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Placebo Effect

HEALTH
March 25, 2002 | LINDA MARSA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
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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SCIENCE
February 18, 2002 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The placebo effect--the perplexing ability of a sugar pill or a harmless injection to alleviate some ailments--is causing genuine bewilderment among scientists. Recently, researchers at the University of Copenhagen reviewed data from 114 clinical drug trials involving 7,500 people and found so little statistical evidence of a placebo effect that they questioned whether it even exists.
NEWS
August 13, 2001
Patients in clinical studies often feel relief even when they're given placebos--pills that don't contain medications. The cause, doctors think, is the power of the mind to influence the body. But the nature of the mind-body link is unclear. Now scientists at the University of British Columbia have an explanation for why such a strong "placebo effect" occurs in patients with the neurological condition known as Parkinson's disease.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
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.
HEALTH
January 31, 2000
The Jan. 17 article ("Which Herb Helps What? Labels Can Now Say") constitutes a step backward by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although there are probably some benefits to be derived from herbs and dietary supplements, for the most part, positive results are likely due to the placebo effect. The labeling is largely based on anecdotal reports. There may sometimes even be harm, especially when herbs and supplements are mixed with certain prescription drugs. Until scientific studies supporting the claims made by the distributors of herbs and supplements are done, labels describing what these products can be used for should not be allowed.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
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.
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