Medicine: One Man's Addiction

Doctors have long fretted because peptic ulcer patients stubbornly ignored their warnings that sodium bicarbonate, the kitchen's ever-present help in time of heartburn, may cause alkali poisoning and dangerous gaseous distention of the stomach. But it remained for Glasgow's Dr. Andrew Greig Melrose to report, in the Scottish Medical Journal, a case of outright addiction to bicarb, an addiction so intense that the victim suffered severe withdrawal sickness when taken off the stuff.

The patient, a male nurse, was only 29 when a doctor told him to take sodium bicarbonate routinely for his...

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