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July 25, 2014
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A surprising new study has found that Tylenol and other brands of acetaminophen may be no more effective than a placebo at treating back pain.

The research, published in the journal The Lancet, studied 1,643 people with lower back pain. The participants were divided into three groups, and each group was given two boxes of pills. The first group received two boxes of acetaminophen, while the second received one box of acetaminophen and one box of "as-needed" placebos, and the third group received two boxes of placebos. Participants were instructed to take six pills daily from the regular box, and up to two from the "as-needed" box.

After three months, researchers found no differences among the three groups. The participants didn't have variation in pain or recovery time. Additionally, 75 percent of the participants reported they were satisfied with their results, including those given the placebos. Meghan DeMaria

10:35 a.m. ET
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Contrary to recent reports, most American psychiatrists have not been given the professional go-ahead to publicly comment on President Trump's mental wellbeing without taking him as a patient and acquiring his permission for their remarks. Twitter is not an ethically acceptable tool of diagnosis.

At issue is "Goldwater Rule," which says "it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement." The rule was created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) after 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater won a libel suit against a magazine that reported "1,189 Psychiatrists say Goldwater is Psychologically Unfit to be President."

Earlier this month, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) told members "they should not feel bound" by the rule in regards to Trump, leading to reports that shrinks can now diagnose Trump remotely. But the APsaA is a small organization of just 3,700 members; the APA has 37,000 members with generally higher academic qualifications — and it says the Goldwater Rule is definitely still in play. Bonnie Kristian

10:26 a.m. ET

On Wednesday, President Trump announced a ban on all transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military "in any capacity." Trump said he made the decision because the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

However, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Wednesday that a Trump administration official offered a very different reason for the ban: the 2018 midterms. "This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue," the unnamed official told Swan. "How will the blue-collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 ... are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?"

A Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department last year concluded that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military would have "minimal impact" on health-care costs, CNN noted, "largely because there are so few in the military's 1.3 million-member force." The study estimated the cost would range from $2.4 million to $8.4 million, which the study authors said constituted an "exceedingly small proportion" of the military's total health-care costs. Kimberly Alters

10:00 a.m. ET
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Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was just one of two Republican senators to vote against the motion to proceed in Tuesday's health-care vote, joined by only Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) in dissent among the majority party.

Still, the motion to proceed was approved after Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to break a 50-50 tie — which was made possible only because of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) emotional return to Washington following a brain cancer diagnosis. McCain arrived in the chamber to cast his "aye" vote while offering a thumbs-up, but after the vote he gave a stirring speech condemning the back-room process that had birthed his party's health-care legislation in the first place.

Despite voting himself to approve the motion to proceed, however, McCain apparently approved of Murkowski's decision to dissent. In an interview Tuesday evening with Alaska Dispatch News, Murkowski said McCain told her, "You did the right thing," in a conversation after the vote. Murkowski said she had only decided to vote no during the Republican policy lunch immediately before the vote. "Believe me, I went back and forth," she said. "At the end of the day, the process really matters to me."

Murkowski offered similar comments in a statement Tuesday night, in which she said she voted against the motion to proceed to debate to "give the Senate another chance to take this to the committee process." Read more about her thoughts on the rocky health-care vote — "The tension was very real," she said — at Alaska Dispatch News. Kimberly Alters

9:51 a.m. ET
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A search warrant application for the home of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, the unarmed Australian woman fatally shot by Minneapolis police after she dialed 911, suggests Officer Mohamed Noor fired his weapon because he was startled by hearing someone slap the exterior of the police cruiser.

The application mentions the alleged slap, though it does not specify whether Damond is believed to be the person who slapped the car. A slap would correspond with a statement from the other officer present, Matthew Harrity, who said he and Noor were surprised by a "loud sound." There is no body camera or dashcam footage of the shooting, because both officers' body cams were turned off.

Investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) were granted permission to search Damond's house, where she lived with her fiancé in advance of their August wedding. Per court documents, no evidence was found in the home, and legal experts have questioned why the search was granted in the first place when the shooting occurred outside in the alley.

"I don't understand why they're looking for controlled substances inside her home. I don't understand why they're looking for writings inside her home. The warrant does not explain that to me," said Joseph Daly, professor emeritus at Minnesota's Mitchell Hamline School of Law. "When I read that search warrant, I really cannot find probable cause to search her home." Bonnie Kristian

9:35 a.m. ET

President Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that he would ban all transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military "in any capacity." The military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he wrote.

But back in June 2016, shortly after then-candidate Donald Trump had clinched enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination, Trump sang a decidedly different tune. Knowing he would face Hillary Clinton in the general election, Trump positioned himself to Clinton's left on certain issues — like, for example, LGBT rights:

In hindsight, it may have been helpful for a member of Trump's staff to inform him that the "T" in "LGBT" stands for "transgender." Kimberly Alters

9:29 a.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton is, naturally, working on a new book, this one a collection of essays reflecting primarily on her loss in the 2016 election. The tome is scheduled to drop in September — it's currently listed on Amazon without final cover art as "Untitled Memoir" — and Clinton's friends are already hyping its "bombshell" revelations.

Clinton "really believes" Russian meddling and the email investigation of fired FBI Director James Comey are "why she lost, and she wants to explain why in no uncertain terms," an unnamed Clinton ally told The Hill. "She wants the whole story out there from her own perspective. I think a lot of people are going to be really surprised by how much she reveals."

This will not be the first time Clinton has publicly reflected on her loss. At a speech in May, she bounced back and forth between highlighting external factors and accepting blame herself. "Of course I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person on the ballot," Clinton said then, adding, "I was on the way to winning before a combination of [James] Comey's letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people inclined to vote for me but got scared off."

Other high-profile Democrats have increasingly targeted failures of messaging as their primary problem in 2016. Bonnie Kristian

9:22 a.m. ET

President Trump abruptly announced Wednesday on Twitter that the federal government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity." Trump said he made the decision "after consultation with my generals and military experts."

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," Trump wrote.

The announcement marks a reversal of a policy instated under former President Barack Obama in 2016 that ended the ban on transgender individuals serving openly. The ban was set to be lifted July 1, but earlier this month Defense Secretary James Mattis granted a six-month delay, allowing the military until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin recruiting transgender people. Kimberly Alters

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