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Placebo Effect

December 18, 2006
Re: "Step Right Up, Folks!" [Dec. 11]: Most of us have been smitten by the potential allure of these products. I was interested in stimulation of growth hormone by supplementation. As a physician I had the knowledge to pursue it with various lab tests (on myself) and after a year determined all these claims were strictly bogus. There are some products that probably do have some value, but in my opinion probably over 90% is pure chicanery. So many people are still throwing away their hard-earned money on these worthless products.
October 15, 1998
Re "Chiropractic's Success on Back Pain Disputed in Study," Oct. 8: The low back studies which are cited so often, including the one mentioned, do not ever seem to address the question of mercy. Is it merciful to let a patient leave the office with a pamphlet on back exercises, leaving it up to the patient to work through the misery alone? Further, I wonder how well any study measures the economic losses due to poor workplace performance versus absence resulting from pain. The provider's role--be that a physician, chiropractor or physical therapist--includes that of an educator, a coach and entails reassurance, all of which may be difficult to distinguish from the placebo effect, but are essential components of care.
August 29, 2005
Re "On Pain's Trail" [Aug. 22]: I am a 19-year-old sufferer of fibromyalgia. Not always able to do much else, I have spent a lot of my time researching fibromyalgia, and many of the posited theories and potential treatments for it. Unfortunately, I find an inordinate amount of attention being focused on rather unpromising theories, and treatments whose effects seemed to amount to the placebo effect. So many sufferers are in such poor physical states and so desperate that they are vulnerable to being misled by people who have misguided ideas about the condition.
April 12, 1987 | Compiled from Times staff and wire service reports
Researchers have cut the rate of multiple sclerosis attacks in half for a group of patients by injecting interferon into their spines, researcher Lawrence Jacobs reported last week. The report, which confirms an effect shown in previous studies, shows beta interferon works to prevent attacks, Jacobs said Beta interferon is an anti-viral substance produced by the human body. Jacobs, chief of research at the Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.
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.
October 24, 2008 | Maria Cheng, Cheng writes for the Associated Press.
About half of American doctors in a new survey say they regularly give patients placebo treatments -- usually drugs or vitamins that won't really help their conditions. And many of the doctors are not honest with their patients about what they are doing, the survey found. That contradicts advice from the American Medical Assn., which recommends that doctors use treatments with the full knowledge of their patients. "It's a disturbing finding," said Franklin G.
May 3, 2006 | Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
The drug Campral, approved two years ago to treat alcoholism, works no better than a placebo in reducing the craving for alcohol, according to a study released Tuesday. The report in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. compared several treatments for alcoholism and found the older generic drug naltrexone offered the clearest benefits. The study of 1,383 patients at 11 medical centers in the U.S. should spur increased use of naltrexone, which is not widely prescribed, researchers said.
June 6, 2001
Like the Wizard of Oz healing wounded travelers with hope and trinkets, the notion that doctors can cure about a third of their patients with a simple sugar pill seems too good not to be true. Perhaps that's why it took researchers half a century to seriously challenge the "placebo effect" after Boston anesthesiologist Henry Beecher dreamed it up in 1955. Beecher claimed that he essentially could trick 35% of his patients into fighting sickness by having them gulp down sugar pills.
November 28, 1998 | RICHARD CROMELIN
*** 1/2 Placebo "Without You I'm Nothing" / Virgin "Pure Morning," the first single and the opening track from Placebo's new album, has the feel of some half-remembered glam-rock classic, but it's an original all the way. The combination of aggressive delivery, snaky melody and grinding, darkly erotic groove adds up to one of the most dynamic tracks of the year. Of course, other Brits have knocked loudly with a great single and then quickly vanished (can you spell EMF?
Watching a therapist's hands move back and forth in front of your face while recalling painful memories may seem an unlikely way to alleviate trauma. But hundreds of thousands of people have reportedly tried the technique, and some psychologists--and their patients--say it works. The therapy, called eye-movement desensitization reprocessing, involves a combination of hand movements (or sometimes finger taps or sounds), accompanied by verbal commands.
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