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All sorrows are less with bread.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist
posted by Brent Parker on May 14, 2014 - 278 comments

Complex Things Explained

This Video Will Hurt
A detailed explanation of a fascinating field of science and medicine by the always interesting C.G.P. Grey.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 23, 2013 - 7 comments

Invented by a mother!

Obecalp, Standardized Pharmaceutical Grade Placebo (invented by a mother!)
posted by Elementary Penguin on Jun 14, 2013 - 49 comments

Windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth, Australian study finds

Sickness being attributed to wind turbines is more likely to have been caused by people getting alarmed at the health warnings circulated by activists, an Australian study has found. Complaints of illness were far more prevalent in communities targeted by anti-windfarm groups, said the report's author, Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University. His report concludes that illnesses being blamed on windfarms are more than likely caused by the psychological effect of suggestions that the turbines make people ill, rather than by the turbines themselves. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 19, 2013 - 77 comments

Lets go to the tape

Curious about the colored tape athletes[1, 2, 3] are wearing in the Olympics? Its Kinesio tape, developed by a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist. Practice seems to be running ahead of science: 1 2.
posted by shothotbot on Aug 10, 2012 - 68 comments

The science of baseball's magical necklaces

This is the background needed to begin to understand why tonight, as the World Series begins between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, the field will probably be full of men who are wearing what can best be perhaps described as magical necklaces. Or, if you're the geeky type, call them +5 Amulets of Baseball Enhancement.
posted by veedubya on Oct 20, 2011 - 61 comments

The Nocebo Effect

The Dark Side of the Placebo Effect: When Intense Belief Kills.
posted by homunculus on Sep 20, 2011 - 69 comments

Avastin and the power of hope

Based on a lack of evidence for efficacy, "an FDA panel unanimously voted to revoke its approval of Avastin (bevacizumab) for breast cancer. The decision evoked cheers from some groups and jeers from others. At least one group derided the decision as the work of a 'death panel'". An interesting article on the withdrawal of a "miracle" drug from a section of the market, explaining the reasoning behind the decision and discussing the reaction from patients, many of whom believe -- despite the evidence -- that the drug was actually helping them. [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Jul 1, 2011 - 11 comments

"Here, eat this root."

The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 15, 2011 - 278 comments

Placebos Without Deception

Meet the Ethical Placebo: "A provocative new study called 'Placebos Without Deception,' published on PLoS One today, threatens to make humble sugar pills something they’ve rarely had a chance to be in the history of medicine: a respectable, ethically sound treatment for disease that has been vetted in controlled trials." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 23, 2010 - 76 comments

Selling placebos

Placebo pills for sale. You've seen some of the many spoofs, and they've been discussed before, but now you can pay real money for real pills. So multi-powerful, they're the go-to pill of choice when conducting double blind studies for medicines treating every disease and disorder. It's SCIENCE!
posted by birdsquared on Jan 1, 2010 - 40 comments

Exercise and the Placebo Effect

Cleaning hotel rooms is a strenuous business. However, when Alia Crum and Ellen Langer talked to 84 maids, most were under the impression that they did not get enough exercise. Furthermore, when they were measured for tests such as BMI and blood pressure, their results were typical of couch potatoes. The researchers let half the group in on the knowledge that they were getting more than enough of a daily workout and kept the rest in the dark. After a month results showed the former group were healthier on every single one of the objective health measurements tested - despite claiming to have been doing no more exercise or to have changed their diet. The study raises the possibility that mindset alone can influence our metabolism. Christopher Shea in the New York Times and Ben Goldacre in The Guardian have articles discussing the original paper.
posted by rongorongo on Aug 25, 2008 - 48 comments

"I'm addicted to placebos. I'd give them up, but it wouldn't make any difference." ~ Steven Wright

The Placebo Effect In Action. "When patients believe a drug will help them, they sometimes heal themselves" (a report on a new study from Columbia University and the University of Michigan). And, an additional take on the Placebo Effect from the Skeptic's Dictionary.
posted by amyms on Aug 2, 2007 - 19 comments

Ask Your VA Doctor About Sucrosa

Are you a Gulf War veteran still suffering from mysterious symptoms or post-combat trauma? The Veteran's Administration has just the prescription for you: "Obecalp," otherwise known as placebo. (p.s. -- They'd better start working on an Extra-Strength version for Iraq War vets.)
posted by digaman on Mar 4, 2006 - 55 comments

Placebo Effect is Physical not Imagined

Placebos Trigger Opioids. New research indicates that the placebo effect is physical, not merely "psychological." Brain scans show that people who believe they are getting a medication to control pain trigger the release of opioids in their brains. Those natural endorphins reduce pain.
When Karl Marx said that religion in the opiate of the masses, he may have been literally correct. If faith in an useless medication can release natural painkillers, won't faith that God will make your life less painful do the same? This might also help explain why religion is so addictive, and why many people like the POTUS pass through the gateway drugs of alcohol and cocaine only to migrate to religion and jogging, which also releases endorphins.
posted by MonkeyC on Aug 28, 2005 - 66 comments

Pain bites.

No pain, no gain, they say, and when it comes to real pain, the inverse is true as well. "We now have research indicating there's a memory of chronic pain," said Dr. Doris K. Cope, director of chronic and cancer pain for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It changes the genic code sometimes, it changes the biochemistry, and it causes new proteins to be formed." Or in other words, the more pain you have, the more pain you have. (More on this.) It's no wonder, then, that more money is spent on pain relief than any other medical problem, and that there has been so much pain research and so many clinical trials revealing such painful facts as redheads feel more pain, men feel less pain, and that there's a genetic difference between tough guys and wimps. (Much more pain inside.)

posted by taz on Sep 20, 2004 - 31 comments

What if the 'placebo effect' is as unreal as a sugar pill?

What if the 'placebo effect' is as unreal as a sugar pill? Danish researchers who have looked at 114 clinical trials involving placebos found "little evidence in general that placebos had powerful clinical effects. Although placebos had no significant effects on objective or binary outcomes, they had possible small benefits in studies with continuous subjective outcomes and for the treatment of pain. Outside the setting of clinical trials, there is no justification for the use of placebos." News links here and here.
posted by pracowity on May 25, 2001 - 13 comments

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