The placebo effect

It feels as if the inside of your head will someone is playing a bass drum on. You swallow a few tablets, and hey presto the headache away. But the pills should not have have any effect. You are, in fact, been fobbed off with the same kind of calcium tablets, as medical science for years have used when they were supposed to test the efficacy of a new medicine against one which had no effect.

But if you feel that the pills work, you're not alone. To everyone's amazement, it is often in such placebo trials noted that up to 30 percent of those who only got calcium tablets, saw that the tablets actually worked.

When the medicine is tested, sharing one subjects in groups: a group that gets the medication, and a group who gets calcium tablets. None of the subjects know who gets what. On the effect of the medicine may need to be tested and checked. So far there has so far been medicine explanation of placebo effect. But it turns out that calcium tablets and also other kinds of placebo treatment-can have an impact on the immune system, if not directly, then indirectly. The immune system is not self-regulating. Recent studies suggest that many of the substances that are formed in the brain and in various hormone producing glands, also works on the immune defence cells.

A strong faith works positively
When calcium tablets can take effect, it is because the subjects think and hope so heavily on it, that their thoughts and feelings are translated into biological processes in the body.

The formation of substances in the central nervous system and the endocrine system, which stimulates the immune system. Exactly what is happening in the body, scientists do not know, but there is no longer any doubt that body and psyche works in on each other.

The doctor's shape is crucial
It is crucial, however, is not only treatment method. Very important is the doctor's appearance and manners. A doctor who exudes authority and seems optimistic in relation to the treatment, get more success with his treatment than a doctor who seems indifferent, insecure or untrustworthy.

Doctors and psychologists are working closely together to explore the placebo effect. We know inter alia from a u.s. trial of group therapy for women with relapse after a chest operation that the psyche may have crucial importance for a disease process. The women, who after the operation participated in self-help groups under pervision of a psychologist had far better survival rates and higher quality of life than women who are not consciously worked with psyche during the disease course.

In a major Danish research project at rigshospitalet in Copenhagen and Odense University Hospital is in the process of fake attempt. Here the researchers further by continuously trying to take blood samples from participants closer to demonstrate how the immune system is affected by the psyche.

Used most often in trials
Although placebo treatment is mainly used in the field of research, it happens that doctors at hospitals and in practice takes advantage of method or something, which is very close by. This despite the fact that it is not allowed to use placebo without the patients ' knowledge. An American study has shown that doctors at a hospital up to a few times per year used a placebo, either for pain-ridden patients to determine if their demands for more painkillers was real, or to so-called troublesome patients:

At home, there is no greater study of uses of placebos, but when some doctors, for example, uses vitamin B injections against fatigue, although vitamin B only has effect on B-vitamin deficiency, it must also be considered a form of placebo.

Although placebo treatment has been shown to be effective, the opponents believe that doctors breaks a fundamental moral rule, namely respect for the patient's autonomy and dignity. At the same time, it is discussed whether or not treatment is unethical or not. Is it unethical if the motive is to serve the patient best? And there is talk about deception, if treatment does not help?

Whether you are a supporter or not, then there is no doubt that the placebo effect actually exists. But how it works, and where powerful forces we are dealing with, we do not yet know. Some argue that placebo can cure serious diseases, while others believe that a placebo only can alleviate symptoms and exacerbate the effects of other therapies.

But there are huge prospects in research. If it manages to analyse carefully mechanisms, it will open to new methods of treatment and prevention-vel to mark methods without side effects.

Of the four known placebo treatments work surgery best.

In an experiment with people who had heart problems, was one half the surgery, while the other is "only" was opened and closed-a so-called skin surgery. The latter half fared just as well as the first group who had undergone a real operation.

It is often salt water used for injections. There are good results with people who have asthma and allergies.

A, massaging gently in the place where it hurts, can have a positive effect. In General, physical contact is an expression of the physician's interest to his patient. The doctor may, for example, put his hand gently on an arm or back that gpr hurt.

Calcium tablets can be given against pretty much anything. Studies show that calcium tablets in particular has a positive effect on migraine and headache patients. At the same time works large capsules better than small, red pills better than white pills, and many pills work better than just a single pill.


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