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Placebo Effect

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.
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HEALTH
July 4, 2005 | Elena Conis, Special to The Times
Jackie Apuzzo is 16 weeks pregnant -- something she was beginning to think would never happen. Following nine years of unsuccessful efforts to have a baby, including failed in vitro fertilization, a miscarriage and a diagnosis of endometriosis, the 37-year-old social worker finally visited an acupuncturist on the advice of a friend. After two months of acupuncture treatments and a regimen of Chinese herbs, she became pregnant.
NEWS
April 14, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Paging Stacy London and Clinton Kelly: Apparently dermatologists need some help in deciding what to wear when they see patients. The biggest controversy appears to involve whether skin specialists should wear their iconic white coats into the exam room or leave them in their offices. A survey reported this week in Archives of Dermatology found that 54% of adult patients want their dermatologist to wear the coats; however, only 26% of parents who brought their children to a pediatric dermatologist think the white coat is helpful in that setting.
NEWS
August 21, 1998 | From Associated Press
The Food and Drug Administration approved a radical and controversial treatment for crippling chest pain Thursday: a laser that zaps up to 40 tiny holes into the heart itself. The heart laser is only for the small proportion of heart patients who have a debilitating type of chest pain called stable angina that is not helped by conventional therapy, the FDA stressed.
HEALTH
August 29, 2005 | Emily Singer, Special to The Times
SHAM medicines can sometimes bring real pain relief. Now scientists say they know why. New research shows that the "placebo effect" has a real physiological basis: It triggers the brain's pain-fighting chemicals. The findings could boost the search for drug-free ways to treat pain. "Just the expectation of pain relief is enough to activate anti-pain mechanisms," says lead scientist Jon-Kar Zubieta, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
BUSINESS
July 11, 2001 | From Bloomberg News
CardioGenesis Corp.'s stock suffered Tuesday's worst pummeling on Wall Street--losing 71% of its value--a day after the medical-device company revealed that a federal panel failed to back its latest laser treatment for heart patients. Shares of the Foothill Ranch company plummeted $2.04 to close at 85 cents on Nasdaq, the largest percentage loss on U.S. markets Tuesday. During trading, the price had fallen to 76 cents a share.
HEALTH
May 9, 2005 | Emily Singer, Special to The Times
Traditional acupuncture treatments for migraines are no better at reducing pain than sham acupuncture treatments, researchers have found, contradicting earlier research. But, in an unexpected twist, both methods appear to significantly reduce migraine frequency. "Sham acupuncture seems to be very potent compared to no treatment," said lead researcher Klaus Linde, a clinical epidemiologist at the Technische Universitat Munich in Germany.
HEALTH
January 20, 2003 | Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
Psychosomatic illnesses shouldn't be confused with imagined conditions. Helping those who imagine or feign illness is different from -- and harder than -- treating psychosomatic illness, says Dr. Marc Feldman, a nationally known expert in psychosomatic medicine. "We're probably more advanced right now in understanding the brain-body connection. But when you talk about the mind and the role of fantasy, we're a long way off," he says. Hypochondria is a particularly vexing problem.
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.
SCIENCE
July 11, 2002 | EMILY SINGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Every year, 650,000 people undergo painful and costly knee surgery to relieve the pain of arthritis in a procedure that may actually be useless, medical researchers said Wednesday.
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