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Placebo Effect

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.
February 20, 2005 | By Alan Zarembo, Times Staff Writer
Alone at his computer, drool sliding down his chin, Tom Hill searched the Internet for anything that could save him. His 55-year-old body was gradually shutting down. His muscles twitched uncontrollably. He could no longer talk, so he scribbled notes to communicate with his wife, Valerie. Seven months earlier, he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease — an incurable deterioration of the nervous system that spares the cognitive parts of the brain, leaving its victims sharply aware as they slowly die. The doctors told him there was no way to reverse the disease — no drugs, no surgeries, no other therapies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ten years ago, researchers stumbled onto a striking finding: Women who believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn't hold such fatalistic views. The higher risk of death, in other words, had nothing to with the usual heart disease culprits--age, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight. Instead, it tracked closely with belief. Think sick, be sick.
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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