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People’s Pharmacy


Aluminum link to Alzheimer’s prompts outrage

By Joe & Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon are authors of The People's Pharmacy book and host an award-winning health talk show on public radio.

Q. You are worrying people unnecessarily about aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. This myth was debunked years ago.

The controversy over aluminum exposure and brain toxicity has not disappeared. Recent research suggests aluminum is linked to neurotoxicity and even dementia (Immunologic Research online, April 2013).

Aluminum is found in higher concentrations in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease online, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2013). A preliminary study found that drinking silicon-rich mineral water helps remove aluminum from the body and may improve cognition (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2013).

We have interviewed some of the world’s leading experts on aluminum toxicity.

Vicks on the feet

Q. I have heard that when your child has a cough, you should put Vicks on his feet. I thought that was ridiculous.

My son is 7 and has a nasty virus right now, as do I. I decided to try Vicks on his chest. My husband said to put it on his feet. Still thinking it was silly, I put it on my son’s feet but not mine. He slept all night with no coughing. I was awake most of the night coughing.

Camphor, eucalyptol and menthol, all found in Vicks, are approved OTC cough-medicine ingredients. Why applying this ointment to soles of the feet could quell a cough remains a mystery.

Coated or uncoated aspirin?

Q. My doctor has recommended enteric-coated aspirin to protect my heart without damaging my stomach. I have recently read that coated aspirin doesn’t always protect the heart as well as regular aspirin. Would I be safer buying chewable aspirin?

The study you are referring to was published in the journal Circulation (Jan. 22, 2013). Some of the people taking coated aspirin had a much-delayed anti-clotting response. This may not matter for daily aspirin users like you. However, doctors may recommend uncoated or chewable aspirin for people who suspect a heart attack in progress.

Email Joe and Teresa Graedon at Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”

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