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Placebo Effect

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September 11, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
To most people, the story of the placebo effect is simple: Because we believe that medicine makes us healthier, a pill - even if it is just sugar - causes us to feel better when we take it. As a result, the placebo effect has generally been considered a conscious process, the result of seeing the pill and the doctor in the white coat who gives it to us. But a new study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests...
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NEWS
November 16, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, For the Booster Shots blog
Don't be fooled by some of the jargon of biomedical research: People who respond strongly to placebo medications are not dummies. A new study finds they tend to be people you would describe in much more favorable terms: straightforward, tough in the face of difficulty, and willing to lend others a hand. Maybe the people who don't respond well to placebos are the dummies: Angry, hostile and prone to negativity, these people seem far less capable of harnessing their minds to the task of healing their bodies, says the new research.
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NEWS
November 16, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, For the Booster Shots blog
Don't be fooled by some of the jargon of biomedical research: People who respond strongly to placebo medications are not dummies. A new study finds they tend to be people you would describe in much more favorable terms: straightforward, tough in the face of difficulty, and willing to lend others a hand. Maybe the people who don't respond well to placebos are the dummies: Angry, hostile and prone to negativity, these people seem far less capable of harnessing their minds to the task of healing their bodies, says the new research.
NEWS
September 13, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Acupuncture eases some kinds of chronic pain - and it's not just a placebo effect at work, researchers who looked at data from nearly 18,000 patients found. An estimated 3 million American adults get acupuncture treatments annually; still, there “remains considerable controversy as to its value,” the researchers wrote in a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. But they found that for back and neck pain, chronic headache, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain, acupuncture works better than no treatment and better than “sham” acupuncture - done, for example, with needles inserted superficially or with needles that retract into the handles instead of going into the skin.
NEWS
July 13, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
The placebo effect is alive and well, at least for patients with acute asthma. That's the finding of a pilot study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine -- part of the National Institutes of Health -- and published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and colleagues decided to test the placebo effect in asthma patients because it's easy to assess their physical improvement (as measured by lung function tests)
NEWS
September 13, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Acupuncture eases some kinds of chronic pain - and it's not just a placebo effect at work, researchers who looked at data from nearly 18,000 patients found. An estimated 3 million American adults get acupuncture treatments annually; still, there “remains considerable controversy as to its value,” the researchers wrote in a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. But they found that for back and neck pain, chronic headache, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain, acupuncture works better than no treatment and better than “sham” acupuncture - done, for example, with needles inserted superficially or with needles that retract into the handles instead of going into the skin.
NEWS
May 24, 2001 | From Times Wire Services
Surprising new evidence has called into question the existence of the "placebo effect," the widely accepted principle that people with various illnesses will often improve if given a dummy pill or a sham treatment. For 50 years, doctors have been taught that this phenomenon is partly responsible for drugs' effectiveness. Researchers have taken it into account when testing new medicines. Biologists and psychologists have searched for its cause.
NEWS
April 15, 1990 | BOYCE RENSBERGER, WASHINGTON POST
Deep within the human mind lies a little-known power of extraordinary force. The wise men of ancient civilizations used the power to achieve remarkable feats. And now you, too, can tap into this amazing ability. If that sounds like a pitch for New Age mumbo-jumbo about holistic crystals or some such, don't be put off. It is a pitch for something at least as amazing, and, all the better, a pitch for something quite probably real.
HEALTH
July 12, 1999 | PATRICIA MEISOL, BALTIMORE SUN
For eons, doctors have advised patients to take two aspirin and call back in the morning. Now researchers are trying to find out whether the patient would do as well to skip the aspirin but, yes, call back. The placebo effect, the nonspecific reason people respond to treatments that are not proven to work on their disease--treatments as simple as talking to a doctor--has suffered from a bad reputation.
HEALTH
January 14, 2008 | Melissa Healy, Times Staff Writer
For decades, research physicians have furrowed their brows at the mysterious powers of a treatment known in many medical circles as Obecalp. In clinical studies, Obecalp has been shown to have occasionally remarkable effects -- and on a remarkable range of maladies. In one 2002 study at UCLA, one-third of patients reported relief from symptoms of depression (and had changes in brain function that reflected that improvement) when treated with Obecalp.
