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Well: How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body

Photo Credit Illustration by Anna Parini The benefits of mindfulness meditation, increasingly popular in recent years, are supposed to be many: reduced stress and risk for various diseases, improved well-being, a rewired brain. But the experimental bases to support these claims have been few. Supporters of the practice have relied on very small samples of unrepresentative subjects, like isolated Buddhist monks who spend hours meditating every day, or on studies that generally were not randomized and did not include placebo­control groups. This month, however, a study published in Biological Psychiatry brings scientific thoroughness to mindfulness meditation and for the...

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Early Behavior Therapy Found to Aid Children With A.D.H.D.

William E. Pelham helped lead a new study about treatment options for children with attention-deficit problems. Above, Dr. Pelham at a summer camp focusing on social skills training. By BENEDICT CAREY February 17, 2016 Children with attention-deficit problems improve faster when the first treatment they receive is behavioral — like instruction in basic social skills — than when they start immediately on medication, a new study has found. Beginning with behavioral therapy is also a less expensive option over time, according to a related analysis. Experts said the efficacy of this behavior-first approach, if replicated in larger studies, could change standard...

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A Novel Plan for Heallth Care: Cutting Costs, Not Raising Them

Dr. Alan Bitner with a 5-year-old patient at the allergy and immunology department of the Intermountain clinic in Salt Lake City. By REED ABELSON February 17, 2016 As employees know all too well, health insurance companies have one surefire way to lower costs: Ask their customers to pay more. Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system in Salt Lake City, is trying something virtually unheard-of: promising to sharply cut costs rather than pass them on. Its new health plan, SelectHealth Share, is guaranteeing to hold yearly rate increases to one-third to one-half less than what many employers across the country typically face....

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Testosterone Gel Has Modest Benefits for Men, Study Says

David Bostick, 71, at home in Pittsburgh. After a few weeks of smearing a gel on his stomach — he did not know if it was testosterone or a placebo — he began to feel better. He correctly guessed that he was getting testosterone. By GINA KOLATA February 17, 2016 More than a million men have smeared testosterone gels on their bodies in recent years, hoping it will rejuvenate them, energize them, and increase their libido. But until now, there has never been a rigorous study asking if there were any real benefits to testosterone therapy for healthy men with so-called...

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Channing Tatum Gives ‘Hail, Caesar!’ a Tap-Dancing Kick

Left to right on tables, Patrick LaVallee, Ryan Vandenboom, Channing Tatum, Luke Hawkins and Ryan Kasprzak in “Hail, Caesar!” By GIA KOURLAS February 17, 2016 What turned into one of the most memorable dances on film in recent years started modestly with this description, said its choreographer, Christopher Gattelli: “Burt Gurney does a number on a ship with a mop.” The mop turned into a broom, the ship became a bar, and what might have been only a few seconds is now six minutes. In “Hail, Caesar!” — the new Joel and Ethan Coen film that brings 1950s Hollywood to life...

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