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Dear Dr. Roach: Has the use of white powder, monatomic gold nutritional supplement been verified by the medical profession? Are the claims of mental clarity, long life span, disease cures, etc., accurate?

D.S.C.

Dear D.S.C.: I thought I knew supplements pretty well, but hadn’t heard of monatomic gold. Monatomic gold is supposed to be an “orbitally rearranged monoatomic element.”

In fact, these don’t exist chemically, and anyone selling a product like this and claiming health benefits is deliberately scamming you or is confused.

Metallic gold is inert and has no effect in the body, as opposed to gold salts, which are powerful and potentially dangerous medications, now seldom used for rheumatic diseases.

Avoid “monatomic gold” supplements.

Dear Dr. Roach: My primary care doctor hasn’t been able to answer this. What are the pros and cons of having shingles vaccine if one has genital herpes and is being treated with acyclovir?

I’m in my 60s.

A.A.

Dear A.A.: The potentially confusing issue is that genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus II, which is in the same family of viruses as varicella-zoster virus, the cause of shingles.

However, the vaccine will have no effect on the herpes or its treatment, so you have the same recommendation as the average person, which is to get the vaccine. Anyone over 60 should have the vaccine unless there is a reason he or she can’t get it, such as having a serious immune system disease (like advanced HIV), being on medications that suppress the immune system, or having recently had cancer chemotherapy.

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 75-year-old male on Coumadin who recently took a fall. I badly bruised my shin.

Initially, it swelled up the size of half a grapefruit but now, two weeks later, it’s still very tender and the size of half an orange.

I first iced and elevated it. Lately I have tried heat, an elastic wrap and even my TENS unit, but nothing seems to reduce the swelling and sensitivity.

Any suggestions?

B.N.

Dear B.N.: A bone bruise, called a periosteal hematoma, happens when small blood vessels are broken in the lining of the bone, called the periosteum.

The blood collects and forms a tender lump at the site of injury. It can happen at any bone, but the shin is very common due to its being very superficial.

Warfarin (Coumadin) works by preventing the liver from making blood-clotting proteins, making for a larger blood collection, which takes longer to heal.

As long as your INR is in range, though, it will eventually heal.

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.

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