Hammer hits heartburn

Here’s something that continues to puzzle me: Why isn’t Arm & Hammer baking soda recommended for heartburn [“Heartburn drugs cost billions, but costs can be controlled,” July 8]?

While living with my parents in the 1950s, I learned to treat heartburn with one teaspoon (or slightly less) of baking soda in a small glass of water. When I see TV ads for relatively expensive medications, I’m perplexed. Baking soda has fixed every case of heartburn I’ve had, and its cost is negligible.

Ralph Sierra, Sterling, Va.

Did she have a pulse?

I am a retired MD, and I love “Medical Mysteries.”

In regards to “Malaria? No. Cancer? No. But what was it?” [July 1], Carol Maryman suffered through pain, disability and dozens of fruitless exams because her doctors didn’t take her pulse.

Ancient Egyptians took the pulse. Chinese herbalists take the pulse. In 1955, we were taught to take the pulse in both wrists. A difference in strength could show narrowing of the aorta. A total lack of pulse would be a big red flag.

Young doctors rely too much on tests and not enough on examining the patient.

Thomas P. Lowry, Woodbridge, Va.