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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of August 21, 2000

    Question:   One of my kidneys functions at about 20%. For the past 6 months, I have gotten numerous kidney infections. Often times I have dull pain in my back that does not go away. Will my body ever be able to fight off the infections? Will my kidney eventually have to be removed if the pain and infections do not go away? Can anything done to prevent this from getting any worse?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   Which books (preferably, just one book, if you can!) would you recommend as a comprehensive tool for patients to be more aware of their health? Something easy-to-use, with photographs, symptomology, etc. Patients always seem to ask for such resources, and I just can't narrow it down!    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   Our son has asthma and for two years his daily regimen has been six puffs of cromolyn sodium via Aerochamber, with one puff of Ventolin as needed. We use the nebulizer as needed. This year we've noticed a tic developing (a blinking of the eyes and a stretching of the neck) which gets worse under stress. He is aware and tries to stop it but can't. Are all tics psychologically based or could the long-term use of cromolyn and or Ventolin be causing this? What tests would you recommend and are there other meds that may be safer?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:  I suffer with severe pain in my shoulder and neck. My doctor took an MRI/X-ray and found two huge bulging disks and suggested surgery. He said they would remove the bad disks and replace with bone, not mine but from someone else's. I never heard of this. He is also using Titanium to secure these new disks. This sounds different and I never heard of this kind of surgery. Is this a new procedure? What kind of surgery do you call this and should I get a second opinion?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer