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Health

Health treatments? Show me the evidence

Health writer and policy wonk Shannon Brownlee and University of California-Davis physician and researcher Michael Wilkes wrote an editorial in Wednesday’s Sacramento Bee that highlights, yet again, the urgent need to develop truly evidence-based gu

Weight gain: Is it all in the timing?

Bob Greene, Oprah’s personal trainer, has famously advised her (and her millions of devoted TV viewers and magazine readers) not to eat anything three hours before bedtime when trying to lose weight.He may be on to something.A new study reports that

Think living to 100 would be, well, a pain? Maybe not

Here’s some very good news for those of us hoping to stick around for a long, long time: Living into your 90s or beyond doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be spending most of those years enfeebled and frail.According to an article on the “Secrets of th

Good news for people with thunder thighs (maybe)

Get out that tape measure (again).This time, you’ll want to measure your thigh circumference.A team of Dutch researchers has found that having thinner-than-average thighs — specifically, ones that measure less than 21.6 inches — is associat

Seeing, it appears, is believing when it comes to back surgery

More news about the placebo effect: British surgeons report that patients who underwent a surgical procedure (lumbar microdiscectomy) for back pain caused by a spinal disc tear (“slipped disc”) had better outcomes when they received fragments of the

Are statistics on food allergies exaggerated?

Philadelphia writer Meredith Broussard has been on a tear in the last couple of years, trying to point out that many of the most-quoted statistics about food allergies — the ones that have been used to pass legislation on this issue — come from a si

Of bees and the health benefits of swearing

The F-bombs that an upstate New York TV anchor let loose after getting stung by a bee a few days ago while taping a news webcast (see bleeped video above) may have been just what the doctor ordered.

Drug companies desperate to figure out placebo effect

Pharmaceutical companies have discovered an unexpected nemesis in their quest to bring new drugs to market: the placebo.As Steve Silberman reports in a recent article in Wired magazine, the percentage of new pharmaceutical products being scrapped du

Want to think ‘weightier’ thoughts? Hold something heavy

From what I understand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been waffling when it comes to making up her mind regarding the various health-care-reform proposals before Congress.Maybe somebody should hand her a heavy object to hold.

More evidence for U.S. overuse of CT scans and other medical imaging

A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) raises serious questions about the skyrocketing use in the United States of computed tomography (CT) scans and other diagnostic imaging procedures.The study, which analyzed three

Study: Kids with pretend companions have stronger narrative skills

For someone like me, who had a crew of imaginary playmates as a young child (including an owl who perched on my right shoulder and helped me steer clear of trouble whenever I sailed the seas in my cardboard box), the results of a recent study on chi

Off-label use of drugs: How much does your doctor know?

An argument could be made — and frequently has been made — that the off-label use of certain drugs in certain situations is a good thing.And, indeed, prescribing drugs off-label (for uses not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration