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Placebo Effect

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.
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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
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 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.
NEWS
November 22, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
This might be tough for parents who want to swoop in and fix their children's every problem, but a study found that half of the teenagers who screened positive for depression got better in six weeks without treatment. Two aspects of the teenagers' conditions seemed to predict whether the depression would ease without treatment: the severity of the symptoms and whether the symptoms persisted for six weeks, the researchers, led by Dr. Laura Richardson of Seattle Children's Research Institute, said in an article published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
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.
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.
SPORTS
August 29, 1998
Mark McGwire has done nothing illegal. This sudden controversy has been non-news all year. Now that he's close, all of a sudden it's an item. Can't you people let this guy alone? Let him bat and get off his back. TOM CHANCE Ventura You can't spell "home runs" without "hormones." SUZANNE EVANS Hermosa Beach With all the hype surrounding McGwire and his use of androstenedione, it surprises me that nobody has done any research to determine just how much strength and muscle mass this supplement is good for. There is such a thing as the placebo effect and from what I understand, the increase in testosterone from androstenedione pales in comparison to anabolic steroids (200% vs. up to 5,000%)
OPINION
December 24, 2007
Re "Generic drugs' hidden downside," Opinion, Dec. 17 Naomi Wax had a poor response from generic Zoloft and cites the example of another brand-name medication (Wellbutrin XL 300) that has had problems with its generic counterpart. In this case, the generic may release the active ingredient more quickly, which could result in more side effects and lower efficacy for some patients. But Wax was using a generic version of an immediate-release drug that would not have similar issues.
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