Placebos work, but focusing on their neurobiological effects to make their efficacy palatable to the scientifically inclined misses the point. For social creatures, caring helps to heal, by whatever name you give it.
A 26-year-old man attempted suicide by taking 29 capsules of an experimental drug obtained from a clinical trial. His vital were alarming, but treatment improved his condition. Later, a doctor told him the pills weren't antidepressants, as the man believed. That's because he'd been randomized into the control arm of the trial. Yes, that's right: He overdosed on placebos.
From a security standpoint, the only thing that matters is that our soldiers are effective at killing people and breaking things. Does acupuncture help accomplish that? We presented one opinion last week. Now, here's a second viewpoint on the matter.
Did you know that in an emergency you could be enrolled in a clinical trial without your consent? How is this possible and what can you do about it?
A new opinion article in Biology Letters – "Studying placebo effects in model organisms will help us understand them in humans" – dives into the possibility of studying the placebo effect in animals other than humans.
People who already believe in the benefits of "brain training" may be more likely to participate in a study that is explicitly about the benefits ... of brain training. Obviously, such self-selection will bias the results, and the placebo effect can magnify them.
Acetaminophen is recommended as a first-line treatment for acute lower back pain according to medical guidelines. However, this recommendation has not been supported by research. A new