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Vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea are common chemotherapy side effects that can be so severe that patients may refuse further treatment. Emergency Brake/Flickr

Why placebos for chemotherapy side effects are hard to swallow

It’s unthinkable to give a placebo to someone to treat their cancer, but could we use one to treat chemotherapy’s well-known side effects? Unfortunately, we may never be able to answer this question because…
A growing body of research suggests placebos may be as good as real drugs for treating depression. Victor/Flickr

Antidepressants may be no better than a placebo, so why take them?

Seventeenth-century Oxford scholar Robert Burton’s lifework, The Anatomy of Melancholy, weighs in at a door-stopping 1,400 pages. But his cure for the “Black Choler” of depression came down to just six…
Just telling yourself you’re well rested doesn’t mean you can override how your body is experiencing lack of sleep. William Brawley/Flickr

Think positively about sleep by all means, but you can’t fool your body

Sleep – elusive, precious, restful sleep – is a topic close of many of our hearts. Such is the importance of this activity that sometimes people cling on to half-baked ideas about it with an unnatural…
Placebos have played an important part in medicine for two centuries. jared/ flickr

To understand placebo, first take it out of medicine’s black box

Placebos have a longer history than medicine as we know it, and have a huge effect on all kinds of diseases and health conditions. But it may now be time to rethink their role. The placebo made its debut…
Some of the techniques that form the armamentarium of myotherapy are supported by some positive evidence. o5com

Myotherapy: panacea or placebo?

PANACEA OR PLACEBO – A weekly series assessing the evidence behind complementary and alternative medicines. Myotherapy was developed by American Bonnie Prudden in the 1970s as a system of treating painful…
Despite placebos’ reputation as worthless therapy, many medical practitioners still use them. FML/Wikimedia Commons

Not just smoke and mirrors: placebo’s place in modern medicine

Belief is a powerful medicine but the term “placebo” has negative connotations. In modern evidence-based medicine, treatments considered worthless are described as no better than placebos. But this description…
It’s even possible to get relief from symptoms when knowingly taking a placebo. Flickr/JLA Kliche

Monday’s medical myth: the placebo effect only works on the gullible

If you took a pill that had been prescribed to treat your illness and it alleviated your symptoms, that means the medicine worked – right? What if you took a complementary medicine from a health food store…

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