Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Open placebo

While Sandler and Ted Kaptchuk, lead author of the irritable bowel syndrome study, say that while their so-called "open placebos" don't hinge on deception, they do employ some sleight of hand. A doctor who uses an open placebo is like a magician. The trick is performed with full disclosure that it is, in fact, a trick, but it still requires a subtle form of deception to execute. For the placebo to work, the patient must suspend disbelief at the doctor's urging. Kids in the ADHD study were told that, "the mind and body work together in interesting ways and placebos are known to work sometimes but no one knows why"

Very clever. The placebo effect is surprising, the "open placebo" effect is dumbfounding.

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