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The Doctor; Doctor Gareth Smith is here to answer all your health queries. Write to him at Dr Gareth, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA. Email

I have been bothered with terrible tinnitus for 20 years. I heard that there might be a cure. Do you know of one? Scientists think they have discovered the cause of tinnitus. It seems that the part of the brain that processes sound develops over-active nerve cells, or neurons, which causes sound to be generated in the brain rather than the ear. This causes the white noise of tinnitus. Researchers are looking at ways of stimulating these nerve cells. But it is in the very experimental stages.

I am terrified that I have bowel cancer after I noticed blood when I went to the toilet. My GP has organised a colonoscopy and says I might have a fissure. Could it be cancer? If your doctor thinks it is a fissure, then that is what it will be. It can be painless if it is inside the rectum, but can cause fresh red blood to be passed in the stool. Bowel cancer tends not to present as bright red blood as it tends to bleed slowly, the blood is partially digested and goes dark in colour. My snoring is so bad that I have to sleep away from my wife every night. I am not obese and don't sleep on my back. Can you help? Ask your GPto refer you to an ENT specialist. Some people are snorers because of nasal polyps or an obstruction in the nose or back of the throat. I ruptured my Achilles tendon and doctors decided to immobilise it in a cast instead of operating. I heard from a fellow patient that surgery is more successful - is this true? When the Achilles tendon ruptures, it can either completely tear or partially tear. The decision whether or not to operate is based on how bad the rupture is and your general health. There is a higher chance of it rupturing again after immobilisation compared to after surgery. In saying that, surgery carries the risk of wound infection.

My mum has high blood pressure and is thinking of going to an Ayurveda practitioner. Is this a good idea? Ayurveda is an Indian medicine that has been around for over 5000 years. It takes a holistic approach, looking at both the spiritual and physical side of things. I am not advocating it as a replacement for western medicine, but it can be used to great effect as a complementary medicine.

Yoga and meditation are key practices. My grandson was born with a harelip. Why didn't they see it during my daughter's scans? Most scans look at the spine, head circumference and growth of the baby. Only if indicated by a family history will a detailed scan be performed to look for any non-life-threatening abnormalities, such as a cleft palate.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 16, 2010
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