Q. A friend of mine was diagnosed with Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. Have you ever heard of this?
Not until now. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a rare, unexplained disorder that produces an extreme startle reaction to a sudden noise or sight.
Jumping Frenchmen of Maine was first identified during the late 1800s in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec. It was discovered among an isolated population of French-Canadian lumberjacks. Since the discovery, the extreme startle reaction has been found in other societies in many parts of the world.
Q. I’m going to the doctor and I don’t want to forget to ask him important questions. Any suggestions on how to prepare for this visit?
Whether you’re talking to a family physician, a specialist or pharmacist, you need to know the right questions. My research turned up hundreds of possible questions.
I narrowed the list down to the ones I considered to be the most significant. You can pick out the ones that apply to you.
What is the outlook for my condition?
Could relatives get this?
What changes will I need to make?
Q. Should I take minerals?
It’s important to talk with your doctor before you take mineral pills, especially if you take prescription medicines, have any health problems or are elderly. Taking too much of a mineral can cause problems with some medical tests or interfere with drugs you’re taking.
Minerals are “micronutrients” your body needs in small but steady amounts. Your body can’t make most micronutrients, so you must get them elsewhere.
Second of two parts
A common cold, exhaustion, stress, hunger, sleep deprivation, even allergies can make you depressed, which leads to negative thoughts.
However, in many cases, depression can be caused by negative thinking. Our feelings follow what we are thinking. Dwelling upon negative thoughts can send us spiraling down into depression.
I found many techniques for fending off negative thoughts and becoming a happier person. The following are ones that worked for me.
First of two parts
Q. I find myself thinking one sad thought after another and it makes me depressed. Is there anything I can do to stop this?
Everyone gets depressed occasionally, but gloom should not be persistent in your life. Go to your doctor for a checkup. You might need medication or therapy.
The cause of your depression could be a physical illness, life events, personality problems, side effects from drugs or combinations of these elements. Your doctor’s choice of treatment, or no treatment, will be based upon symptom frequency and test results.
Q. When doctors perform a cardiac ablation, what do they use to clean the heart?
This question made me laugh because I had the same misconception as the correspondent. We both confused ablation with ablution. Ablation is a surgical excision of tissue. Ablution is a cleansing with water or another liquid.
Cardiac ablation corrects heart arrhythmias by destroying tissue that blocks the electrical signal traveling through your heart to make it beat. By clearing the signal pathway of the abnormal tissue, your heart can beat properly again.
Q. What is the most common blood type?
Q. What exactly degenerates when you get macular degeneration?
The macula. It is at the center of the retina in the back of your eye. The retina transmits light from the eye to the brain. The macula allows us to perform tasks that require central vision such as reading and driving.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in United States citizens 60 years of age and older.
A while ago, I wrote a column about my wife, Gale, who told me she was hearing talk radio in her head. I researched this and I’m convinced that Gale is picking up radio signals through her teeth.
In the column, I invited readers to submit their experiences. The following are some accounts from my e-mailbag. I’m using only first names in case these readers would rather not have anyone else know about the radios in their heads.
Q. Isn’t living in the country healthier than living in the city?
I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to that question. My first reaction to this inquiry was that life in the country is much healthier. It seemed obvious because of the crime, pollution, crowding and stress of the city.
However, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), a national nonprofit organization, gave me some surprising information that made me rethink my answer.
Here are some of the facts from the NRHA: