Dec 27 2011 - 9:42am

Adjustable kitchen faucets available

Pfister's Elevate EXT kitchen faucet lets you adjust its height to accommodate taller pots or minimize splashing.

The faucet has three height settings ranging from 8 to 11 inches. It also has a spout that swivels 360 degrees, a spray head with spray and stream modes, and a 70-inch pull-out hose.

The product was recently included in This Old House's 2011 list of 100 Best New Home Products.

The Elevate EXT faucet is available at Lowe's. Suggested retail price is $198.

Sewing tips provide home makeover

Basic sewing skills are all you need to give your home a decorative boost with the ideas in Lexie Barnes' "Sew Up a Home Makeover."

Barnes provides instructions for 50 projects -- everything from simple throw pillows and place mats to Roman shades and slipcovers. She provides guidance on choosing fabric and supplies as well as quick lessons on sewing techniques, so anyone who can operate a sewing machine can take on her projects.

"Sew Up a Home Makeover" is published by Storey Publishing and sells for $19.95 in paperback.

Imaging patients' back unnecessary

A new study from Johns Hopkins shows that there is little benefit to imaging patients' backs before treating their pain with an epidural steroid injection.

MRIs are routine before the injections, the most common procedure performed at the nation's pain clinics, but they do little more than add time and money to treatment, the study suggested.

"If we're trying to cut back on unnecessary medical costs, we should stop routinely doing MRIs on almost everyone who comes to us needing (such injections)," study leader Dr. Steven P. Cohen, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Hopkins School of Medicine, said in a statement.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found MRIs do not generally avert procedures, lower risks or improve outcomes -- the injections are a short-term fix and don't work on everyone. And an MRI costs roughly $1,500.

Cohen studied patients being treated for sciatica at pain clinics around the country. With the condition, a nerve at the bottom of the spinal column is pinched and the patient has severe pain and tingling in the lower back and down the leg. Injections reduce inflammation near the source of the pain.

One group had images to help inform the treatment, and the other group was treated based on a physical exam and a description of the pain. The treatment barely varied between the groups, and after three months, the patients reported no difference in how they felt.

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