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6 years, 7 months ago
In a recent Undercover Economist column in the Financial Times (
The Ig Nobel prizes: in praise of ridiculous research), Tim Harford mentioned that there has been a study showing that cheap placebos are less medically effective than expensive placebos.
This sounds slightly ridiculous, but, then, the placebo effect is fairly strange anyway.
So how strong is the real evidence? Do expensive placebos have stronger effects than cheap ones?
Oct 16, 2016 at 14:17
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There isn't strong evidence that
any placebos have objective clinical effects.
Placebo interventions for all clinical conditions
"We did not find that placebo interventions have important clinical effects in general". They only found some small effects on patient-reported outcomes, not objective outcomes.
Oct 17, 2016 at 5:49
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This is the article where the research results were published in. The double blind study was quite small, but the results were still significant. In other trials analogous results were found; if people have a larger expectation that a treatment will work, then the placebo effect will be stronger. E.g. in this study the effects of oxygen was compared to placebo oxygen in the treatment of high-altitude headache. It was found that the effect of the placebo oxygen was stronger, involving more biochemical pathways, if the patient had previously been given real oxygen. See also this article.
Nov 20, 2016 at 8:41
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