Article Review: The Magic of the Placebo by David Bjerklie

Topics: Clinical trial, Pharmacology, Medical school Pages: 4 (1484 words) Published: March 30, 2014
Imagine going to the doctor and being given medication to heal your pain. Now how would you feel if after taking the medication and feeling better you came to find out you were given a placebo? This may sound upsetting to some, however, “ a recent survey of U.S. internists and rheumatologists found that some 50% regular prescribe placebos.” A placebo is defined as a false treatment without any significant chemical properties or active ingredient. The use of placebos as a primary form of treatment with any pathology is not happening anytime soon, but their positive impact and usefulness in the medical field is becoming hard to deny. In the article, “The Magic of the Placebo”, author David Bjerklie attempts to explain the growing change in the scientific use of placebos and the neuroscience that supports their use.

In the article the author explains the original use of the placebo as, “inactive controls in randomized clinical studies…” In a typical scientific experiment, a placebo would be given to one group while the other group would receive the actual drug. In order to keep the test non-biased the test groups and the medical staff administering the drug would not know if they received the actual drug or placebo. One very important fact the author explains is that many times even the test group, which received the placebo, experienced improvements. This demonstrates that doctors and scientist, “have always had an intuitive sense of the power of the placebos.” The author goes on to explain that in more recent studies placebos are being given to patients who are suffering from pathologies where no alternative medication or treatment is available. Patients are being given the placebo and being told they are receiving medication that will help with the pathology they are suffering from. In many cases, these same patients are experiencing positive results and this new finding is being called the placebo effect. The author quotes Fabrizio Benedetti of the...
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