Tag: placebo

On the pointlessness of acupuncture in the emergency room…or anywhere else

Sometimes there is a strange confluence of events that dictate what I feel that I need to write about when my turn here at SBM rolls around each Monday. Last week, a reader sent me a rather bizarre acupuncture study,...

/ July 25, 2016

Curse Removal from the Annals. More Acupuncture Nonsense.

A short post this week. Last weekend was a busy call weekend and as I type this I am heading for Palm Springs for a long weekend of hiking in the desert. If there is no entry in 14 days,...

/ February 5, 2016

Is “harnessing the power of placebo” worthwhile to treat anything?

We frequently write about placebo effects here on Science-Based Medicine. The reason is simple. They are an important topic in medicine and, at least as importantly, understanding placebo effects is critical to understanding the exaggerated claims of advocates of “complementary...

/ January 11, 2016

Are Placebos Getting Stronger?

A new study looked at clinical trials for neuropathic pain over the last 23 years and found that the response of subjects in the placebo group has been increasing over time, but only in the United States. The cause of...

/ October 21, 2015

The Worst Homeopathy Study. Ever

I run across a lot of information in my feeds that I need to save for further evaluation. The study “Does additional antimicrobial treatment have a better effect on URTI cough resolution than homeopathic symptomatic therapy alone? A real-life preliminary...

/ September 18, 2015

Placebo by Conditioning

Truly understanding placebo effects (note the plural) is critical to science-based medicine. Misconceptions about placebo effects are perhaps the common problem I encounter among otherwise-scientific professionals and science communicators. The persistence of these misconceptions is due partly to the fact...

/ July 29, 2015

Should placebos be used in randomized controlled trials of surgical interventions?

Alone of all the regular contributors to this blog, I am a surgeon. Specifically, I’m a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer surgery, which makes me one of those hyper-specialized docs that are sometimes mocked as not being “real” doctors....

/ May 25, 2015

Mediocre Expectations: Acupuncture

I had a dickens of a time writing this entry. The last week has been spent in New York for NECSS. It is safe to say that New York has plenty of distractions for us Dug the Dog types. Reality...

/ April 17, 2015

Placebo, Are You There?

By Jean Brissonnet, translation by Harriet Hall Note: This was originally published as “Placebo, es-tu là?” in Science et pseudo-sciences 294, p. 38-48. January 2011. It came to my attention in the course of an e-mail correspondence with the editors...

/ February 24, 2015

Using the fear of Ebola to promote the placebo legislation that is “right to try”

Perhaps the most pervasive medical conspiracy theory of all involves stories that there exist out there all sorts of fantastic cures for cancer and other deadly diseases but you can’t have them because (1) “they” don’t want you to know...

/ November 2, 2014