Messages about placebo

David R. Hamilton PhD

Nearly everyone has experienced a placebo effect! The fact that you take a medicine tells me that on some level you must believe in it or expect it to work, or you believe in the doctor who prescribed it, or even in the improvement you’ve heard about in other people.

David R. Hamilton PhD

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ve made an observation that when people learn a lot about health and nutrition, even though they enjoy better overall health when they act on their knowledge, they tend to get more colds. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone but you might spot yourself if it does apply. And I have to admit, I went through that phase myself.

David R. Hamilton PhD

1) Meditate to calm your mind and stay young. Meditation helps calm the mind and reduce stress. Regular practice helps us meet many of the routinely challenging situations in our lives with less effort, and we achieve better results. Few people realize that meditation also slows the aging process. One study associated meditation with higher levels of the ‘anti-aging hormone’, DHEA, implying that meditation slowed aging. A Harvard study showed that it even impacts us at the genetic level, affecting around 2,000 genes, some of which counteracted damage to the body from free radicals, thus potentially slowing the rate of aging

David R. Hamilton PhD

I recently read about an amazing story of the power of the placebo effect. It was recorded in 1957 and demonstrates just how powerful the human mind can be. A patient had advanced cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma) and was told that he had no more than a few weeks to live. He couldn’t get radiotherapy or chemotherapy because he was anaemic but he had heard of a new experimental anti-cancer drug called Krebiozen and begged his doctor to give him some. So the doctor gave him an injection of it.

David R. Hamilton PhD

From 2002 to 2006, the number of drugs that were axed after Phase-II clinical trials (volunteer trials) increased by 20% because the drugs couldn’t beat the placebos they were compared against. More recently, in 2008, a new gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease failed against the placebo. Similarly, in March 2009, Eli Lilly withdrew a new drug for schizophrenia because the placebo effect was double that expected. Also in March 2009, Osiris Therapeutics’ new drug for Crohn’s disease was also withdrawn due to a high placebo effect.