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Booster Shots

January 18, 2009 | Tami Dennis, Tony Perry and Pete Thomas
"In the depths of a desperate struggle with alcoholism, I found a medicine, baclofen, that both freed me of all cravings for alcohol and resolved the underlying disorder, overwhelming anxiety, that made me vulnerable to addiction." So writes French cardiologist Dr. Olivier Ameisen in his new book, "The End of My Addiction." An excerpt of the book appeared on and is not surprisingly -- with that kind of claim -- prompting interest in the drug, speculation about its potential and, of course, Google searches hither and yon. Ameisen's statement is certainly provocative for the almost magic-like quality it seems to suggest for baclofen, a drug of which few people are aware.
October 26, 2008 | Shari Roan; Johanna Neuman; Sarah Rogers
BOOSTER SHOTS General anesthesia may increase the risk of behavioral and developmental problems in young children, according to a study presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Orlando. Studies in animals have suggested that general anesthesia may be toxic to a developing brain. To assess the risk in children, Dr. Lena S. Sun of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons analyzed data from 625 children younger than 3 who were exposed to general anesthesia as part of an uncomplicated hernia repair.
October 12, 2008 | Susan Brink; Colin Ryan; Lance Pugmire
BOOSTER SHOTS Everybody is worried about the rising cost of prescription drugs, but conventional wisdom suggests older people worry more. Not so, says a new survey by Medco, a pharmacy benefit manager. According to the new national survey "Feeling the Health Care Pinch," nearly 70% of people ages 25 to 34 say the economic downturn of the last 12 months has made it somewhat or significantly more difficult to pay for healthcare. Among people older than 55, less than half said that.
September 14, 2008 | Rosie Mestel; Carla Rivera; Steve Hymon
BOOSTER SHOTS Life is a road strewn with potholes, wrong turns and tree limbs sticking out at eye height. Don't I know that. But some would argue the hazards are more plentiful and to be found in unexpected places. A PR agent tried to convince me that we are riddled with disease for one principal reason: We eat too much calcium. She turned my attention to her doctor client's book, which darkly warned -- four times by Page 18 -- that calcium is toxic: "Calcium hardens concrete.
July 6, 2008 | Janet Cromley
Lonely hearts may have one more thing to worry about -- erectile dysfunction. Crunching data from a five-year study of 959 men ages 55 to 75, Finnish researchers found that men with no signs of erectile dysfunction, who had sex once a week or more, were less likely to later develop erectile dysfunction than men who had sex less often. In fact, men who reported having intercourse fewer than once a week at the beginning of the study had twice the incidence of ED than those who had sex more often.
January 31, 2005 | Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
The chronic, spastic cough started with what appeared to be a cold. A few months later, it was ruining Zachary Graham's life. The 16-year-old Sunapee, N.H., resident was often left gasping for air, gagging and unable to sleep. During one particularly ghastly coughing spell, Betty May Graham, Zachary's mom, feared her son was about to stop breathing.
Debbie McCart's father and mother both died--10 years apart--within three days of Christmas. Since then, grief has been as much a part of her holiday as Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. "When I hear my first Christmas carol is when I start to feel sad," she said. McCart, along with two dozen others, sought solace from their holiday depression at a somber but comforting "Blue Christmas" service in Garden Grove on Thursday evening.
President Clinton announced Saturday that the government will open a special campaign via school lunch programs and child care centers to enroll as many as 2 million additional children in state health insurance programs. More than 3 million children already are participating in the programs, but many more from moderate-income families are eligible.
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