Posts Tagged ‘placebo’

Should physicians prescribe placebos to their patients?

Monday, October 27th, 2008

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

new study concludes that many physicians prescribe placebos to their patients.  The news, which made headlines all over the place late last week, was surprising to me.  But I think the study is a tad weak and misleading.

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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?

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