Saturday, March 27, 2010


"The idea of the placebo in modern times originated with H. K. Beecher. He evaluated 15 clinical trials concerned with different diseases and found that 35% of 1,082 patients were satisfactorily relieved by a placebo alone ("The Powerful Placebo," 1955). Other studies have since calculated the placebo effect as being even greater than Beecher claimed. For example, studies have shown that placebos are effective in 50 or 60 percent of subjects with certain conditions, e.g., "pain, depression, some heart ailments, gastric ulcers and other stomach complaints."* And, as effective as the new psychotropic drugs seem to be in the treatment of various brain disorders, some researchers maintain that there is not adequate evidence from studies to prove that the new drugs are more effective than placebos."

"Forty years ago, a young Seattle cardiologist named Leonard Cobb conducted a unique trial of a procedure then commonly used for angina, in which doctors made small incisions in the chest and tied knots in two arteries to try to increase blood flow to the heart. It was a popular technique—90 percent of patients reported that it helped—but when Cobb compared it with placebo surgery in which he made incisions but did not tie off the arteries, the sham operations proved just as successful. The procedure, known as internal mammary ligation, was soon abandoned ("The Placebo Prescription" by Margaret Talbot, New York Times Magazine, January 9, 2000).* "

The book 'From Placebo to Panacea: Putting Psychiatric Drugs to the Test'

From The New England Journal of Medicine:
This book, written entirely by academic psychologists, is a dose of strong medicine. A critical review of the psychoactive-drug literature, it asserts essentially that there is inadequate scientific information to conclude that psychoactive drugs are substantially more effective than placebos. The editors remind us that the interpretation of any research data is likely to reflect the researcher's bias: in this case, a bias toward biologic treatment, the pharmaceutical industry's financial motives, or both. They say, "We feel it is important to balance this bias by adopting a counterattitude based on a determined skepticism." Their intellectual, scholarly review is difficult to dismiss; yet the reader may feel their conclusions are immoderate.

Placebo illuminates our struggle between responsibility and abdiaction. The notion of a placebo demonstrates (if you are prepared to drop your denial) that you are responsible for your own body, the health of it.

If taking various placebo drugs can cure specific ailments that you know about. You are literally curing specific issues because you 'believe' they have a chance of being cured as you take the placebo.

To me most healthcare is a nonesense.. and so is most alternative healthcare.. and this should be obvious to anyone once you look at the efficacy of the placebo. It is probably the most powerful drug known.

If all hospitals only prescribed placebos you could arguably beat the current cure rate and make all hospitals more effective.

* One of the top five killers in a hospital is 'medical error' this would be removed as they would no longer be prescribing poison to people, just placebos. More people would get well in hospital from this fact alone.

* As placebos are at often as effective as drugs you get free drugs and free curues.

There would be an issue though. People would have to look at why they were getting sick once they realised there is no cure other than belief. If you can make yourself well its a small step to realising you made yourself ill.

Luckily people seem to be catching on ! check these out