Headline December11,2012


The delightful fact is: A placebo can make you feel better, and you may even get better.Powerful drugs are prescribed as placebos - antibiotics, cough mixtures and tranquilizers.

Placebo, is a Latin word, meaning : ''I will please''.But in medicine, the power of expectation over the mind is called the placebo effect and it contributes much to effectiveness of every therapy, conventional or complementary. If you expect a treatment to work you must perceive it as doing so. You can feel better without actually getting better. The placebo effect may or may not involve administering a placebo, an inert substance administered purely for the psychological satisfaction of the patient.

Placebos have been used by faith healers, doctors, and Druids since time immemorial, though the first documented use by a British Doctor was in 1890, when a woman was given pain-relieving injections of water, thinking they were morphine. The injections, of course, worked admirably. Many studies have since found that 40 per cent of the patients in pain following an operation respond to water injection. Why it works for some and not others is not clear, although belief is vital. Placebos have a higher success rate with regular churchgoers than agnostics.

Whether or not the placebo effect alone can alter the true course of a disease is hotly debated. Every illness has a psychological component so it would seem not unreasonable that altering the psyche might alter the course of the illness. In one study, 15 neurotic patients were asked to try a placebo. 14 agreed and 13 improved. One of them even stopped feeling suicidal. Just how the placebo effect works is not known, other than it is a reflection of the complexity of human mind.

One theory is that expectation triggers the relief of endorphins, the body's natural opiates, which alter your perceptions and make you feel better even in adversity. Over the centuries thousands and thousands of patients have believed in and got relief.

But, Modern Medical ethics dictate that the use of placebos is unjust, even if the condition improves, because the patient is fooled into thinking he is taking active medicine. Be that it may but the reality is that the demand for placebos has not diminished. A large of modern therapeutics is no more than a very expensive placebo! .

Doctors who are able to be reassuring for trivial ailments and compassionate for serious illness can afford to be honest with their patients and do not need t resort to placebos.

Good Night & God Bless!


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