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Ask Dr. Gott 8/10

False nails might make brittle nails worse

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    DEAR DR. GOTT: 1.) I love your newspaper column! It's my favorite part of the paper!
    2.) My fingernails are very thin, and they break and split. What can I do to make them strong and grow long naturally?
    3.) I have psoriasis behind my ears and in my scalp. What can I do? It drives me crazy! Is it caused by something I am eating, hereditary or what? (I have seen my doctor for it.)
    4.) Do you have a book in print? If so, please give me the title and where I can purchase it.
    5.) I can't wait to try the castor oil on my husband. He has a bad arthritic knee.
    DEAR READER: 1.) Thank you for your compliment.
    2.) Your psoriasis may be causing your brittle nails. The problem is difficult to treat. See a dermatologist for your skin problem. If you use false nails, the adhesive used to attach the nails may be contributing to your problem. Stop using the false nails, remove all the adhesive and let them grow naturally for three or four weeks. If after that time they are still brittle, try using Vicks VapoRub. Some of my readers have had success treating their nails with this product. I cannot endorse this, but it might be an option while you're waiting to see the specialist. Rub Vicks into the nails twice a day.
    3.) No one knows the cause of psoriasis, but a dermatologist may be able to prescribe new therapy with which I am not familiar. Again, readers have had some success with rubbing Vicks onto the patches. This may be difficult with the psoriasis on your scalp, but try it on the patches behind your ears.
    4.) I have several books. "No House Calls" is out of print but can be found in some libraries or used bookstores. My general health-matters book is "Live Longer, Live Better," available through Quill Driver Books (800-605-7176). I have a picture book called "Summer Windows of 'Sconset," available through Ice Island Press. My newest book is "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet," available at most bookstores or online at Also available for pre-order through is "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook." This is a follow up to the diet book and contains more than 200 recipes. It will be available in January 2008.
    5.) Castiva is available in most pharmacies. It consists of a natural castor oil base and comes in a warming or cooling formula. Many readers who have tried it experienced improvement in their arthritis pain. Perhaps this product would help your husband.
    To give you related information, I am sending copies of my Health Reports "Understanding Osteoarthritis" and "Eczema and Psoriasis." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 for each report to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).

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