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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
February 11, 2008 | By Regina Nuzzo, Special to The Times
AS they seek to document and demystify one of life's great thrills, scientists have run across some real head-scratchers. How, for example, can they explain the fact that some men and women who are paralyzed and numb below the waist are able to have orgasms? How to explain the "orgasmic auras" that can descend at the onset of epileptic seizures -- sensations so pleasurable they prompt some patients to refuse antiseizure medication? And how on Earth to explain the case of the amputee who felt his orgasms centered in that missing foot?
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
July 20, 2009 | Emily Sohn
Allergies were far from Christie Littauer's mind when she fed creamed spinach to her son Jack for the first time. The 6-month-old had already eaten peas and green beans. Why not try something more exciting? "A few bites into it, he started wheezing," says Littauer, of Henderson, Nev. "He got bright red. Something was obviously wrong."
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.
OPINION
January 25, 2013
For a muscular agency that combats vicious drug criminals, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts like a terrified and obstinate toddler when it comes to basic science. For years, the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse have made it all but impossible to develop a robust body of research on the medical uses of marijuana. A pro-marijuana group lost its legal battle this week when a federal appellate court ruled that marijuana would remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse.
HEALTH
May 3, 2010
Some authors say you can apply the new science of epigenetics to improve your life right now. "Epigenetics is mastery — you have power over your biology," says author and lecturer Bruce Lipton of Santa Cruz, a former medical school professor and author of "The Biology of Belief." He says that changes in behavior are enough to reprogram your genes via chemicals that affect gene activity in the short term. The placebo effect, Lipton says, is a prime example of taking control over biology.
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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