The Placebo Effect Is Maintained Even While Informing The Patient – Part 2 of 3
The test group, whose average age was 47, was predominately women recruited from advertisements and referrals for “a novel mind-body management study of IBS,” according to the study, reported online in the Dec 22, 2010 issue of the journal PLoS ONE, which is published by the Public Library of Science. Prior to their non-specific assignment to the placebo or control group, all patients were told that the placebo pills contained no actual medication. Not only were the placebos described truthfully as listless pills similar to sugar pills, but the bottle they came in was labeled “Placebo”.
Health care providers also spent about 15 minutes explaining how placebos can have powerful effects and that a positive attitude, while not essential, could help. At the end of the study, which was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Bernard Osher Foundation, 59 percent of the women in the placebo society reported suited symptoms relief, vs 35 percent of the control group.
And “Some patients were very disbelieving, some were very enthusiastic, but by the end many really enjoyed themselves. They felt empowered”. He theorized that the very ceremonious of taking pills to treat illness – even fake ones – initiates a brain response that changes the way patients perceive and experience their symptoms.