Study evaluates placebo effectiveness

Feb 01, 2006

Harvard Medical School scientists who usually use placebos to test a new treatment's effectiveness have conducted a trial testing placebos.

The study focused on the effectiveness of placebos -- defined as an innocuous or inert medication given to a control group in experiments on drug efficacy.

The Harvard researchers were exploring the existence of a so-called placebo effect -- an immediate physiological response to placebos that's being reported in an increasing number of lab experiments.

The results of the study, said Ted Kaptchuk, an assistant professor of medicine, showed the placebo effect varies by type of placebo used.

"These findings suggest the medical ritual of a device can deliver an enhanced placebo effect beyond that of a placebo pill," said Kaptchuk. "There are many conditions in which ritual is irrelevant when compared with drugs, such as in treatment of a bacterial infection, but the other extreme may also be true: In some cases, the ritual may be the critical component."

The experiment is detailed in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Science magazine retracts study on voters' gay-rights views

Related Stories

Do Not Track will be off default state in IE, Spartan

Apr 06, 2015

The Do Not Track (DNT) requests that a web application disable its tracking individual users. Well, Microsoft announced it is changing how Do Not Track (DNT) is implemented in future versions of their browsers. ...

Quantum correlation can imply causation (Update)

Mar 23, 2015

Does taking a drug and then getting better mean that the drug made you better? Did that tax cut really stimulate the economy or did it recover on its own? The problem of answering such questions - of inferring ...

Innovative light therapy reaches deep tumors

Mar 09, 2015

Light long has been used to treat cancer. But phototherapy is only effective where light easily can reach, limiting its use to cancers of the skin and in areas accessible with an endoscope, such as the gastrointestinal ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria renew mystery over Chilean poet Neruda's death

10 hours ago

Family of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda said Thursday forensic experts have found evidence of a massive bacterial infection in his remains, increasing their suspicion that he was poisoned by dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.