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Posts Tagged ‘alternative medicine’

placebo_In a series on the “use and potential risks” of alternative medicine, the AP (http://tinyurl.com/placebo-effect 11/11, Marchione) reports, “The placebo effect looms large in alternative medicine, which has many therapies and herbal remedies based on beliefs versus science.” According to Dr. Robert Ader, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, “placebos can have real and beneficial effects.” In fact, “the placebo effect accounts for about a third of the benefits of any treatment — even carefully tested medicines, scientists say.” But, “scientists do not always know” how the placebo effect works, and “there are many possible ways.” Brain images have revealed that “beliefs…can cause biological changes and affect levels of chemical messengers and stress hormones that signal pain or pleasure.” People’s “emotions, too, can trigger physical changes.” Meanwhile, “some placebo effects are due to conditioning, or ascribing benefits to something you did that may in fact have played no role in your improvement.”

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