Your letters

Consumer Reports Magazine: January 2012

Heart of the matter

Extinguish Holiday Heartburn” (Health, November 2011) is timely and interesting. I’m surprised, though, that you didn’t mention sodium bicarbonate—old-fashioned baking soda.

Gordon Trotter
Columbia, MD

Sodium bicarbonate isn’t the best antacid because of its side effects (burping and flatulence) and sodium levels.

The business of medicine

Through the years I’ve learned to rely on Consumer Reports for accurate reporting and attention to detail. But the image in the health reform time line (“Health Insurance,” November 2011) should have been the staff of Asclepius (the symbol of medicine), not the caduceus of Hermes (the symbol of commerce). The commerce symbol is inappropriate except in an ironic sense.

Howard Stern
Millwood, NY

Something to digest

In your article “Go with Your Gut: Top-Rated Yogurts” (Up Front, July 2011), the important point when it comes to probiotics is: More is not necessarily better. When choosing a probiotic, choose first a product with positive human studies documenting health benefits, and then be sure the dose delivered in the product matches the effective dose.

Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D.
Executive Director, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics

It is important to choose a probiotic that has been well studied and whose effective dose has been determined, as we indicated in the article. Probiotics strains are often proprietary, so we measured the most commonly used and studied probiotic genera of bacteria, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

Correction

In “Health Insurance” (November 2011) we incorrectly stated that UnitedHealthcare didn’t have any plans in the top 100 private plans. Oxford Health Plans, a United-Healthcare subsidiary, has three: Oxford Health Plans (Connecticut), 92nd; Oxford Health Plans of New York, 97th; and Oxford Health Insurance—New York, 99th.

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