I have arthritis. According to what I have read, I should avoid eating eggplant. Is this true? Is there any special diet I should follow for arthritis? R.L., Zichron Ya'acov
Olga Raz, chief clinical dietitian of Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, answers:
There is a theory that the plants of the Solenacea family (tomato or eggplants) are forbidden in arthritis. Actually, there is no evidence this is true. I usually do not limit my arthritic patients in these foods, except in cases of those who don't want to eat them or don't like them anyway. The diet should be based on complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, basmati rice, pasta, buckwheat, lentils and sweet potatoes. I usually advise to limit the consumption of meat and dairy products to three times a week.
With arthritis, it is important to eat the "right" oils - olive and canola, plus capsules of fish oil (omega 3) or blackcurrant oil. There is a whole system of details and recommendations depending, of course, on the clinical condition of patients, their food preferences and what drugs they are treated with. Consult a clinical dietitian for personalized information.
I am a young adult woman who suffers from excessive ear wax. My mother insists on trying candling, in which the ear wax is heated so it can become liquid and be easily removed. She says her mother used it and it is very useful, but the idea scares me. Is it dangerous?
Dr. Thomas Eby, a leading otolaryngologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, comments:
Ear candling, an increasingly popular technique that softens earwax for easier removal, is not effective and sometimes causes burns. Earwax is normal, and it probably serves a protective function against bacteria, fungi and small insects. Earwax does not make the ear dirty, and routine cleaning is not required. But in excess, it can block the ear canal. The safest way to clean ears yoursel is to buy over-the-counter wax softening drops, which loosen the wax. Then gently irrigate the ear with warm water, using a small bulb syringe. This cleaning should not be attempted if you have an earache or a known hole in the eardrum. Go to your ear-nose-and-throat specialist if this is the case.
I suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in my eyes. In a book I read that cataract operations may adversely affect this condition or cause AMD. Is this true? E.S., Haifa
Prof. Anat Loewenstein, director of the ophthalmology department at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, replies:
This is not true. Just a week or two ago, a report on this issue was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmoloy meeting in Chicago by researchers of epidemiology and clinical research at the National Eye Institute of the US National Institutes of Health.
The researchers conducted a study after worrisome findings from the Beaver Dam Eye Study and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, both of which showed there was about a five percent increased risk of new blood vessels growing (neovascularization) in the eyes of patients who had undergone cataract surgery.The National Eye Institute researchers assessed the effects of cataract operations every six months in these patients using four statistical approaches to determine if there was an association between the two. After a six-year follow-up, all these methods indicated that cataract surgery was not associated with progression to AMD. Thus, they concluded that there is little or no connection between cataract removal and the development of AMD, and that patients who need cataract surgery should not be unnecessarily worried that they are going to increase their risk of AMD. There also seems to be no danger in AMD patients that their condition will worsen if they have a cataract operation.
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