Alerting the public to a variety of hazardous situations.
Alerts, Warnings & Safeguards
If you have suggestions for this page, please
A UCLA study determined that
two over-the-counter pain medications, ibuprofen and naproxen, appear to
"dissolve and even prevent the formation of the plaque that is believed
to kill brain cells in Alzheimer's patients."
[Readers Digest Medical Update, July 2003]
I want to
sound an alarm about Gelnique in elderly patients. My
86-year-old father applied this gel for bladder control.
After three weeks of daily use, he
started acting odd. A month in, he had symptoms of dementia. The
insert that came with the drug never mentioned this as a side
I made him quit taking it because
he developed a rash. Not only did the rash go away, but so did
most of the cognitive symptoms. Hopefully he will get back to
where he was once the drug is out of his system.
I donít want others to lose their
minds needlessly. Thank goodness I did not chalk this reaction
up to his age, as his physician did.
A: Your father was fortunate that
you were so vigilant. Drugs for overactive bladder such as
oxybutynin (Ditropan, Gelnique, Oxytrol) can affect
memory and cognition, especially in older people (Current
Urology Reports, October 2011). Whether the drug is taken orally
or as a patch or gel, it gets into the circulation and can
affect the brain.
other medications also may interfere with optimal brain function
in the elderly (Der Internist, October 2012). They include
anti-anxiety drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) or
lorazepam (Ativan), certain antibiotics (e.g.,
ciprofloxacin), some antidepressants (amitriptyline,
doxepin) and narcotic pain relievers (oxycodone).
their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from
readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th
St., 15th floor, New York, NY 10019, or via their website:
www.peoplespharmacy.org This information published in
he December 16, 2012 edition of the Seattle Times in the column
One out of every two men and
one out of every three women will develop heart disease during their
lifetime. Your risk will increase as you get older. To
find out your current heart attack risk, try the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institutes online calculator that assesses your risk of
dying of heart attack or heart disease in the next ten years. [To
use it you will need to be ready to enter your "Total cholesterol,"
your "HDL cholesterol" level, and your systolic blood pressure.
[Your systolic blood pressure is measured before the diastolic
blood pressure and is the first (and highest) figure in a blood pressure
Mayo Clinic--Value of
Aspirin [RE: Heart Attacks]
Dr. Virend Somers, is a
Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, and is lead author of the report in
the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of
Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon.
Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest,
means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have
been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is
1. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at
night. The reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life"; therefore,
if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the
Aspirin would be strongest in your system.
2. FYI, Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest for
years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).
Please read on. Something that we can do to help ourselves - nice
to know. Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on
the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets.
Why keep Aspirin by your bedside? It's about Heart Attacks - There are
other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the pain on the left arm. One
must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and
lots of sweating; however, these symptoms may also occur less
Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.
The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their
sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may
wake you up from your deep sleep.
If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth
and swallow them with a bit of water.
- Call 911. Tell them you are having a heart attack and need help.
Answer their questions.
- Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by.
- Say, "heart attack!"
- Say, I have taken 2 Aspirins."
- Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door. Unlock the
door, wait for their arrival and
...DO NOT LIE DOWN!
Aspirin and Stroke (May 16,
2010: 7:12 p.m.)
One evening sitting,
watching television, I suffered a stroke that paralyzed my entire right
side and made it impossible to speak. I was blissfully unaware of
this and sat glued to the TV. But my wife noticed something wrong
with me and checked for stroke symptoms. Saying, "You're having a
stroke," she went to the medicine cabinet, came back and crammed two
aspirin in my mouth and said, "Chew these aspirins." I obediently
sat motionless chewing the aspirin and feeling them dissolve on my
tongue and disappear into my blood stream. I could hear her
in the next room as she called 911, saying I was having a stroke.
10 minutes later there were four big men in my TV room (EMTs and
firefighters) checking me out as I sat mute and passive. In
seconds, I was moved on to a gurney, strapped down, carried out the door
and into a waiting ambulance. Half way through the trip to the
emergency room, still laying on the gurney, I raised my right hand and
looked at it and realized it was working again. The aspirin was
dissolving the clot and my paralysis was disappearing. On the
emergency room examining table I was still not able to speak, but the
rest of my body was working again. Now, fully recovered, I thank
God and my wife for helping me survive. AND, I have aspirin in all
the medicine cabinets, in both cars and in my carry on bag that I take
on plane trips. Floyd Else, webmaster: Counseling
Atkins Diet Can Cause Depression
by Mark Prigg, Daily Mail, reported
the UK Therapists Newsletter, March 5, 2004.
The Atkins diet is at the centre of fresh controversy after
scientists said it could cause depression and mood swings. Medical
experts have found that the diet blocks the brain's ability to produce
chemicals that keep us happy.
Nutritionists have called for people to abandon
the diet, claiming they could be risking their mental health as well as
The key to the research is serotonin. This is the chemical released in
the brain that keeps us relaxed and positive.
