The mind is a powerful thing – it can generate both symptoms of illness and symptoms of healing. Here’s what this could tell us about consciousness.
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A whistle-stop tour of the history of placebos.
Researchers rarely report what’s in a placebo.
Finding a cure for the coronavirus requires more than anecdotal evidence.
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Drugs and vaccines to fight the coronavirus are already in clinical trials. It is important to understand the difference between each step in this process as efforts to fight COVID-19 continue.
Over 2,000 drugs are approved by the FDA for human use.
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The only way to know if a medical treatment actually works is with a randomized-controlled trial.
Placebos come in different shapes, colours that can all have different effects.
Clinical trials are important, but can’t get us to medicine prescribing that is 100% effective.
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Clinical trials are used to establish that medicines work. But these don’t take into account the genetic differences between us that can mean very different outcomes for different patients.
Economist, author and MP Andrew Leigh spoke to Fiona Fidler about how we should be using randomised trials more to drive decisions and policy in public life.
In many trials, patients have been told they’re getting the sugar pill. They still got better.
Horses for courses?
They’re often no more effective than placebo, but that shouldn’t necessarily stop us using them.
Weighing up the evidence for surgery is just one thing to consider before going under the knife.
There’s often limited evidence for many common types of surgery. Understanding what makes good evidence is the key to deciding what’s best for you.
Placebo surgery is not used often enough.
A placebo is an important tool for finding out if a treatment works or not. A dummy pill is one thing, but is it right to perform placebo surgery on someone?
The placebo effect is real and powerful, despite it having a bad rap.
Doctors break no law in using a placebo, but may cross an ethical boundary in choosing not deceive a patient, or to facilitate a patient’s self-deception.
Targeted wallet relief.
Packaging and pricing have their own healing properties says an expert on the psychology of advertising.
Melancholia may be a distinct type of depression, with its own clinical signs and symptoms.
Melancholia has a strong genetic contribution, so it’s largely biologically underpinned rather than caused by social factors (stressors) or psychological factors, such as personality style.
How much of an ice bath is a placebo?
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Vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea are common chemotherapy side effects that can be so severe that patients may refuse further treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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…