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Briefs: Like mother, like daughter in regards to indoor tanning

like mother, like daughter for indoor tanning

At least when it comes to indoor tanning, a new study indicates girls do follow their mothers' example. A survey of more than 200 female students at East Tennessee State University found almost 40 percent of the students had gone to tan for the first time with their mothers. And for the girls who were introduced to tanning by their mothers, the habit really took hold: They were almost five times as likely as others to be heavy tanners once they were in college, according to the survey, published as a letter in Archives of Dermatology. The World Health Organization has labeled indoor tanning a Class 1 carcinogen, the same class as tobacco. "I don't know that any mother would intentionally lead her daughter into a harmful situation," researcher Mary Kate Baker said. "Most definitely, we need better education for mothers on the dangers of indoor tanning."

Significant relief with known placebo

Can taking a placebo be effective even if the patient knows it is a placebo? Perhaps so. In a study published last week in the online journal PLoS One, researchers explained to 80 volunteers with irritable bowel syndrome that half of them would receive routine treatment and the other half would receive a placebo, like a sugar pill, that had been found to "produce significant improvement in I.B.S. symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes." The patients, all treated with the same attention, warmth and empathy by the researchers, were then randomly assigned to get the pill or not. At the end of three weeks, they tested all the patients with questionnaires assessing symptoms. The patients given the sugar pill — in a bottle clearly marked "placebo" — reported significantly better pain relief and greater reduction in other symptoms than those who got no pill. The authors speculate that the doctors' communication of a positive outcome was one factor in the apparent effectiveness of the placebo. "The magnitude of effect here is very large," said the lead author, Dr. Ted J. Kaptchuk, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The goal, he added, would be to develop a clinical strategy to use the placebo effect ethically, without lying to a patient.

New York Times

Briefs: Like mother, like daughter in regards to indoor tanning 12/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 4:38pm]
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