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Placebo Effect

HEALTH
April 4, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, Special to the Los Angeles Times
If you see professional athletes or weekend warriors with a crazy crosshatch of tape on their shoulders, knees or elbows, they probably aren't making a fashion statement. Chances are they're trying to tape over some pain. So-called kinesiology tapes — two prominent examples are Kinesio Tex Tape and KT Tape — gained worldwide attention during the 2008 Olympics, largely thanks to the heavily taped shoulder of American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh. Unlike traditional tapes that wrap around joints to provide support and compression, kinesiology tape sticks directly to the sore spots like big Band-Aids.
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HEALTH
April 1, 2002 | DIANNE PARTIE LANGE, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Botox is remarkably safe, especially considering it's a powerful toxin. Occasionally, a mild headache that lasts a few hours may occur after an injection in muscles of the forehead. Very rarely, though, that headache may become excruciating and can last as long as a month.
HEALTH
July 5, 2010 | By Wendy Hansen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Pain is private. Unlike blood pressure or temperature or other symptoms easily measured and defined, the physical reaction to unpleasant stimuli is hard to quantify or predict. It varies from person to person, with each individual describing pain — and its intensity — differently. But that private perception can make the difference between a trip to the medicine cabinet for an aspirin or a trip to the doctor's office for something much stronger. Researchers study pain not to separate whiners from stoics but to understand why pain varies and, eventually, create individually tailored treatments for the many specific ailments that fall under the umbrella of pain.
HEALTH
January 11, 2010
Fitness stores sell a variety of spinal decompression/traction devices -- inversion tables and ankle boots that hang you upside down and stretch out your back -- on the promise that they help relieve back pain, enhance general back fitness, provide deep relaxation and maybe even slow age-related height shrinkage. The last, after all, is partially caused by the flattening and dehydration of the soft disks that separate your vertebrae. Salespeople say that running, lifting weights, carrying excess pounds, even the simple act of sitting in a chair all day can exaggerate the compressive force of gravity on the disks, which tend to shrink as much as a half-inch during the day and, like sponges, rehydrate during sleep.
HEALTH
August 17, 2009 | Shara Yurkiewicz
If you want to live longer -- avoid heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer -- then pick and choose your foods with care to quiet down parts of your immune system. That's the principle promoted by the founders and followers of anti-inflammatory diets, designed to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Dozens of books filled with diets and recipes have flooded the market in the last few years, including popular ones by dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone and Zone Diet creator Barry Sears.
OPINION
February 18, 2004 | Todd Dufresne
What an utter disappointment the 1990s were for the fans of Freud. Time magazine asked aloud, and on its cover no less, "Is Freud Dead?" And the former analytic stronghold, the New York Review of Books, published lengthy feature articles debunking Freud's reputation as a man and as a thinker. By the end of the decade, even the New Yorker was in on the action. Taken as a whole, these sensations of the 1990s, part of the so-called "Freud wars," capture the gist of a cause well lost.
HEALTH
July 22, 2002 | JANE E. ALLEN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
When a recent study found that a popular knee operation was only as good as a placebo for arthritis, some sufferers misconstrued the results, assuming that no surgery would help them. Doctors are now trying to reassure people this isn't the case.
HEALTH
June 19, 2006 | Jeannine Stein, Times Staff Writer
Can "super-oxygenated" water make people run faster? Yes -- if they think it can. The water, marketed under different brands, is touted as having more oxygen content than regular tap water and, thus, the ability to enhance athletic performance -- claims that have been debunked by scientists who consider it no more than nicely packaged snake oil.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 9, 2003 | From Staff and Wire Reports
Dr. Louis Lasagna, 80, who led a crusade calling for the clinical testing of drugs before their approval and rewrote the Hippocratic Oath recited by graduating doctors, died of lymphoma Thursday in a hospital in Newton, Mass. Lasagna, a native of Queens, N.Y., who served as dean of Tufts University's Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences for two decades, was best known for his work in clinical pharmacology.
HEALTH
September 17, 2007 | Susan Brink, Times Staff Writer
Regular exercise could help lift the cloud of major depression as effectively as an antidepressant, new research shows. "A lot of people know from their own experience that when they exercise, they feel better," says James A. Blumenthal, a professor of psychology at Duke University and lead author of the study. But such anecdotes and gut feelings don't amount to clinical proof.
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