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August 9, 2010 | By Devon Schuyler, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Statins are widely considered to be one of the safest drugs available. An estimated 24 million Americans take the cholesterol-lowering drugs, and most of them feel no different after their daily dose. "The vast majority of patients tolerate statins extremely well," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at UCLA. But like any drug, statins carry a risk of side effects. With so many people taking them, and millions of other potential users out there, doctors and patients need to be alert for symptoms that could be related to the drugs.
July 6, 2010 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Many people who suffer with lower back pain rely on glucosamine supplements for some relief. But does the stuff really work? A new study shows that glucosamine was no different from a placebo in treating lower back pain. The study, released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., was a large, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial that included 250 adults with chronic lower back pain. It was conducted at the Oslo University Outpatient Clinic in Norway. Chronic lower back pain plagues millions of people in the U.S., and treatments include physical therapy, medication and the use of glucosamine supplements.
November 2, 2009 | Elena Conis
A long-ago discredited fad diet has been getting increased attention lately, thanks to Web chatter and the claims of a bestselling author. The so-called HCG diet's recent popularity is a bit surprising -- and not just because research suggests it doesn't work. Other currently popular diets call for cutting back on fat and sugar, consuming whole grains and lean meats, and even indulging in red wine. The HCG diet, in contrast, calls for eating just 500 calories a day while taking daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
October 19, 2009 | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon
I suffer from trichotillomania. I pull hairs constantly, and this leaves little bald spots. I heard on your radio program about an amino acid to calm this compulsion. Trichotillomania is a condition in which people feel an overwhelming urge to pull hair from their heads, eyebrows, eyelashes or even pubic area. Physicians don't understand the cause. There is no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment. Researchers reported in July in the Archives of General Psychiatry that the amino acid N-acetylcysteine could help.
August 6, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
A widely used surgical procedure in which cement is used to fortify cracks in the spine is no better than a sham operation, two groups of researchers independently reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings shocked clinicians because the procedure, first introduced in the early 1990s, is now widely accepted and assumed to be very effective at relieving pain and improving mobility.
June 2, 2009 | Karen Kaplan
An antidepressant commonly prescribed to help autistic children control their repetitive behaviors is actually no better than a placebo, according to a report published today. Roughly a third of all children diagnosed with autism in the U.S. now take citalopram, the antidepressant examined in the study, or others that are closely related.
October 24, 2008 | Maria Cheng, Cheng writes for the Associated Press.
About half of American doctors in a new survey say they regularly give patients placebo treatments -- usually drugs or vitamins that won't really help their conditions. And many of the doctors are not honest with their patients about what they are doing, the survey found. That contradicts advice from the American Medical Assn., which recommends that doctors use treatments with the full knowledge of their patients. "It's a disturbing finding," said Franklin G.
April 3, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Amgen Inc. said its experimental drug for osteoporosis boosted bone density among postmenopausal women in a clinical trial. The treatment, denosumab, was more effective than a placebo at increasing bone density in a study of 332 women, the Thousand Oaks-based company said.
January 14, 2008 | Melissa Healy, Times Staff Writer
For decades, research physicians have furrowed their brows at the mysterious powers of a treatment known in many medical circles as Obecalp. In clinical studies, Obecalp has been shown to have occasionally remarkable effects -- and on a remarkable range of maladies. In one 2002 study at UCLA, one-third of patients reported relief from symptoms of depression (and had changes in brain function that reflected that improvement) when treated with Obecalp.
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