The team, led by Dr Judith Wurtman at MIT - one of America's top
research universities - discovered that high levels of carbohydrates and
low levels of proteins are the key to producing enough serotonin to
regulate mood. But this is the opposite of the Atkins diet ideal.
According to Dr Wurtman, low-carb diets can lead
to grumpiness, irritability and even depression. She added that the
problem was magnified in women, who have naturally lower levels of
serotonin in the brain.
Dr Wurtman said: "Serotonin is involved in keeping our moods stable,
making us calm and serene and allowing us to focus and concentrate. When
you take away the carbohydrates, it's like taking away water from
someone trekking through the desert."
The MIT team studied the levels of serotonin in the brain of 100
volunteers during a 12-week study. Some were given a high carbohydrate
diet and others ate more protein-rich foods.
Those on high carbohydrates produced higher levels
of serotonin and were more relaxed. Dr Wurtman said: "If you eat a
potato when you are feeling grumpy or angry, you'll be feeling better in
30 to 40 minutes."
Carbs control appetite
The study also revealed carbohydrates played a key role in controlling
appetite. Dr Wurtman added: "When serotonin is made and becomes active
in your brain, its effect on your appetite is to make you feel full
before your stomach is stuffed and stretched."
Her research showed how the brain satisfied its need for carbohydrates
in some people when serotonin levels were low. "These are the people we
call ' carbohydrate cravers', who need a certain amount to keep their
moods steady," said Dr Wurtman.
Nutritionist Natalie Savona was not surprised by
the research. She said: "The Atkins diet just isn't good. It is far too
extreme. In terms of day-to-day moods, diet and carbohydrate levels make
a big difference."
Stones and High Protein Diets
When you digest protein from
meat and other animal products, they are broken down into acids.
Your body uses calcium from your bones to bind with and neutralize the
acid. When the kidneys filter these particles from your blood,
calcium is left behind and over time binds together to form stones.
When you body tries to excrete the stone it can be extremely painful.
Kidney stones have generally
been considered a male problem, but since women are more likely than men
to try these diets, stones in women have increased by 46% over an 18
year period (while the increase for men was 29%).
The simplest fix is to avoid
high-protein diets. But if you must try one, talk to your doctor
first. [C.D. in RDHEALTH, Feb
2004, Readers Digest]
Best Flu Defense is in Your Hands--Literally
Condensed from a story by Tom Paulson
Seattle P-I reporter
November 2, 2005
..."Hands are the primary transmitters
of flu," said Dorothy Teeter, interim director of Public Health - Seattle and King
Perhaps contrary to popular belief,
the flu virus generally doesn't float around in the air looking for lungs to
infect. It instead prefers to hang out in the large droplets coughed or sneezed
out from those infected. Transmission of the virus, according to the US Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, tends to take place only when someone is close
enough to catch a droplet or contact a doorknob that some wheezing sic person has
dropped droplets on.
If everyone actually followed that
tired, old nagging reminder to engage in regular hand-washing, Teeter said, the
virus would have a much harder time getting to new hosts. The use of gel-based
alcohol solutions, she noted, is a convenient alternative to hand-washing.
"And if people are sick, they need to
stay at home," said Dr. Mazine Hayes, state health officer with the Department of Health.
...About 36,000 people die each year
from routine flu, she noted, yet public health agencies still throw away many
unused flu vaccines ever year.
Wash your hands often.
Get a flu shot.
Imagine that you receive an email from a friend warning you about a terrible new computer virus or the danger of visiting the mall on Halloween. Some warnings are real; many are phony. What do you do?
Send it off to alert your other friends, thinking that it's your duty to warn them! What else could a friend do? STOP!
Several web sites list known hoaxes. Visit the well known Urban Legends Reference
Pages.) Or check out a site that
is devoted to "killing hoaxes" such as
anti-virus and anti-spam for business
If the email you received is a hoax, send a reply back to your friends and let them know. Help stop the spread of hoax emails
and the worry and fear that they cause.
spoofs & Phishing--Protect Yourself
"The Number One Publication on Internet Fraud"
eBay has an excellent
how to avoid "Spoof (fake) Emails:" including 1. What is spoof
email? 2. How to spot a spoof email. 3. How to spot a fake Web site. 4.
What do do about spoofs.
E-mail Scams: Phishing--What is phishing? All Internet users should be aware of the online
scam known as "phishing" (pronounced "fishing"). Phishing involves the
use of e-mail messages that appear to come from your bank or another
trusted business, but are actually from imposters. [More
security information from Washington Mutual Bank.]
Report phishing emails to
the Anti-Phishing Working Group
and do your part to stomp out this insidious threat to our payment
systems and e-commerce infrastructure. Click the top left "Report
Phishing" link for instructions.
