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Placebo effect

Analysis and Comment (6)

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…
Placebo treatments can be effective in treating some conditions by the “self-healing” capabilities of the brain. melancolie en velours/Flickr

Mind over matter? The ethics of using the placebo effect

There’s good evidence showing expectations to get better have significant effects on how patients suffering a variety of ailments feel. This is called the placebo effect from the original meaning in Latin…
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…