I was chatting recently with one of my cousins–a physician–about the effect of placebo pills. It is well known that they have great healing properties. But he told me two things I didn’t know:
First, they work amazingly well even when people know they are taking a placebo! This article goes into great detail on that phenomenon.
The second made me laugh out loud. He said that in some double-blind drug tests, all the participants were warned about possible negative side-effects of the drug, and encouraged to report when they became too uncomfortable for them to bear.
Here’s what happened. Subjects taking placebos bailed out of the studies because of unbearable side-effects at a higher rate than those taking the actual drug being tested! And the side effects were real!
Dangerous things, those placebos!
Are we interesting creatures, or what?!