What turns a dummy pill into a catalyst for relieving pain, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, or the tremors of Parkinson’s disease? The brain’s own healing mechanisms, unleashed by the belief that a phony medication is the real thing. The most important ingredient in any placebo is the doctor’s bedside manner, but according to research, the color of a tablet can boost the effectiveness even of genuine meds—or help convince a patient that a placebo is a potent remedy.—Steve Silberman
Researchers at the University of California published in the October issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.a review of a 167 placebo-controlled trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals in 2008 and 2009 and found that 92 percent of those trials never even described the ingredients of their placebo pills.
There are no regulations govern placebo composition. The composition of placebos can in randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Reviewers independently abstracted data from the introduction and methods sections of identified articles, recording treatment type (pill, injection, or other) and whether placebo composition was stated. They found that most studies disclosure was less common for pills than for injections and other treatments (8.2% vs. 26.7%; P = 0.002). Placebos were seldom described in randomized, controlled trials of pills or capsules. Because the nature of the placebo can influence trial outcomes, placebo formulation should be disclosed in reports of placebo-controlled trials.
Why is this important. The fact that “modern medical research” claims that their system of drugs is better and safer for patients then homeopathy, herbs, or acupuncture, because they have run double and triple blind studies using placebos to measure the effectiveness of the trial medicine.
What they have not done is standardize what is in the placebos. Why? It was considered unimportant and the less attention given to individuals getting better on something other than the test drug was baffling and down right bad for Big Pharm business.
A placebo may contain sugar or olive oil or salt or some liquid for all the patients know, but they may outperform the trial drug. Why? The placebo or healing response works best when the patient or tester spends quality time with a health professional before the trial begins.
Yes, consistently placebo + human caring + hope +belief = better results with or without the trial drug even over extended periods of time.
So healing of the body begins in the mind of the patient and is accelerated when the practitioner explains and shares his support and expertise with the patient. People caring for people is the key to success in life, love and healing.
This is very important for another reason too-the patients put their hopes and faith in the test that they will be helped. The mindset of the person can be giving better results than the test drug. The placebo could also potentially harm the individual as well.
Primary Funding Source: University of California Foundation Fund 3929—Medical Reasoning.
University of California Foundation Fund 3929–Medical Reasoning. The manuscript was revised while Dr. Howick was a recipient of a Medical Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship (G0800055).
Published their findings in the October issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine
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