Understanding Sjogren’s

Thank you for the excellent Medical Mysteries article on Sjogren’s syndrome [“7 years of misery and uncertainty,” April 16].

As soon as I started reading the article, I knew what the answer was because I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s two years ago after seeing an article about Venus Williams having this disease. Over the years, I have had many ailments, including polio and breast cancer (twice). I got shingles three years ago, and it took three doctors to diagnose it and various other health problems that just couldn’t be helped.

So it is a relief to know what the problem is and what can help alleviate some of the pain. As my rheumatologist says, Sjogren’s isn’t fatal, but it is terribly annoying and frustrating. I will be 80 years old this July, and I hope to make it another 10 years or more. So keep printing articles like this one so people can get help and not feel like they are imagining things.

Martha E. Strombotne,


Soothing aching bones

Your article on minimizing arthritis symptoms [“Don’t jump into joint surgery,” April 16] did not mention another effective approach: chiropractic care.

After years of cortisone shots in my knees, which provided only a temporary solution as I attempted to ward off replacement surgery, I started going to a chiropractor for a neck and shoulder injury. He also recommended knee adjustments. I have been pretty much pain-free for 21 / 2 years now and am able to walk two to three miles a day. I’m 53, and it’s my hope that I can postpone surgery indefinitely, if not permanently.

Mary Campbell,  Arnold

Treating dementia

Regarding “When the Mind Starts to Go” [April 9]: I was an ICU nurse in the 1970s when researchers identified ICU syndrome, post-operation confusion with hallucinations related sensory deprivation and overload plus pain medications. The patients were very much like dementia patients.

I find the validation method worrisome. We told people what we observed, validating reality. Then we could go into the feelings behind the disruption. I once had a patient who told me there was a nest of rattlesnakes on the foot of her bed and she was afraid to stretch out. I told her I did not see any snakes and she said they disappeared instantly. Later, she told me she had known there were no snakes in her bed in the ICU but she could see them; she was relieved when I confirmed that what her eyes were seeing was indeed not real. Had I asked her questions about the snakes, I think her fears would have increased because maybe she’d think the snakes were really there.

Regina Carelli, Silver Spring