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Placebo Effect

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.
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.
December 20, 2007 | Karen Kaplan and Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writers
Forget sports doping. The next frontier is brain doping. As Major League Baseball struggles to rid itself of performance-enhancing drugs, people in a range of other fields are reaching for a variety of prescription pills to enhance what counts most in modern life.
November 21, 2004 | Eric Talmadge, Associated Press Writer
It has been singled out as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, right behind smoking. But to Shiro Umeda, sprightly at 74, radon is the best thing since aspirin. Every month for the last 10 years, he has come to a radon bath here to soak it up and breathe it in. He's convinced that it has helped ease his back pain and improve his overall 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 8, 2010
If you want to eat to maximize your mood and brain power, here's what the experts recommend: ? Breakfast: Studies have provided good evidence that a healthy breakfast leads to better cognitive performance, especially in children. ? Enough calories: Few things make people grumpier than being calorie deprived. If you're hungry, anything with calories will help. ? Regular meals: Keeping your blood sugar even by eating regularly ? about every four hours ? will help keep your mood level all day. Conversely, skipping meals and eating erratically will lead to highs and lows.
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