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U.S. Spending Millions to See if Herbs Truly Work
People have been using herbal supplements for centuries to cure all manner of ills and improve their health. But for all the folk wisdom promoting the use of such plants as St. John s wort and black cohosh, much about their effect on human health remains unknown. But the federal government is spending millions of dollars to support research dedicated to separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to herbal supplements. A lot of these products are wid ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Echinacea No Cure for the Common Cold, Study Finds
The herbal remedy echinacea, believed by many to cure colds, is no better than a placebo in relieving the symptoms or shortening the duration of illness, a new study finds. My advice is, if you are an adult and believe in echinacea, it s safe and you might get some placebo effect if nothing else, said lead researcher Dr. Bruce Barrett, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin. I wouldn t say the results of the trial should dissuade ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Placebos Work -- Even if Patients Are in on the Secret
Confronting the ethically questionable practice of prescribing placebos to patients who are unaware they are taking dummy pills, researchers found that a group that was told their medication was fake still reported significant symptom relief. In a study of 80 patients with irritable bowel syndrome IBS , a control group received no treatment while the other group was informed their twice-daily pill regimen were placebos. After three weeks, nearly double the ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Yoga's Spiritual Balance May Boost Health
Yoga may be becoming more of a mainstream approach to Americans health woes. People have been practicing yoga for millennia to improve their strength, serenity and wellness, but its roots in ancient Indian philosophy have kept the exercise discipline firmly within the realm of alternative medicine. However, a growing body of scientific evidence is building the case that the spiritual balance created by yoga provides proven health benefits. Research has fou ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Meditation Appears to Cause Changes in Brain's Gray Matter
A mindfulness meditation training program can trigger measurable changes in brain areas associated with awareness, empathy and sense of self within eight weeks, a new study has found. Mindfulness meditation focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of one s feelings, sensations and state of mind, which often results in greater peacefulness and relaxation, the researchers explained. They used MRI to assess the brain structure of 16 volunteers two weeks before and ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Restrictive Diet May Reduce ADHD Symptoms
A special restrictive diet may significantly reduce symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD in young children, a new study suggests. When children between the ages of 4 and 8 were placed on a diet containing no processed foods for five weeks, ADHD symptoms diminished in 78 percent of them. And, when suspected trouble foods were reintroduced into the diet, two-thirds of the children experienced a relapse in symptoms. A strictly supervised ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
No Good Evidence That Folk Remedies Ease Colic
Fennel extract, herbal tea and sugar water relieved colic in some infants better than a placebo, according to a new study that reviewed clinical trials of alternative remedies for colic. But parents shouldn t get their hopes up too high. All of the trials reviewed had major limitations, such as having too few patients, relying on parental reports of symptoms, or the study design such as not being double-blinded . The notion that any form of complementary a ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Scientists Discover How Peppermint Soothes Gastric Pain
New research offers insight into how peppermint helps relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia report that peppermint activates an anti-pain channel in the colon. This contributes to relief of pain from inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Our research shows that peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain-sensing fibers, particularly those activat ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Tai Chi Prevents Falls, Boosts Mental Health in Seniors: Study
Tai chi helps reduce the risk of falls in older people and also improves their mental health, a new study has found. However, the ancient Chinese martial art exercise does not help ease the symptoms of cancer or rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers who analyzed 35 reviews assessing the health effects of tai chi. The reviews in English, Chinese and Korean databases looked at the impact of tai chi on a variety of diseases, including diabetes, high ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Hypnosis Plus Local Anesthesia Might Work Well for Some Surgeries
Certain surgeries that typically require the use of general anesthesia could be safely performed with localized anesthesia in combination with hypnosis, Belgian researchers suggest. The finding stems from a pair of very small case-control studies that explored the combo s potential during surgical procedures performed for breast cancer patients and thyroid patients, respectively. The studies revealed that, relative to general anesthesia, the local anesthes ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Massage Beats Meds for Lower Back Pain, Study Says
Massage therapy may be better than medication or exercise for easing low back pain in the short term, a new government-funded study suggests. Seattle researchers recruited 401 patients, mostly middle-aged, female and white, all of whom had chronic low back pain. Those who received a series of either relaxation massage or structural massage were better able to work and be active for up to a year than those getting usual medical care, which included painkill ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18
Does Meditation Boost Brain Health?
Following up on previous research showing that people who have practiced meditation for a long time have more gray matter in their brains, a small new study finds that their brains also shrink less as they age and they have stronger connections in the brain itself. This means that brain cells may better relay electrical signals, researchers said. Our results suggest that long-term meditators have white-matter fibers that are either more numerous, more dens ...
Healthday - Fri. Sep 18