DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a 70-year-old woman, and my face is starting to sag. A friend told me to use Tucks pads. They tighten the skin. Do you recommend this? – H.M.

I have heard the same information, and the use of Tucks for nonsurgical plastic surgery was quite the rage for a time. I thought that the practice had died a natural death.

Tucks are used to soothe the irritation of hemorrhoids. I can’t find any evidence that they tighten facial skin, but I also can’t find any information that they hurt the skin. You can try them if you want.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have tried many times to get you to answer my question. I was a highly decorated World War II prisoner of war. I was shot down flying B-29s. I was held in solitary confinement and fed a small bowl of white rice each meal and a small amount of water. I have had many medical problems as a result of all this.

The question I now have is this: without warning, my index finger and little finger will suddenly extend out. It is painful. It happens at any time. The veterans hospital examined me and took X-rays. They gave me no answer. Can you tell me what this is? – C.P.

I can’t ignore the request of a veteran who has given so much for his country, but I don’t know what this is or what to do for it. I appeal to all readers, doctors and lay people, to help me provide information for this man.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Did early American doctors have to learn German since so many older medical tests were in German? – J.R.

ANSWER: No, they didn’t. But many American doctors did go to Europe to study in Germany, Austria, France and England in the days before first-rate medical schools existed here.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from

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