The cultural differences in the placebo effect. How taste, trust and cultural sensitivity can affect global health.
There's something really empowering about the placebo effect. It means that you have the power to heal yourself - that's really quite remarkable. If you're not yet convinced, here are 10 breathtaking statistics about the placebo effect.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10-15% of people around the world. It is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder with symptoms including abdominal pain, discomfort, diarrhoea and constipation. Most medications are used to treat these symptoms independently of each other and few treatments relieve the symptoms of IBS as a whole (Drossman et al. 2010). Studies have demonstrated that there is a substantial, clinically significant placebo effect for IBS. This then led Harvard researchers to investigate if using placebo for IBS could be both ethical and effective.
Placebos are widely used in medical practice, although the exact numbers are not known. Surveys have shown that somewhere between 57-97% of doctors admit to using placebos in their clinical practice. Placebos would not be used so prevalently if they did not have positive effects, but it's vitally important that placebos are used as ethically as possible to avoid harming the doctor-patient relationship. Here, we outline different types of placebo usage, the ethical considerations and the current medical guidelines for placebos in clinical practice.
Did you know that placebo effects and nocebo effect can be evoked without a placebo; or how about the unspoken ethics code when it comes to prescribing placebos? In a talk by Dr Luana Colloca we learn about the conflicts, ethics and future use of the placebo effect in clinical practice. Here, we summarise some of the key ideas in Dr Colloca's talk.
In 2013, a survey of UK primary care physicians revealed that 97% of them had used placebos in their career, with 77% of them using placebos at least once a week! We take a look at this and what it means for both patients and doctors.
Dutch company, The Gift Label, have produced a range of soap and lotions, with labels on featuring phrases such as 'You Look Damn Good'. Is this just cute marketing, or could there be something more to it? Could it be an example of everyday placebos?I don't know if you remember Dove's great viral marketing campaign, … Continue reading Everyday placebos
To put people into boxes is human. We commonly categorise people by nationality, ethnicity, age, hair colour, class, educational level, job etc. These categories, bring people together, but they also divide. So why don't we take ourselves out of these boxes, and instead, take a look at what makes us human and how we can … Continue reading Unbox and find a shared purpose
A selection of top TED Talks on the placebo effect. What better way to introduce yourself to the subject?
On a rainy February day, I received an e-mail from my university about the St Gallen Wings of Excellence Award. This award, gave you the opportunity to win an all expenses paid trip to the St Gallen Symposium and all you had to do was write an essay on the theme of Breaking the Status Quo: Your Disruptive … Continue reading The essay that started it all