When a fake treatment works as well as, or better than, the real thing, that's usually when medical researchers go back to the ol' drawing board. To which Harvard's Ted J. Kaptchuk asks, "Why to the who what now?" Kaptchuk is pushing placebo, not as a cure-all, but as a way to sooth pain when "real medicine" doesn't work.
Though recurring tummy aches from irritable bowel syndrome are among patients' most common complaints, drugmakers have had trouble coming up with a safe and effective treatment.
[Kaptchuk's] magic cure: fake acupuncture delivered with lots of warm talk from a sympathetic acupuncturist—but no needles. In a trial of 262 patients with severe IBS, 62% of those who received the fake treatment got better, according to results published in the British Medical Journal . By comparison, only 28% of a control group of patients put on a waiting list saw their symptoms improve markedly. A third group who got the fake acupuncture, but without any warm talk, showed in-between results: 44% improved.
Forbes: The Nothing Cure
This link, btw, came from Wired's Steve Silberman, who wrote his own amazing story about the power of placebo last year.
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
Biologist Nipam Patel and his team at UC Berkeley study how butterflies develop wing shape and color by performing surgery on caterpillars, creating translucent windows in their cocoons.
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]