Placebo effect & the power of imagination

Back in 1955, the American physician G. Beecher found that about a third of his patients feel better from drugs that are pacifiers (they do not contain strong active substances that have a therapeutic effect). This phenomenon has been called the placebo effect, around which scientific controversy is still ongoing.

Doctors use placebos in two ways when doing drug research:

  • without medicinal properties in order to study the phenomenon of placebo;
  • corresponding to the declared pharmacological properties to assess the therapeutic effect.

I will add: there are no substances that act neutral on the human body. All of them, regardless of the ease of the degree of influence, belong to relative or absolute indifference (characterized by a more or less neutral effect in relation to the object of research). Most often, dummy pills have a miracle effect on people experiencing signs of poor health: fatigue, pain,

Nausea and vomiting

nausea as well as depression. This was confirmed by the results of brain imaging of those who took the placebo: brain regions that control pain and stress were activated.

Physician-therapist of the medical center “ON Clinic Nikolaev” Maria Kudrinskaya says:

“After taking a dummy drug, the reaction can manifest itself both physiologically (improving health) and psychologically. It all depends on the social qualities of a person, his personality and state of health. “

The effect occurs in all people, but the strength of its manifestation will be different. According to statistics, people are most susceptible to the phenomenon:

  • with neurotic disorders, low self-esteem and violent fantasy;
  • suffering from insomnia and psychosomatic disorders;
  • extroverts are those who actively interact with the outside world.
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Placebo-non-responders include introverts – people who are not inclined to communication, who have developed isolation, suspicion.

Svetlana Skorikova, endocrinologist at the ON Clinic Kharkiv medical center, notes:

“Doctors see a positive trend in terms of changes in the patient’s condition if he is addicted to a placebo. In particular, there is often a decrease in symptoms of colds (cough, runny nose), angina pectoris, headache attacks or bronchial asthma. The emotional state becomes more stable. However, after a while, in the absence of proper treatment, the symptoms return. “

What does the research say?

In 2010, scientists found that placebo people who received the dose did not experience any significant health improvement based on medical observations. The only change noted by almost all respondents was a slight decrease in the attacks of nausea and pain.

Our brain affects all physiological processes in different ways. However, it has not been scientifically proven that it can have a stable therapeutic effect by acting on individual areas due to the properties of certain active substances. The conclusions about the positive effects of the placebo effect are more far-fetched than real.

Convalescence, according to some scientists, occurs for natural reasons (including due to strong immunity). For example with

Cold in a child: we treat the disease, not eliminate the symptoms

Cold in a child: we treat the disease, not eliminate the symptoms

the body can cope with a cold on its own (the average duration of the disease is about 7 days).

I will add: together with a placebo, the patient can use drugs potent on the problem. As a result, the improvement is not due to the placebo. In some cases, the effect of taking medications can occur after a certain period of time (in particular, it is typical for oncological diseases). In this case, it is illogical to attribute the recovery to a phenomenon.

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes it is imperative to take this phenomenon into account when developing new drugs. For this, when testing a new product, along with a medicine, some respondents are given a placebo without warning. This makes it possible to assess the presence or absence of the therapeutic effect of the tested pharmaceutical product.

Do you believe that alternative medicine will put you on your feet, including placebo? Please note that they cannot affect the cause of the disease, which means they give a short-term result. The help of qualified narrow-profile specialists and scheduled examinations cannot be neglected. I believe it won’t hurt if you want to experiment with a placebo (with your healthcare provider). However, you should not rely only on its magical power. Do not ignore the methods of modern medicine and you will be healthy.

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