19 February 2010
Linked here is a brief article from Phys Org on the placebo effect. I know nearly everyone's heard of "tricking" the mind into healing the body by convincing the mind there are active substances in the medicine being taken. However, if you read through the article to the very end there's a suggestion that with a few people even when they know they're taking a placebo, the placebo still helps. Mild depression and anxiety are mentioned as two conditions that could possibly benefit from placebos--old fashioned sugar pills--which makes me wonder if the real "trick" is the doctor's interest. The fact that someone cares how they feel (something daily reinforced as they take the medicine the doctor's prescribed) is helpful in itself.