Sometimes cures are discovered by accident, as when one medicine not only helps cure the disease it was designed for, but turns out to cure another condition as well. The hair restoring drug Rogaine was one of these–when it was administered to heart patients, they all began to grow (and regrow) hair. Now a cancer drug designed to kill colon cancer cells seems to cause weight loss (in mice, anyway).

This research could provide a way to control appetite, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which is a promising notion, given that one-third of the US population is considered obese. Pharmacologist Scott Waldman says, "Obesity could be biological, and not behavioral, but there is no evidence here that confirms that; however, knowing this new information opens that possibility." 

In another example of a great accidental medical discovery, a common beta blocker that is currently used to treat people with hypertension and anxiety has shown to be effective in preventing the brain from retrieving memories associated with cocaine use. One reason people keep taking drugs is that they can’t forget the wonderful "hit" they got the FIRST time they did it, and even though the pleasure is never that intense again, they continue taking the drug, trying to recapture that moment, until they destroy their lives. One solution to solving this problem would be to destroy the MEMORY of that initial pleasure. These memories are a major reason many addicts experience relapse.

Cocaine is one of the worst drug addictions to kick, with about 80% of those trying to quit experiencing a relapse within six months. In tests, the effects of propranolol were long-lasting and could be permanent, even without subsequent doses and even in the presence of drugs (a situation known to induce addicts to relapse).

If you’re a dieter who has worked and worked at losing weight, that thought may come as a relief, but it doesn’t help you shed those pounds. Until new medications come along, here’s something that WILL help: Anne Strieber’s diet book "What I Learned from the Fat Years." When she found her clothes were getting too tight she thought they had all shrunk, until she realized she had gained weight due to Type II diabetes, a genetic condition that manifests in late middle age and makes it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. She not only discovered WHY some of us have this gene, but what to do about it, and after three years of diet and exercise, she managed to lose 100 pounds–and YOU can too! This isn’t an advice book written by a doctor or celebrity, it’s a diet book written by a REAL DIETER, who sympathizes with what you’re going through that has helped thousands of people to shed those unwanted pounds.

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