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 The Placebo Effect, A new study with new results
ComaOfLoss
post Dec 26 2010, 04:38 AM
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Edit: Found the actual text, not just the Daily Express article:

The less technical Daily Express article:

QUOTE
The “placebo effect”, taking a pill with no medicinal properties, has traditionally been associated with the power of positive thinking.
Sick people often get better on the basis of this deception – with research showing the effect can be so beneficial that some doctors secretly hand out placebos to try and improve patients’ health.

But scientists believe just the “medicinal ritual” of taking a pill can help you feel better. Researchers at Harvard split 80 people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome into two groups - with one given no treatment. The other was handed sugar pills and told there was no reason they should get better. Nearly twice as many placebo patients reported effective relief in symptoms compared to the other group.
As well as 59 per cent of the placebo group improving compared to 35 per cent of the others, patients taking the dummy pills had improvement rates equivalent to patients on the most powerful IBS medications.


Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/218980...-#ixzz19DHpuooF


QUOTE
Placebos without Deception:

Background
Placebo treatment can significantly influence subjective symptoms. However, it is widely believed that response to placebo requires concealment or deception. We tested whether open-label placebo (non-deceptive and non-concealed administration) is superior to a no-treatment control with matched patient-provider interactions in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods
Two-group, randomized, controlled three week trial (August 2009-April 2010) conducted at a single academic center, involving 80 primarily female (70%) patients, mean age 47±18 with IBS diagnosed by Rome III criteria and with a score ≥150 on the IBS Symptom Severity Scale (IBS-SSS). Patients were randomized to either open-label placebo pills presented as “placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes” or no-treatment controls with the same quality of interaction with providers. The primary outcome was IBS Global Improvement Scale (IBS-GIS). Secondary measures were IBS Symptom Severity Scale (IBS-SSS), IBS Adequate Relief (IBS-AR) and IBS Quality of Life (IBS-QoL).

Findings
Open-label placebo produced significantly higher mean (±SD) global improvement scores (IBS-GIS) at both 11-day midpoint (5.2±1.0 vs. 4.0±1.1, p<.001) and at 21-day endpoint (5.0±1.5 vs. 3.9±1.3, p = .002). Significant results were also observed at both time points for reduced symptom severity (IBS-SSS, p = .008 and p = .03) and adequate relief (IBS-AR, p = .02 and p = .03); and a trend favoring open-label placebo was observed for quality of life (IBS-QoL) at the 21-day endpoint (p = .08).

Conclusion
Placebos administered without deception may be an effective treatment for IBS. Further research is warranted in IBS, and perhaps other conditions, to elucidate whether physicians can benefit patients using placebos consistent with informed consent.


Plos One trial

This post has been edited by ComaOfLoss: Dec 26 2010, 04:43 AM

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Vilhjalmr
post Dec 31 2010, 02:54 AM
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That's pretty cool! Thanks for this. I'd say a large part of it may be the wording:

QUOTE
placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes

Sounds impressive to the layman. I wonder what the difference would be if they were presented as "placebo pills", end statement. (That last part - mind-body self-healing processes! - seems particularly excessive.)

This post has been edited by Vilhjalmr: Dec 31 2010, 02:56 AM


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Waterfall
post Jan 1 2011, 08:42 PM
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No, it's perfect. By using that wording they've proved that "the mind-body healing process" is as effective as the standard medical intervention. The patients suspended disbelief, just a little, and that worked as well as drug therapy.

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Vilhjalmr
post Jan 2 2011, 02:06 AM
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Where does it say "as effective as the standard medical intervention" or "drug therapy"? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

I'm leveling a slight criticism at the methodology, to be clearer. It might just be proving that the placebo effect worked just as we thought it did: believing you're taking a medicine makes you get better. It's supposed to demonstrate that patients don't even have to know it's not a real medicine, but I am saying above that it seems like they may have been misled by the explanation given into assuming the pill did have some sort of efficacy on its own.

Maybe not; but you'd be surprised how few people might even know the word "placebo"!


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ComaOfLoss
post Jan 2 2011, 03:43 AM
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I'm not entirely sure you understood what the article was about. It was about taking a pill and knowing full well it had no medical value but still getting better as a consequence.

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Vilhjalmr
post Jan 2 2011, 11:22 PM
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Is that addressed to me, or Waterfall?

I'm aware of that; as I note above, that's what the study is supposed to demonstrate. See this part in the article you quote:

QUOTE
been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes

They're telling the patients that "this pill makes you feel better", even though they note the pill itself is inert. That's more conducive to positive thinking than "this is a placebo, take it and see if you feel better." I'd like to see the test done the latter way and see if there's a difference in the results. That's what I'm criticizing.

This post has been edited by Vilhjalmr: Jan 2 2011, 11:52 PM


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ComaOfLoss
post Jan 3 2011, 03:01 AM
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Ah, my bad. Apparently it was me who misunderstood the point of the trial.

To me it seems because they told the patients that their mind will be the one that will do the healing, the point was just that there is no point of lying to the patients about what they're taking.

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Vilhjalmr
post Jan 3 2011, 08:00 PM
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Yeah, I think that is the point. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) I'm not sure if the way they phrased it really did matter or not; they did specifically note it was an inert placebo. I was just thinking that all the other stuff ("clinical studies... significant improvement... mind-body self-healing...") might be responsible for the patients believing they'd get better anyway.


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