SCIENCE
September 11, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
To most people, the story of the placebo effect is simple: Because we believe that medicine makes us healthier, a pill - even if it is just sugar - causes us to feel better when we take it. As a result, the placebo effect has generally been considered a conscious process, the result of seeing the pill and the doctor in the white coat who gives it to us. But a new study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests...
NEWS
December 29, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Word is that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez flew to Germany earlier this month for a special treatment on his right knee and left shoulder -- on a recommendation from the Lakers' very own Kobe Bryant. Rodriguez received what's called platelet-rich plasma injections, or PRPs. Doctors will take a small amount of a patient's blood, centrifuge it to yield a concentration of platelets and inject it back into injured tissue. The idea is to supplement the growth factors and plasma cells in a person's blood with a concentrated dose in order to speed up healing of, say, a sore knee or a scarred Achilles' tendon.
NEWS
July 13, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
The placebo effect is alive and well, at least for patients with acute asthma. That's the finding of a pilot study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine -- part of the National Institutes of Health -- and published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and colleagues decided to test the placebo effect in asthma patients because it's easy to assess their physical improvement (as measured by lung function tests)
NEWS
June 7, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Let's see ... St. John’s wort for depression, echinacea for colds and now flaxseed for hot flashes. Again and again, popular herbal remedies have failed to deliver when put to the scientific test. In the latest round of herbal disappointment, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., announced that flaxseed didn’t seem to relieve hot flashes any better than a placebo. The researchers said they were “surprised,” but perhaps a successful trial would have been a little more jaw-dropping.
HEALTH
April 4, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, Special to the Los Angeles Times
If you see professional athletes or weekend warriors with a crazy crosshatch of tape on their shoulders, knees or elbows, they probably aren't making a fashion statement. Chances are they're trying to tape over some pain. So-called kinesiology tapes — two prominent examples are Kinesio Tex Tape and KT Tape — gained worldwide attention during the 2008 Olympics, largely thanks to the heavily taped shoulder of American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh. Unlike traditional tapes that wrap around joints to provide support and compression, kinesiology tape sticks directly to the sore spots like big Band-Aids.
HEALTH
December 22, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A simple sugar pill may help treat a disease — even if patients know they're getting fake medicine. The finding, reported online Wednesday in the journal PloS One, may point the way to wider — and more ethical — applications of the well-known "placebo effect. " "The conventional wisdom is you need to make a patient think they're taking a drug; you have to use deception and lies," said lead author Ted Kaptchuk, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
HEALTH
December 12, 2005 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
Crocodile dung, bloodletting, pills dispensed from impressive-looking apothecary jars: Medical history is littered with treatments that likely didn't work -- except to the extent that people believed in them. Here are some tidbits about the mind-body connection that science refers to as the placebo effect: * The word "placebo" is Latin for "I shall please."
NEWS
September 17, 2010
An analysis of 10 studies involving more than 3,800 people has found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint pain are ineffective either alone or in combination. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have been popular for years among people with arthritic knees or hips. According to the authors of the study, worldwide sales of the supplements reached almost $2 billion in 2008. Previous studies on whether the drugs work to relieve arthritis pain, however, have been conflicting.
NEWS
October 18, 2010
We've all heard of the placebo effect -- thinking a simulated treatment has an effect -- but what exactly is in that placebo, anyway, and could it have a noticeable effect? A new study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine analyzed numerous research trials to find out, but discovered that placebo disclosure is rare. Many drug trials involve a placebo, a sham drug whose results are compared with the results of the real medication. A placebo is supposed to contain a harmless substance, such as sugar or vegetable oil, which has no significant effect on the body.
NEWS
September 17, 2010
An analysis of 10 studies involving more than 3,800 people has found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint pain are ineffective either alone or in combination. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have been popular for years among people with arthritic knees or hips. According to the authors of the study, worldwide sales of the supplements reached almost $2 billion in 2008. Previous studies on whether the drugs work to relieve arthritis pain, however, have been conflicting.
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