Laughter as medicine?

Laughter as medicine? I can summarise six articles for you: leg ulcers yes, hospital pain in children yes, blood vessels yes, weight loss yes, asthma no and yes, heart disease possibly, ankylosing spondylitis or maybe reactive arthritis possibly. Let’s start with asthma. Apparently over half of asthma […]

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Doctor slang is a dying art

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3159813.stm It’s rare that reading a medical article can actually be enjoyable, but this was one of those few occasions where it’s at least possible, listing some of the abbreviations doctors use to describe their patients. Apparently the use of these is on the wane due to […]

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Half of all German doctors prescribe placebos, new study shows

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/mar/06/half-german-doctors-prescribe-placebos?INTCMP=SRCH This was a study for the German Medical Association, which showed that half of all German doctors, and up to 88% in Bavaria, have prescribed placebos. ‘The report says placebos…can prove highly effective in various treatments.’ Christoph Fuchs, the managing director of the BÄK (German Medical Association), says […]

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Ibuprofen may reduce risk of getting Parkinson’s disease by a third

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/mar/02/ibuprofen-parkinsons-disease “People who take ibuprofen at least twice a week appear to have a 38% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.” So you’ve now read the headline and the subhead. Now let’s look at the reality. This was from a Boston review of 136,000 patient records of healthworkers, […]

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Happiness = Work, sleep and bicycles

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2011/02/happiness_work_sleep_and_bicyc.html The government is trying to find out what makes us happier. I’m delighted the question is at least finally being asked in the UK, this bastion of gloom. Of course, there is plenty of room for cynicism, and there are plenty of people who are willing to provide it. […]

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Stuttering Takes a Star Turn on Screen, and in Research/Unravelling the mystery of faltering speech/Hypnotherapy and Dave Elman

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/health/26stutter.html http://www.economist.com/node/18226793 Stuttering is coming under the spotlight at the moment, literally, with the release of the film “The King’s Speech” and its possibility of success at the Oscars. The current focus in science is on brain activity, and a genetic link in half of all stutterers. […]

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Alternative remedies ‘dangerous’ for kids says report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12060507 ‘Alternative remedies can be dangerous for children and even prove fatal if taken instead of conventional drugs, according to a new study…in nearly two thirds of the cases the side effects were rated as severe, life threatening or fatal’. Before you faint in alarm, let’s look […]

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Fertility treatment success is not prevented by stress

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12567103 Meta-analysis from CardiffUniversity reported in the BMJ (British Medical Journal). I can’t that say I’m generally exhilarated by meta-analyses, in this case they looked at 14 previous studies and did all the number crunching to conclude that ‘stress had no impact on whether a woman became […]

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The reason loneliness could be bad for your health

http://www.economist.com/node/18226813?story_id=18226813&fsrc=rss Fascinating article. First of all, according to a meta-analysis of 148 studies from last year, it seems that over the seven and a half year period studied, a gregarious person (someone who likes to be surrounded by other people) has a 50% greater chance of surviving […]

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Acupuncture ‘more than a placebo’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4493011.stm This was a study done by UCL/University of Southampton jointly, published in the journal NeuroScience, using PET (positron emission tomography) scans to examine brain activity of arthritis sufferers undergoing acupuncture. 14 volunteers each had 3 kinds of treatment in random order: blunt needles, which didn’t pierce […]

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