World Of Medicine: Steam Shrinks Enlarged Prostate
Reader's Digest US|May 2019

The prostate tends to grow over time, causing about a third of older men to experience weak urine flow, a frequent need to urinate at night, and other symptoms.

Until recently, these men had to live with the condition, treat it with medication, or have surgery. But a relatively new option involves shrinking the prostate with a few quick blasts of hot steam administered via a tiny needle in a doctor’s office. The outpatient procedure takes about 15 minutes and carries a low risk of lasting side effects.

A Medical Illusion May Help Knee Pain

For a small and unusual study, 12 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees wore headmounted displays that showed live video feed—of their own knees. As an experimenter gently pulled or pushed on a participant’s leg, the video feed was digitally altered to make the knee appear to change size. Participants reported up to a 40 percent decrease in pain when they “saw” and felt their knees being stretched as if to ease stiffness. When the procedure was repeated, the patients said their pain decreased further. “It seems that seeing is believing,” says Tasha Stanton, PhD, who ran the study. The perception of the stretch may ease pain as effectively as physical therapy or pain medication.

RETHINKING THE DAILY ASPIRIN

Many Americans have been popping a baby aspirin once a day, believing it would protect them from a heart attack, a stroke, and even cancer. But several recent studies have thrown this into question.

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