Has anyone looked into getting more from a placebo?

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Jenny Pearce

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Jenny Pearce asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Since we know that a certain proportion of people spontaneously get better with the Placebo effect, has anyone done any studies on how to increase the positive results of the Placebo effect?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 02/02/2010 11:30:03 by _system »

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Offline glovesforfoxes

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Has anyone looked into getting more from a placebo?
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2010 18:02:32 »
Yes. Some placebos have been shown to produce better results than others; for example, injecting a saline solution into someone's arm is more effective a placebo than giving a sugar pill. Placebos are a complex phenomenon. It depends on patient & doctor prior knowledge, culturally influenced knowledge (i.e is your mom going to know better medical information than your doctor?), as well as how the doctor presents the treatment.
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men. - Alice Walker

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Offline glovesforfoxes

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Has anyone looked into getting more from a placebo?
« Reply #2 on: 17/02/2010 11:17:03 »
That's a great article Dave, thanks!
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men. - Alice Walker

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Offline Pwee

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Has anyone looked into getting more from a placebo?
« Reply #3 on: 17/02/2010 13:53:58 »
Yes, the palcebo phenomenon is a well studied scientific area, although the researchers struggle with ethical commitees.

For example a red pill will give better results than a white one, and the more bitter the better.
The price of the treatment is a important too, a more expensive pill is more effective.
A pill given by a doctor in a higher position works better.

There are all kinds of factors that needs to be taken into account, but you should always consider the ethical issues. It is considered highly unethical to give a patient placebo without his/her knowledge. I don't know of any medical field, where placebo medication is an acknowledged treatment, but I'm not saying that it's not widely used, just that it's not openly approved by the "medical society". (Although I'm not a medical doctor, so maybe I'm wrong in this one.)