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Question: I'm a 53-year-old man, and I stutter. I would like to know if there is some exercise I can do that would help me. Maybe you could send me the address of where I can get help.

- J.L.

Answer: I presume that at your age you have tried some simple answers. I don't want to review a list of failed efforts. That might help others incidentally, but you deserve direct answers.

Begin with a speech pathologist. You should find one listed in the telephone book, or get a name or two from a local medical society.

You can gather impressive medical insights from the most casual contact with an authority. But it is only a beginning.

In fact, I hope you will be hearing from an organization I've contacted for you. I learned from the Stuttering Foundation of America that a lot of help is available for those burdened with stuttering or other speech disorders. Readers can contact the foundation at P.O. Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111; (800) 992-9392.

No single therapy fits all stuttering, since there is no single cause. Stuttering might reflect a difficulty in retrieving words from the brain. It can mean that the person's vocal muscles simply lock up. Or it might be brought about by a faulty breathing pattern.

Question: What causes leg and foot cramps? Is there any medication to relieve them? I have them just before getting out of bed in the morning.

- J.B.

Answer: We have plenty of theories to explain cramps. We know that among athletes, cramps can come from low potassium, low blood sugar or dehydration. The most common causes are muscle overuse and great fatigue.

But let's be honest, most often we haven't the foggiest notion of why cramping occurs.

Non-exertion cramping, which occurs while at rest, is especially difficult to explain. Poor circulation often gets mentioned, but insufficient circulation explains only a small number of cases.

One explanation for the kind of cramp that occurs while lying on the back has the appeal of logic. Lying on your back, your feet tend to drift down toward the end of the bed. Such sustained muscle contraction can easily develop into a calf-muscle cramp.

If that explanation fits, try this exercise before bedtime: Standing, brace your body with your palms outstretched against a wall. In that position, shuffle your feet back from the wall until you feel the stretch tug on the calves. Hold the stretch 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat from the starting position for about 10 stretches.

I must not neglect the lip-pinch solution because, darn it, it works. The pinch is administered vertically to the fold of skin over the upper lip. Many readers have thanked me for mentioning it as a way to abort a leg cramp.

My report on leg cramps should be helpful. Others can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue - No. 20, Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539. Enclose $3 and a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) No. 10 envelope.

Question: Please tell me about skin tags. I have them on my face and am desperate. My doctor says nothing can be done.

- E.L.

Answer: We usually find skin tags on the neck or in the underarm areas - rarely on the face. Skin tags can be removed surgically.

Perhaps what you have are not skin tags but some other growth.

There apparently is a link between skin tags and colon cancer. The truth is unclear, but it makes sense for skin-tag formers to have the stool checked for evidence of blood.

After age 50, colon inspection is recommended, skin tag or not.