Archive for March, 2013

BQ365 Week 2: The Power of Placebo

by Brian Kim, MD, MS


“Preservation of sound judgment both in the laboratory and in the clinic requires the use of the “double blind” technique, where neither the subject nor the observer is aware of what agent was used or indeed when it was used. This latter requirement is made possible by the insertion of a placebo…into the plan of study.”

The world took notice in 1955 when Henry Beecher published his influential paper “The Powerful Placebo,” in which he reported that, on average, 35% of patients respond favorably to nothing more than a placebo, or “sugar pill.” For decades thereafter, it was widely assumed (erroneously) that a similar proportion of people, whatever the circumstance, could expect to have their fortunes changed with the help of a placebo. Read the rest of this entry →

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03 2013

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