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team
US-CERT is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and
the public and private sectors. Established to protect the nation's
Internet infrastructure, US-CERT coordinates defense against and
responses to cyber attacks across the nation.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime
Center (NW3C). IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly
expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts
authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.
Reviews and Suggestions Regarding LIFESTYLE LIFTS
RealSelf.com publishes before and after photos of LifeStyle Lift patients with both positive and negative results.
A number of comments recommending steps people should take to evaluate the doctor who is doing the procedure.
Several mention that regular plastic surgery by a highly qualified plastic surgeon would have been only a few thousand more. Another
suggests, if the doctor says he is board certified, ask, "What board?"
This is recommended reading before any face lift procedure. Names
and address of patient doctors are only disclosed to viewers who
register (for free).
Tax Scams--IRS Warnings
Tax season bringing out the fraud artists. How do you know that the sender of an e-mail that
has landed in your inbox is trying to steal your money or your identity? The message comes right out and asks for it.
Seattle Times Story: Look for IRS tax TIPS.
Don't Fall for Jury Duty Scam--Accused
of Missing Jury Duty
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an
officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say
you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for "verification
purposes"-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number. This is when you
should hang up the phone. It's an identity theft scam. [
Thanks to FBI report.]
| Return to top |
To decrease the amount of national advertising mail you receive through
the mail, write to Mail Preference Service, % Direct Marketing
Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008 and ask that your
address be removed from their mailing lists. It may take three to
six months, but their members will stop sending you unwanted mail.
It doesn't stop mail from non-members.
| Return to top |
Since July 1, 2003, you can sign up on the Federal Trade Commission "Do
not call" website. [Or call 1-888-382-1222--you
must be calling from the telephone that you wish to list, otherwise use
the website.] There is no charge.
Your Cell Phone: "The
Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association is compiling a
directory of wireless phone numbers. It claims that only people
who choose to be listed will be included. But to be sure to
minimize unwanted calls, add your cell phone digits to the...National Do
Not Call Registry" [AARP Bulletin, January 2005, Vol. 46, No. 1.]
The National Do Not Call List will
not end all telephone solicitation--only calls from interstate telephone
solicitors (those calling across state lines). And there are
exceptions for certain types of businesses and firms that you have
recently done business with. These you must still ask, "Please
take me off your calling list"--and, in Washington State, they are
required to do so!
FTC info: con
artists are still swindling consumers
Steps you can take to protect yourself.
| Return to top |
You are totally unaware. Unknown to you, someone else has assumed your identity for the purpose of opening credit card accounts and buying merchandise.
Suddenly one day, collection agencies are after you. They have tracked you down and they want their payments. You have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
You never bought that boat or stayed in that hotel. But they know it's you--it's your name and social security number. Your credit rating is destroyed.
You have failed to protect yourself from IDENTITY THEFT. What do
you do now?
Federal Trade Commission's
Identity Theft Hotline
--call 1-877-IDTHEFT (that's 877-438-4338) or
Theft & Privacy.
Identity Theft Resource Center
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act
Congress, in the form of a bill sponsored
by Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash, has acted to address the
identity theft problem.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 provides a
standard affidavit for identity theft victims to fill out and give to creditors, who then have 30 days to
release to the victim financial records that might help clear their
names. The records now also will be made available to
investigators. [Sam Skolnik, Seattle P-I, 1/1/04]
| Return to top |
Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Recognizing a credit repair scam. Credit repair: How to help yourself.
"Erase Bad Credit," "Clean Up Your Credit History," "Create a New Credit
Identity." FTC tells consumers, "These claims are all false.
National Foundation for Credit Counseling to get names of local &
regional recommended consumer credit counseling services.
Annual free credit reports
Depending on the part of the county you live in the three major credit reporting agencies are phasing in the service--beginning
December 1, 2004 for the western US. The credit services have opened up a joint website so that you can get
free credit reports from one or all three. The website is located at
http://www.annualcreditreport.com. Besides entering basic identification questions the agencies will ask
another qualifying question that only you are likely to be able to answer.
Pre-approved credit card offers
that come in the mail create the potential for Identity Theft. Thieves can steal the cards from the mail and you
won't miss them because the cards have been issues without your knowledge. The thieves immediately put through a change of address and
future statements are delivered to an address of their choosing. In the meantime, they are running up huge bills in your name and against
your credit record.
By calling 1-888-567-8688 you can contact all three credit bureaus and trigger a two year
opt-out of unsolicited credit offers. To opt-out permanently, you need to write each of the credit unions. [Thanks to the
Clark Howard team--see below.]
| Return to top |
Consumer Product Safety Commission's press releases and
product recall notices.
| Return to top |
TEAM CLARK HOWARD'S
CONSUMER ACTION CENTER
In 1993 Clark Howard opened the Consumer Action Center, an advice
service for consumer questions staffed by over 140 volunteers. His
consumer protection radio show is heard across the nation.
| Return to top |
If you have suggestions for this page, please
contact us with your idea.
Return to top | |