Covering the Placebo Effect: Tip Sheet

by | May 22, 2024 | Health & Wellbeing, Placebo Effect, Tip Sheet, Topic Briefs for Journalists | 0 comments

This is part of FJN’s Topic Briefs for Journalists series.
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Here are quick points to provide context for covering the phenomenon of the placebo effect.

  • Placebos are inactive therapeutic interventions that can have a beneficial effect when given in a certain context. Their negative counterpart is “nocebos”.
  • Placebos have been used for millennia.
  • Modern medicine long considered the placebo effect a nuisance, but increasingly (post-2000) the placebo effect is taken seriously and seen as an integral part of healing.
  • The placebo effect reflects the notion of mind over matter and some aspects of quantum physics. 
  • In certain kinds of drug trials, the placebo effect is almost as strong as the effect of an active drug.
  • Open-label placebos work as well as hidden placebos, when the patient (test subject) is unaware of the use of a placebo.

Compiled by Anders Bolling for FJN

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