Is that test really necessary, doctor?

By: Marilynn Marchionne

Orthopedic CT scans, MRIs and other pricey imaging tests are often performed more for the doctor’s benefit than the patient’s, new research confirms.Roughly one-fifth of tests that bone and joint specialists order are because a doctor fears being sued, not because the patient needs them, a first-of-its-kind study in Pennsylvania suggests. The study comes on the heels of a push... READ MORE

New technologies ease everyday tasks

By: Barbara Ruben

From easier-to-use keyboards and cell phones to innovative ways to read and listen to books, technology is making it easier to communicate and use the computer. Here are a few new products and services:The MoreKeyboard has larger keys with large print designed to benefit those who are physically challenged, visually impaired or larger-framed. The easy-to-see, raised lettering enables those... READ MORE

Five ways to save money at the pharmacy

By: Dr. Kenny Lin

With our nation still mired in a deep recession, many of us are having a tough time paying for prescription drugs — especially those for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.In fact, a Consumer Reports survey last year found that 28 percent of Americans have taken drastic steps to cut costs, like not filling their prescriptions, skipping dosages, and cutting pills in... READ MORE

This is your brain on drugs or…music?

By: Malcolm Ritter

Whether it’s the Beatles or Beethoven, people like music for the same reason they like eating or having sex: It makes the brain release a chemical that gives pleasure, a new study says.The brain substance is involved both in anticipating a particularly thrilling musical moment and in feeling the rush from it, researchers found.Previous work had already suggested a role for dopamine... READ MORE

Blood test for cancer is becoming reality

By: Marilynn Marchione

A blood test so sensitive that it can spot a single cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones is moving one step closer to being available at your doctor’s office.Boston scientists who invented the test, and healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, announced in January that they are joining forces to bring it to market. Four big cancer centers also will start studies using the... READ MORE

Why unhealthy habits are so hard to break

By: Lauran Neergaard

Uh-oh, the new year is only a month old, and already you’re finding it hard to keep those resolutions to junk the junk food, get off the couch or kick smoking.It might make you feel better to learn there’s a biological reason a lot of our bad habits are so hard to break — they get wired into our brains.That’s not an excuse to give up. Understanding how unhealthy... READ MORE