Monday, December 24, 2012

NYTimes on the work of Ted Kaptchuk on Placebo phenomenon

From the article by Clara Feinberg
"This was disturbing for Kaptchuk, too; deception played no role in his own success as a healer. But years of considering the question led him to his next clinical experiment: What if he simply told people they were taking placebos? The question ultimately inspired a pilot study, published by the peer-reviewed science and medicine journalPLOS ONE in 2010, that yielded his most famous findings to date. His team again compared two groups of IBS sufferers. One group received no treatment. The other patients were told they’d be taking fake, inert drugs (delivered in bottles labeled “placebo pills”) and told also that placebos often have healing effects.
The study’s results shocked the investigators themselves: even patients who knewthey were taking placebos described real improvement, reporting twice as much symptom relief as the no-treatment group. That’s a difference so significant, says Kaptchuk, it’s comparable to the improvement seen in trials for the best real IBS drugs."
Kaptchuk's response to possible defects in his methodology is also quite exaplary "When Kaptchuk talks about Hrobjartsson’s 2001 paper now, he winces, then nods with acceptance. “At first when I read it, I worried I’d be out of a job,” he says. “But frankly, [Hrobjartsson] was absolutely right.” In order to legitimize his findings to mainstream practitioners, the results must be expertly quantified, he acknowledges. “We have to transform the art of medicine into the science of care.”"
via 3quarksdaily where Dr. Larocca comments "A singurarly well-balanced review of one of the greatest medical conundrums: That of the psychosomatic dualism."

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