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Placebo Effect

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.
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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.
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.
NEWS
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.
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.
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.
HEALTH
May 27, 2002 | BRIAN REID, SPECIAL TO WASHINGTON POST
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.
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