DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have heard that aluminum, found in many deodorants, is harmful and can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Is there any truth to this? Every morning when I put on my deodorant, I think about it. – M.R.
ANSWER: Aluminum is one of the most plentiful metals on earth, and it’s impossible to avoid coming in contact with it. It’s in many commonly used items – food, water, cookware and a number of antiperspirants. It’s also true that aluminum has been found in the brain of some Alzheimer’s patients. For that reason, a few have raised the possible association of aluminum with Alzheimer’s disease.
This matter has been batted about for more than 25 years. Competent investigators have examined the evidence for an association, but no strong proof has been established. Most scientists believe that the tangles of two brain proteins called tau and amyloid (an unusual body product) are the more likely contributors to Alzheimer’s disease.
Personally, I do not worry about aluminum. I don’t think you need to either.
The booklet on Alzheimer’s disease discusses this tragic illness in depth. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue – No. 903W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Would you comment on the tattoo craze? Tattoos are seen more frequently these days, and it’s hard to imagine that this is a healthy trend. Besides the possibility of infections, what are other undesirable effects? Can they be removed? – N.G.
ANSWER: Close to a quarter of the people between the ages of 18 and 50 have at least one tattoo. Why? Self-expression, patriotism (flags), peer pressure, affiliation with certain groups, a testimonial of affection and rebellion are some reasons, and some people find them quite attractive. People have had themselves tattooed for thousands of years. Complications actually are rather rare.
Allergic reactions are possible, and they can take place up to 17 years after getting the tattoo. Disfiguring scars sometimes result. Yellow colors can incite a reaction from sunlight.
Tattoos can be removed. Small ones can be cut off. Larger ones can also be cut off, but removal has to take place in stages. A laser can be used to erase tattoos. A series of treatments is necessary, and often a faint outline of the tattoo remains or a scar forms. Tattoo removal is expensive, something a prospective tattoee should consider.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Nowadays there is such a to-do about gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Which comes first? – F.G.
ANSWER: Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are different names for the same condition. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. People with a sensitivity to gluten develop an inability to absorb nutrients, causing diarrhea and weight loss. Gluten acts like a poison to their digestive tracts.
Treatment is avoidance of those grains and gluten.
You can call the illness celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, gluten enteropathy or sprue – whichever strikes your fancy.
©2008 North America Synd.