10 Stories

Something Weird Is Happening With Placebos in America

They seem be growing more 'effective'

(Newser) - Figure this one out: The fake drugs we know as placebos seem to be getting more and more effective in the US. That strange finding comes out of a new analysis in the journal Pain, which looked at medical studies going back to 1990. It turns out that people who... More »

You'll Perform Better If You Think You Slept Well

Sleep is subject to the placebo effect: study

(Newser) - Got a big day ahead? You're better off thinking you slept well, even if you didn't, a study suggests. Researchers told subjects a normal night of sleep consisted of about 20% to 25% REM sleep. Less than 20%, the subjects heard, meant a worse performance on cognitive tests,... More »

Migraine Drug Benefits Are Half in Your Head

Study demonstrates power of suggestion

(Newser) - How effective a drug is has a lot to do with how effective you think it'll be, a new study suggests. Researchers gave 66 migraine sufferers a set of pills, some in envelopes labeled "Maxalt," a common migraine medicine, and others in envelopes labeled "placebo."... More »

School's Plan to Boost Test Scores: Feed Kids Placebos

Florida elementary school students given 'FCAT PowerBars'

(Newser) - A Florida elementary school wants its students to perform better on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test … so it's feeding them "placebos." Hagen Road Elementary students will be given an "FCAT PowerBar"—aka an apple-flavored cereal bar with a label reading, "Warning: Improves Writing... More »

Your New Drug: Placebos

They seem to work even when patients know what they're getting

(Newser) - Placebos aren't just for research: Studies increasingly show that treatments with no active ingredients can work as well as—or even better than—"real" therapies. In one such study, some hotel employees were told they were getting good exercise at work; they lost weight, while fellow workers who... More »

Pessimism Can Block Medicine's Effects

Study subjects' pain fluctuates based on belief in treatment

(Newser) - Patients who think their medicine won’t work may find that is indeed the case—just because they thought as much, a study finds. Researchers attached subjects to IV drips and applied heat to their legs, asking them to rate the pain the heat caused them on a scale from... More »

Placebo Effect Works— Even if You Know Pill Is Fake

But a positive doctor-patient relationship thought to be essential

(Newser) - Turns out the placebo effect can work—even if the patient knows the pills he’s taking are fake. Researchers gave 40 people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome pills and explained they were like sugar pills—the bottle even had the word “placebo” on it—that patients had to... More »

Antidepressants Don't Work for 70% of Patients

Little better than placebos in all but the most severe cases

(Newser) - Antidepressants are little better than a placebo for all but the most severe cases of depression, according to a new analysis of recent studies. “For patients with very severe depression, the medication did have a potent effect,” the study’s lead author tells WebMD . But the effects “... More »

Plastic Surgery May Cure Migraines

(Newser) - A novel plastic-surgery procedure on the forehead could cure migraines entirely, Time reports. The surgery removes certain muscles—or “migraine triggers”—around the trigeminal nerve branches, which some think are the source of the painful headaches; it also smoothes wrinkles. In a recent study, more than half of... More »

Tasty Wine All In the Pricetag

Swapping price tags changed drinkers' opinions during study

(Newser) - The price of a bottle wine directly affects our enjoyment of it, a new study concludes. Volunteers were offered three different wines, with four different price labels, mixing up the order to see what effect price had on people’s tastes. Watching volunteers' brains via MRI scan, the researchers saw... More »

10 Stories