About a month ago, I wrote a column about possible declining service at the Social Security Administration. I pointed out that I get frequent emails from readers who complain about overflowing waiting rooms, generally unpleasant surroundings, and overall poor service following a visit to the Social Security office. And I get many more emails complaining about the service, or rather lack of good service, provided at SSA's 800 number.
There are two ways to talk up bipartisanship. You can give the notion lip service. You can lament its loss in modern politics. You can lay the blame of partisan rancor on the times and not at your own clay feet. You can say, "It's one of the few regrets of my presidency - that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better," as President Barack Obama shared in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I hope you can help me. I have a pain that I would be embarrassed to share, in my small town, with the person who makes my doctor appointments, then the young girls who take my blood pressure and weight, and then, finally, with the doctor. I'm in my late 40s. In the past year, about three or four times I have been awakened in the middle of the night with pain in my anus. Other than that I'm eating better, I can't think of any changes in my life to account for this ...
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read the letter from the man who took niacin to lower his cholesterol, which resulted in diabetes. I am not sure if you are aware that red yeast rice, which I have been taking, is supposed to reduce cholesterol. To my knowledge, it has no side effects. My doctor said my last tests were good. You might mention this to people as a way of reducing cholesterol. They can buy it over the counter. -- J.D.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have suffered for several years now from irritable bowel syndrome. I believe my symptoms began after back-to-back bouts of food poisoning, possibly norovirus. That said, I noticed something curious, and a gastroenterologist said that while it was not uncommon, he could offer no explanation. I thought maybe you might have a theory.
On the last day of 2015, the longest serving member of President Obama's Cabinet, Arne Duncan, quietly stepped down from his official position as what the Washington Post called "the most powerful education secretary in U.S. history." The federal government now provides about 10 percent of the money spent on public schools, and Duncan used that money, to an extent like never before, to impose his will on local schools.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on PSA screening for prostate cancer. As an oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer, I wanted to add that it is important for patients to understand that 1) screening is very different from diagnosis and treatment, and 2) that the PSA test is a very good and accurate test that does exactly what it is supposed to do: measure the level of PSA in people with prostate cancer. I've heard so many patients, even with metastatic prostate cancer, saying, "I read in the news that PSA is a bad test and ...
Weeks before Ammon Bundy and his pals showed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest five-year federal prison sentences imposed on two Oregon ranchers, a friend alerted me to the ranchers' story. Thanks to federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the government was sending Dwight and Steven Hammond, who had served earlier sentences, back to prison for the same crime. The draconian sentencing that warped the drug war had bled into home on the range.
DEAR DIDI: We have a beautiful 8 month old male bulldog. He is sweet and very sociable with our family and friends. However, he has one issue that is very disconcerting. We can give him treats by hand and he takes them gently, but if we go near his bowl he growls and lifts his lips. My husband attempted to take the bowl from him for being rude and he bit him. He will also act this way over meat bones but not toys. We feel like he is bipolar, or a Jekyl and Hyde. Is there any way to ...
DEAR DR. ROACH: In your recent column on pseudogout, you didn't discuss treatment. I had it earlier this year, and after a while it went away. It was very painful. Is there any medication to help it? -- D.B.