Viewpoint: Placebo effect ‘growing more powerful’, and here’s why

if you believe it will

Over the last several years evidence has been accumulating that placebo effects are becoming more powerful. Clinical trials on a range of medications used for treating both psychological and medical problems, are finding that differences in the magnitude of their impact relative to placebos are decreasing in size.

In the last decade, more than 90 percent of painkillers developed in the United States have failed to show a significant improvement over placebos in the final stages of clinical trials.

While the growing power of placebos is a major problem for pharmaceutical companies, it does bring home the importance of conducting research on the mechanisms underlying the impact of the placebo effect.

Some readers may remember the book, The Web That Has No Weaver (1983), that was written by Ted Kaptchuk one of the first Westerners to study acupuncture in China after the “Open Door” policy was established in 1978. … Kaptchuck had an extremely successful practice in Chinese medicine, and was acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on the topic. Increasingly over time, however, he became convinced that the quality the relationship he was able to cultivate with his patients, and their faith in his ability to be helpful to them played key roles in his success as a practitioner of Chinese medicine. In 2011, Katpchuk was hired to head up the Program in Placebo Studies at Harvard Medical School, [the source for much of these claims].

Related article:  Arguing for and against consciousness in single-celled organisms

Editor’s note: Chuck Dinerstein, writing for the American Council on Science and Health, challenges this view here

Read full, original post: The Curious Case of the Growing Placebo Effect

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