Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Our brains as collaborators in care

Doctors are trying to figure out how to use the placebo effect to make medicine less costly and less dangerous, while potentially just as effective.
But according to advocates, there’s enough data for doctors to start thinking of the placebo effect not as the opposite of medicine, but as a tool they can use in an evidence-based, conscientious manner. Broadly speaking, it seems sensible to make every effort to enlist the body’s own ability to heal itself--which is what, at bottom, placebos seem to do. And as researchers examine it more closely, the placebo is having another effect as well: it is revealing a great deal about the subtle and unexpected influences that medical care, as opposed to the medicine itself, has on patients.
How to dispense "sugar pills" while continuing to uphold ethical guidelines and treating patients as collaborators is the question that still needs addressing. Will be interesting to see the (essentially sociology) experiments that are designed to address how to make this possible! Already, the insights into the substantial effects of good doctoring are powerful...

(via Follow Me Here)

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