Jamie Hale

Jamie Hale

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Investigating Placebo Effects

This is the first in a series of articles that will investigate
placebo and nocebo effects. Currently, there is some exciting
research being done in these areas. This series will explore
placebo and placebo - related effects in many different areas.

The individual's mind, emotions, and beliefs play a central role
in any treatment or therapy (procedure, protocol). Placebo effects
are mediated by many molecules in the brain which may affect the
course of a disease or response to treatment. Many misconceptions
exist regarding placebo effects- in the lay public and scientific
community. Probably, the most common misconception is in how
the words 'placebo effect' and 'placebo response' are defined.
Commonly the words refer to outcomes in placebo groups, without
consideration that a variety of factors are responsible for the
reduction of a symptom when taking a placebo or receiving a placebo
-related treatment. The reduction of the symptom could be due to:

Spontaneous remission
Regression to the mean
Effects of co-intervention
Real placebo response (Neurobiological& various physiological responses)

Another common misconception is that there is only one placebo effect. There is not one, but many (various mechanisms underlie placebo effects). It is more appropriate to think in terms of effects not effect.

Placebo effects have been shown in many different areas in science. Sometimes placebo effects have been shown to mimic or even exceed effects produced by active treatments (such as therapies or medications).

The content featured in this series of articles will be the same type of content featured in my new book - The Amazing World of Placebo Effects.

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