Saturday, January 15, 2011


a new study shows that placebos work...duh...that's what they're supposed to do. but they work even when we know they are placebos. we always, at least i always, assumed that they worked as a tactic to fool people into thinking they were getting something that they really weren't getting, and that it proved that it was not the medicine that worked but that the person thought they were getting better so they did. and that may be true, but now it seems that we don't even have to be fooled to believe stuff works even without any reason to believe it will. this makes me think at several different levels.
first, it explains why babies get better with pretty much any kind of drop you put in their mouths when they are fussy. after a dose or two, just the touch of the dropper to their lips makes them calm down. sometimes. truly sick babies believe less in the placebo effect than others.
it explains why babies seem to get sleepy when given tylenol by their parents. seems that the placebo effect is transferable. if the parents believe it, the kid gets sleepy.
it explains why antibiotics work. and it explains why colloidal silver works. and ear drops with vinegar. and pretty much anything else you do with the belief that it's going to help. because usually the ear infection will go away in a couple of weeks regardless of what you do.
but it doesn't explain why people continue to take medicines whose list of side effects is longer than the list of good effects. why not just take a placebo? it's got about as good a chance as any to work, without the side effects.
so this study both explains why pharmaceutical companies are making so much money, and asks why? at the same time. maybe it's the side effects that make you know it isn't a placebo.

No comments: