The Placebo: A Reader edited by Franklin G. Miller, Luana Colloca, Robert A. Crouch, & Ted J. Kaptchuk
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How to Cite

Bauer, H. (2015). The Placebo: A Reader edited by Franklin G. Miller, Luana Colloca, Robert A. Crouch, & Ted J. Kaptchuk. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 29(2). Retrieved from https://journalofscientificexploration.org/index.php/jse/article/view/894

Abstract

This volume illustrates the serious interest that mainstream medicine has begun to take in the placebo effect; two of the editors are at the National Institutes of Health and one of the others heads a Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (at Harvard Medical School).

Placebo should also be of high interest for Scientific Explorers, because it is so directly involved with questions of consciousness and because it is also highly mysterious, perhaps as mysterious as some "psychic" phenomena.

This book is a reader, a collection of salient articles with minimal introductory material.

Part I, concept and significance of placebo, includes the seminal paper of 1955 by Henry Beecher in JAMA that is credited with making placebo "a central feature of general medical knowledge". But it was an earlier (1950) paper by S. Wolf that made the remarkable claim that placebo could  "include objective changes at the end organ which may exceed those attributable to potent pharmacological action".

Part II surveys experimental studies. It remains an open question, how universally placebo is experienced. Some observations show that conditioning in animals can simulate placebo effects. With humans, mere suggestion and expectancy work - and placebo can modify (add to or subtract from) drug effects.

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