Archive for the ‘Alternative Treatments’ Category

Placebo Vs. Nocebo Effect: When your mind makes you sick

Monday, September 15th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Patients need to be informed. That’s what my blog and magazine are all about. But sometimes, how you think about that information can physically affect you.

The placebo effect, or placebo response, has been known for years. A placebo is a treatment that has no active ingredients–no logical reason to have any effect, a sugar pill. The placebo effect is when this inactive treatment provides active results. For instance, placebo has helped alleviate pain, lower blood pressure; the list could go on. That’s why the best medical studies compare the active treatment to placebo (placebo-controlled).

It can happen to anyone, and I see it frequently. If someone thinks a treatment will cause an effect, it can. There are loads of studies, some showing actually physiological changes in the body–the power of positive thinking, mind over matter.

But what happens when the opposite effect occurs?


Weekend urinary tract infections: a doctor’s advice on cranberry juice and antibiotics

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

cranberries in bowlby James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

My unscientific, personal observation is that every woman eventually has a bladder infection that starts Friday afternoon after their regular doctor has closed.

Well, that may be an exaggeration, but the women who do have the burning, frequent and urgent urination, certainly don’t want to wait until Monday for relief so they come to the minor emergency clinic, where I occasionally work on weekends.

But is there anything you can you do at home? Does cranberry juice help? What if you’re a man with these symptoms?


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