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The good life is what brought David Clark to the Beverly Hills office of radiologist Stephen Koch. Good food and drink, tobacco and any other pleasant poison the 42-year-old ran through his system before thinking much about health. "Hey, I smoked a pack a day for six years, back when I was in my teens, and I still like to go out; I like my martinis," says Clark, a business consultant living in Santa Monica. "And I'm thinking, 'Have I screwed myself up?
August 27, 2010 | By Jack Dolan and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
As legislators rush to bring more transparency to the salaries of city officials — like the eye-popping compensation enjoyed until recently by administrators in Bell — they're balking at passing a law that would make it easier for the public to find out their own pay. A measure that would legally compel lawmakers to post their salaries, and the salaries they pay staff, on the Internet has stalled in the state Senate. Leaders of the upper house said Thursday that they may instead address the issue through an internal rule, which can be changed much more easily, and with much less public fanfare, than a state law. As the struggle over legislative pay disclosure played out in the background, lawmakers approved several other proposed laws, including a stiff new rule meant to protect hospital patients from radiation overdoses and a ban on alcohol sales from self-service lines in grocery stores.
March 11, 2013 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
People tend to think of heart disease as a scourge of modern life, brought on by vices such as greasy fast food, smoking and the tendency to be a couch potato. But 21st century CT scans of 137 antique mummies gathered from three continents show that hardened arteries have probably plagued mankind for thousands of years - even in places like the Aleutian Islands, where hunter-gatherers subsisted on a heart-healthy marine diet and occasional snacks of berries. Fully a third of the mummies examined - who lived in the American Southwest and Alaska as well as Egypt and Peru as much as 5,000 years ago - appeared to have the same vascular blockages that cause heart attacks and strokes in Americans today.
October 15, 2009 | Alan Zarembo
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center did not tell all 206 patients who received radiation overdoses during CT scans of the hospital's error, according to the accounts of four people who said they only came to understand what happened to them through news reports. In a statement last week, hospital officials said all the patients had been contacted "in the interest of keeping them informed." But in interviews with The Times, four people said that although they were called and questioned by Cedars-Sinai radiologists last month, the doctors neither acknowledged any error nor explained that the patients had been exposed to eight times more radiation than necessary.
June 7, 2010 | Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon, The People's Pharmacy
I have had bad headaches for years and have tried just about everything from acetaminophen and ibuprofen to prescription pain relievers. They help a little, but the headaches always return with a vengeance. I was told to stay away from perfume and scented products, and that helps a little. Do you have any other natural approaches to recommend? Identifying headache triggers like perfume, aspartame, MSG or secondhand smoke can sometimes help. Frequent use of pain relievers may cause rebound headaches, and quitting can be challenging.
July 1, 2010 | By Rachel Bernstein, Los Angeles Times
A well-dressed miller from Hungary, a 6,500-year-old child found in Peru, a baby crocodile — these aren't your mother's mummies. You can see all three of them, along with more than 40 others, at the world premiere of "Mummies of the World," starting Thursday at the California Science Center. Don't worry, there are a few linen-wrapped Egyptian mummies too. But this exhibit isn't limited to one ancient civilization. Made up of specimens lent from 20 international institutions, it showcases the incredible variety of mummies, highlighting how they're created and all that can be learned from these relics of the past.
May 2, 2012 | By H. Gilbert Welch
In case you missed it, a recommendation came out last month that physicians cut back on using 45 common tests and treatments. In addition, patients were advised to question doctors who recommend such things as antibiotics for mild sinusitis, CT scans for an uncomplicated headache or a repeat colonoscopy within 10 years of a normal exam. The general idea wasn't all that new - my colleagues and I have been questioning many of the same tests and treatments for years. What was different this time was the source of the recommendations.
August 18, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
From the size and shape of the beak, researchers have always known that the massive South American "terror bird" was a predator. Now they know precisely how the bird killed — wielding its huge skull and hooked beak like an pickax and repeatedly chopping at prey until it succumbed. The 5-foot-tall, 90-pound Andalgalornis steulleti , whose skull was nearly twice the size of a human's, went extinct millions of years ago, but Argentine and U.S. researchers have been using CT scans and biomechanical reconstructions to deduce how the flightless predators killed.
June 30, 2011
Screening heavy smokers for lung cancer does reduce deaths, without leading to too many dangerous follow-up tests, and researchers now have the numbers to prove it. That question would appear to be settled. But the cash to implement such a program … now that’s another issue entirely. The analysis validating lung-cancer screening via spiral CT scans comes from a trial of more than 53,000 patients. Researchers found that giving smokers and ex-smokers chest CT scans could reduce lung cancer deaths by 20%. In another way of interpreting the data, 320 smokers and ex-smokers needed to be screened to prevent one death.  The full story is in this Los Angeles Times article . For many diseases, screening is often deemed “not worth it” in part because of the harm done to people who test positive but don’t have the disease (false positives)
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