Studies Show: Placebo as Effective as Treatment

The conclusion of a meta-study by Howick et al.: “Placebos and treatments often have similar effect sizes. Placebos with comparably powerful effects can benefit patients either alone or as part of a therapeutic regimen” [1] The differences In this meta-analysis involving 12.576 subjects, differences were measured between placebo (versus no-treatment) and active treatment (versus placebo) Read the full article…

Opening the Doors of Placebo

They are already open. Placebo works. Of course, not the pill or the potion, but the person who takes it. The placebo engenders the expectation/belief/hope that ‘it works.’ However, these are not open doors but rather keyholes through which long needles can be pushed that provoke some change inside. This change is pretty one-sided, even Read the full article…

Placebo in Chronic Functional Pain

This is the blogified abstract of a congress talk that I delivered in Montreal several years ago. You find the whole talk as delivered in Montreal at [see: “Placebo as Communication to Neur(on)al Networks in Chronic Functional Pain”] Meaning, expectation, hope, belief… These can be seen as alternative explanations for the placebo effect, as different Read the full article…

39. What if COVID Vaccinations are 80% Placebo?

This question still needs to be asked given the probability, lack of disproof, and immensity of the consequences. July 25, 2021   Daily Total Cases worldwide 492.082 194,374,131 Deaths worldwide 8.299 4.168.100 I want as many people as possible to get vaccinated. I’m the opposite of an anti-vaxxer. [see: “How to Make Someone Take His Read the full article…

Psychotherapy and Placebo

To the degree that psychotherapy amounts to placebo, we may need to rethink it. Placebo >< depth The concept ‘placebo’ is used here in the sense of deception. [see: “Placebo Without Deception?”] It’s crucial to make a full distinction with the concept of empathy. [see: “Landscape of Empathy”] I clarified the difference in [see: “Empathy Read the full article…

The Placebo Patchwork

In a placebo patchwork, contradictory elements are stitched together with no deeper ground. This is very different from a set of well-grounded and integrated elements. From the outside, it may be challenging to discern the difference. Unfortunately, placebo patchworks can be pretty tenacious. Much of this tenacity lies in their not being one thing, but Read the full article…

Placebo and the Predictive Brain

The ‘brain as a predictive machine’ sheds an interesting light on the placebo effect. It shows that we are born with the wetware in place to experience the influence of placebo. Yet, the present-day may be the time to go beyond. Subconscious placebo Several explanations of the placebo effect have been put forward, such as Read the full article…

Empathy vs. Placebo

As in other cases, how terms are used is of little importance as long as crucial conceptual distinctions are valued. The landscape of subconceptual communication Mere consciousness is not the realm of subconceptual communication (SC). [see: “About ‘Subconceptual’”] This is also the case in health-related issues. [see: “Subconceptual Processing in Health and Healing”] A patient Read the full article…

About < Placebo> In-Depth

In-depth, placebo shows a direction to explore with different means and towards greater humanity. [see: My favorite video about placebo on YouTube.] The term ‘placebo’ More interesting than bickering about terms is a clarification of concepts. This also makes one think more deeply about what is significant enough to warrant different concepts. [see: “Placebo: I Read the full article…

Placebo Without Deception?

By definition impossible if one takes ‘deception’ as a necessary characteristic of the concept of placebo. Still, it’s worthwhile to take a closer look at the ethical side. Preliminary remarks This text is rather academic. The train of thought is interesting for all. This is not about empathy, but only about ‘the sugar pill that Read the full article…

How Active is Placebo?

This is mainly an excerpt from my book ‘Your Mind as Cure.’ [see: “Your Mind As Cure“] At present, this is important especially in the issue of COVID vaccinations. Placebo on pain F.J. Evans [Evans, 1974] studied 22 published scientific studies in which the effect of a painkiller was compared to placebo. He reached extraordinary Read the full article…

Placebo Regular, Placebo Alternative

The fight by regular against alternative medicines frequently focuses on placebo as a parsimonious explanation of the happening ― rightfully so, but it should go in every direction. Few things about placebo We’re talking about ‘true placebo’ here, which is different from a ‘regression to the mean’ or natural evolution of illness, and which is Read the full article…

