Skepticism about science and medicine

In search of disinterested science


Posted by Henry Bauer on 2013/03/22

In recent years there’s been increasing interest in the mechanism and applications of placebos. Well worth reading is  The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body’s Inner Pharmacy for Better Health (by Howard and Daralyn Brody, Harper, 2000).

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the  New Scientist (22 March 2013, issue 2908):

“Placebos for sale
PLACEBOS are now available to the general public ‘”for the first time ever’. . . . ‘Although used in virtually every drug trial this is the first time that these powerful agents have been available on demand.’ They can be purchased online from of Chelmsford, UK, a company set up “to promote the safe and effective use of placebos”. . . . prices starting at just £5 for the ‘revolutionary’ SMS (text) placebo. A kit for the homeopathic placebo costs £14.99 and comes with instructions on how to dilute it. . . The site also tackles the question: “But I know it’s a placebo – will it still work?” The answer is an emphatic “YES!”, backed by links to yet more prestigious journals reporting exactly this effect.”

The Placebo Response offers some insights into this apparent paradox.

In any case, placebos are far safer than prescription drugs.






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