DiscoverScience VsPlacebo: Can the Mind Cure You?
Placebo: Can the Mind Cure You?

Placebo: Can the Mind Cure You?

Update: 2019-05-0911
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Description

Could fake medicine actually take away your pain or treat a disease? We dig into the science of placebos to find out more about the power of the mind to heal. We speak to medical researcher Prof. Ted Kaptchuk, neuroscientist Prof. Fabrizio Benedetti and medical psychologist Prof. Manfred Schedlowski.

UPDATE 5/13/19: We changed a few things in this episode to clarify facts. An earlier version of this episode implied that the placebo surgery for knee and back pain was really effective in itself. In fact, these studies found that some placebo surgeries work as well as real surgeries. In other words, patients reported less pain after both the real surgery and the placebo surgery.

We also said that Pavlov’s studies used a bell to condition dogs. Whether Pavlov himself used a conventional bell is debated in the literature. Some say this was an early translation error from Russian to English. Later studies by his colleagues definitely used a bell.

Finally! We have added a caveat into placebo research more generally to highlight that this research is early and that we don’t have many have long-term studies into placebos, so we don’t know how long the placebo effect can last.

Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/2Jrb3Rj 

Selected References: 
Credits: This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Fabian Mirko May, Mary Dooe and Maggie Penman. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Diletta Barbiani, Dr. Cynthia McRae, Dr. J Bruce Moseley, Professor Apkar Apkarian, Professor Jon Stoessl, and others. And special thanks to Lynda McKenzie, the Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Comments (7)

Razvan Traian Griguta

here from Rhett and Link

May 22nd
Reply

Alex Murdoch

For those listening and amazed at the "power" of placebos, please look into the Skeptics With A K Podcast. Specifically, the episodes with Mike Hall examining articles on placebo and how the current perception is driven by misunderstanding and bias.

May 18th
Reply

Taylor

This is my favourite podcast!

May 15th
Reply

nik vissa

This is amazing!!!!

May 11th
Reply

Uday Biswas

nik vissa 👍👍

May 16th
Reply

Alex Murdoch

Am I the only one thinking that if placebo pills work as well as the tested medicine, that just maybe that means that shows the medicine doesn't work?

May 11th
Reply

Jack Gill

"Or coconut water, that you might associate with being a wanker" -Best quote ever

May 10th
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Placebo: Can the Mind Cure You?

Placebo: Can the Mind Cure You?

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