Placebo-effect of surgery

Surgery is expected to have a strong placebo effect. Patients are often terrified and cannot help but trust the surgeon’s competence and proper care. This accounts for their state of strong dependence [Jerome, 1991]. Operations are dramatic performances often preceeded by thorough preparation. The expectations of immediate improvement are high-pitched. Double-blind studies with surgery can Read the full article…

Effect of stress, placebo, and relaxation on migraine

In the preface to the 1970 edition of Migraine [Sacks, 1970], Oliver Sacks says, “Some patients I could help with drugs, and some with the magic of attention and interest… it now became apparent to me that many migraine attacks were drenched in emotional significance.” The comorbidity of migraine and depression is well-known. Patients with Read the full article…

Placebo in Parkinson

Placebo effects in Parkinson are particularly interesting since they are substantial and well investigated in many clinical trials with objective measurements of motor performance. Also, the neurobiological mechanisms of placebo effects in Parkinson are fairly well understood. They have been visualized – no surprise to attentive readers of this book – in the brain. They Read the full article…

45. Why Placebo Sucks

Main side-effect: the diminishment of self-reliance If it does not harm, it is of no use “No harm, no foul.” In the case of a pure placebo, this statement is absurd. It is based on the fact that there are at least no side effects. If placebo has no effect, it also has no side Read the full article…

To Placebo or Not to Placebo

By definition, placebo is deception. It doesn’t accord to any Aurelian value. This ain’t no easy world for sure. Yep. A much easier world would be one in which one can plainly say: only truth can truly cure, so we stick to that as much as we can (which may sometimes not be very much, Read the full article…

Placebo Based Medicine

Alternative medicines – whether or not called ‘complementary’ – are not to be dismissed just for being alternative but to the degree that they are based on placebo-as-a-lie. Placebo >< empathy I see a huge difference between both at a conceptual level, transcending terminology. [see: “Empathy: What it Was, Is and… Will Be?”] This text Read the full article…

Power of Placebo < Autosuggestion

The placebo effect is well known, but not well understood. Many explanations have been suggested, including belief, hope, classical conditioning, expectation, endorphins, and the meaning response. All boil down to autosuggestion , in the sense of ‘communication with the nonconscious’. [Note that I published about this myself in a high-level medical scientific journal: Mommaerts JL, Read the full article…

From Placebo to Insight

… there should be a gentle slope. Not a downfall. (This text is not about what concretely is or is not a placebo.) Gentle slope – principle Many people do depend on their placebo, like a kind of crutch. To abruptly take this crutch away can have negative results: people fall and break another leg. Read the full article…

Symbolism and Placebo

These two domains have lots in common. Rationality cuts through both, but in essentially different ways. Power to the people As a matter of fact, the ‘power’ of a symbol doesn’t lie in the physical symbol itself, just as the ‘power’ of a placebo doesn’t lie in the placebo itself. It lies in the person Read the full article…

Placebo Is Not Good for You

Even if a placebo may appear to help at short term, one should always look further. For a long list of ‘placebo side effects’, click here. For an article by me on ResearchGate: [see RG: ”Placebos have many ‘side-effects’“] Placebo is generally limited to relieving symptoms, as by the way also do most regular medications Read the full article…

50. Placebo: I will please… whom?

Let’s journey a bit on the well-known placebo-effect: getting better from medication until you discover it’s a sugar pill or otherwise doesn’t work in itself. You have probably heard of it. But do you think it’s far from you sickbed? Think again! There’s no medication coming on the market unless it’s been scientifically compared to Read the full article…

32. Can the placebo lie ever be a ‘benign lie’?

‘The truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.’ ◊◊◊ The existence, indeed almost omnipresence of placebo has weird consequences. One of them is that serious people are now asking whether the above saying is valid or not for medicine in the broadest sense, as it is in jurisdiction. ◊◊◊ Indeed, the issue Read the full article…

A Tale of Placebo: Arthritis of the Knee

Generally, people do not easily relate placebo to surgery. Think again. Bruce Moseley is an American orthopedic surgeon with a peculiar story to tell. In the early 1990s, he was widely regarded as an expert on knee arthroscopy. Receiving excellent feedback from many patients, he wanted to know how effective these operations were. This is Read the full article…

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