Drug No Better Than Placebo for Lower Back, Leg Pain

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(HealthDay News) — The widely prescribed pain drug pregabalin (brand name: Lyrica) may be no better than a placebo when it comes to treating the back and leg pain known as sciatica, a new clinical trial suggests. The study, published March 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that sciatica patients improved to …

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Helping Cancer Caregivers Help Themselves

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(HealthDay News) — When people are diagnosed with cancer, it’s easy to overlook the toll the disease also takes on their caregivers, say social workers who specialize in cancer care. Cancer can dramatically alter relationships, forcing parents to depend on their children, or independent people to rely on loved ones. Meanwhile, those who support cancer …

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Keep Colon Cancer at Bay

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(HealthDay News) — Colon cancer can be treated and cured if it’s diagnosed early, and a colonoscopy is one of the best ways to detect the disease, a gastroenterologist says. “Routine colonoscopy exams are lifesavers and may reduce your risk of succumbing to colorectal cancer by 90 percent,” said Dr. Ellen Gutkin, from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital …

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Smoking Rates Drop After Global Tobacco Treaty

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(HealthDay News) — After 180 countries agreed to a global tobacco control treaty in 2005, there was a 2.5 percent decrease in smoking worldwide during the next decade, a new study shows. All of the participating countries agreed to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Signing countries committed to introducing policies …

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Suicide Often Leaves Mental, Physical Woes in Surviving Spouse

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(HealthDay News) — The loss of a spouse is never easy, but the loss of a spouse to suicide may be even more devastating, leading to a greater risk of a host of mental and physical problems, Danish researchers suggest. Surviving partners are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and other …

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U.S. Suicide Rates Rising Faster Outside Cities

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(HealthDay News) — Although the U.S. suicide rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report. “Geographic disparities in suicide rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as …

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Cystic Fibrosis Survival Better in Canada Than in U.S.

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(HealthDay News) — People with cystic fibrosis are living longer than ever, but those in Canada live nearly 10 years longer than those in the United States, a new study finds. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive tract. It causes the production of a thick, sticky mucus that clogs …

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Gene Variant From Africa Linked to Black Obesity

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(HealthDay News) — Researchers say they’ve identified an Africa-specific gene variant associated with obesity. The team found that about 1 percent of West Africans, American blacks and others of African ancestry have this variant of the semaphorin-4D (SEMA4D) gene. The researchers said people with the variant are about 6 pounds heavier than those without it. …

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Many With Irregular Heartbeat Not on Meds They Need: Study

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(HealthDay News) — Many people with an irregular heartbeat who suffer a stroke may not have been on medications that might have prevented their stroke, a new study suggests. Duke University researchers found that 84 percent of stroke patients with the heart condition known as atrial fibrillation (AF) had not been getting adequate clot-preventing therapy. …

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Tests to Spot ‘Preemie’ Birth Risk Ineffective in First Pregnancies

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(HealthDay News) — Two tests that screen for preterm birth risk rarely spot trouble in first-time pregnancies, a new study suggests. The tests’ predictive powers were assessed for naturally occurring preterm deliveries only, and not for medical procedures such as cesarean surgery or induced labor. “These methods of assessing women in their first pregnancy do …

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