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Placebos: their effectiveness and modes of action

  • Phil Richardson

Abstract

The suggestion that a pill made from powdered dolphin’s penis might enhance a man’s virility would presumably be greeted with derision by most western physicians and their patients. The fact that such a pill is still sold for this purpose at several retail outlets in London would, however, come as no surprise to anyone acquainted with traditional Chinese medicine. To the western medical practitioner a therapeutic result obtained from this pill would fall within the category of ‘placebo effects’ — effects which have long been viewed as a hindrance to the proper evaluation of active or ‘specific’ treatments. However, it is now widely recognized that the placebo effect is a phenomenon worthy of investigation in its own right.

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  • Phil Richardson

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