 65 have a cataract.
I suspect this reader’s question was inspired by the common belief that carrots are good for your eyes. And carrots are good for your eyes.